My friend, JIP, did a post titled "when you have no choice" that got my mind racing off into one of those places that just couldn't quit without a post. And while I have spoken with her about this decision she made and know she believes she probably made a good choice for herself, she did make a choice. And it's not her decision I want to question in any way but the words and thinking that suggest she had "no choice."
One of the most important lessons I've learned is just we always have a choice. Maybe it's not a good one or one we would wish for but we always have a choice. Being able to see my choices (even though they're not be desirable) gives me back the personal power my offenders took away from me.
Regaining that personal power is what healing is really all about if you ask me. Learning how to "NOT BE" a victim any longer is wrapped up tightly in the package of personal power and being able to find our choices in life.
The subliminal message when we say we have "no choice" is that we are powerless. Our choices have been taken away from us and we can only do one thing. When in fact we can chose to go with the flow or buck the system or all things in between. Whether or not we are prepared to deal with the consequences of our various decisions certainly has a role in what path we chose, but the important part is giving ourselves the permission to chose at all. The self talk "I have the power to make decisions in my life" is much more productive than the powerless statement "I have no choice."
Words like "can't" and "no choices" are the things that get us stuck unable to see a way out of the trap of victimization. That is really what they did to us so many years ago. They took away our choices and taught us to not see them making us dependent on the coping skills they allowed us to have.
We stay stuck when we continue to live our lives dictated by the "can't' and "no choices" and powerlessness that we have learned. Stepping up and taking that power back by seeing that we have choices and with that the power to make decisions after all is a liberating experience.
Being able to see our way clear of those old beliefs and look for our choices gives us a road map to find our way to meeting our own needs. As we reclaim our personal power by owning our decisions we find it easier to begin to search out more and better choices. That routine stamps out those old feelings of powerlessness and builds us up.
Because a big part of this "no choice" train of thought has to do with how we use our own words and thinking to keep ourselves stuck. I've found I can combat those old messages by just changing a couple of simple words.
Instead of saying "can't" I now substitute with the word "won't" It's a much more powerful word even though sometimes the sound of me saying, "I won't" offends my sensibilities. It doesn't sound productive or kind to be saying something like "I won't talk to that person anymore" or "I won't lose weight" but it does sound powerful and gives me back the decision in the first place.
From there I can make the leap to the next change. That simple change is to go from "no choice" to "I have choices." Just changing from the negative to the positive starts me on the path to figuring out just what those choices might be. It gets my feet moving towards doing something productive instead of staying stuck.
Taking back my personal power by finding the choices helps me see I do have control in my life and builds my self esteem. It also helps me to take better care of my inner children or child, whichever the case might be. Once I started down this path there has been no stopping me. I can now reach for the stars if I want because I have choices after all.
I have to say, I'm pretty sure my friend, JIP is following right behind me. I'm pretty darn sure she's beginning to figure out that she has choices too!