[In this series we examine the importance of the words we use and how changing our vocabulary can change our mind, giving us opportunity for transformation. More articles can be found in this series @ Tools: Words]
photo by Alberto G.
With my day job I spend a lot of time talking to high school kids about the choices they make. When talking about their lives they often use the phrase, “I had no choice but to…” I hear it from my clients as well. “I had to. I had no choice!”
- “I had no choice, I just couldn’t get out of bed.”
- “I had no choice, it was the best job I could find.”
- “I had no choice, everyone else was going.”
Those statements sound logical, but that is not “no choice.”
That is “in the short term with the least amount of risk, effort, or thought it was the easiest thing for me to choose.”
We can see the same thing when people talk about their identity.
- “I had no choice, the men in my family aren’t good at sharing emotions.”
- “I had no choice, you know how hot tempered we Irish are.”
Again, that is not “no choice”.
That is “it has always been that way for the people around me and it is easier for me not to fight the pattern.”
“No Choice” Stops All Movement
The moment we say that we have “no choice” then we are done.
We stop thinking, we stop trying, we stop moving forward, and we stop dreaming. Because if there really is no choice, why bother? We are assuming things are suck therefore consciously and (more importantly) unconsciously we are going to stop trying.
Owning Your Choice
Don’t get me wrong. I think it is OK to make any of the choices that are listed above as long as they are the choice we want to make.
- “I really felt under the weather and exhausted. I knew I was going to be a grump and was going to do really poor work so I choose to stay in bed.”
- “I had been looking for jobs for months and it was the only thing I could find that paid the bills. It is not my dream job and it really doesn’t pay enough, but I was exhausted and heartbroken and for the job search I needed to get back to work so I chose to take the job.”
- “I didn’t really want to go to the party, but everyone else was going and I didn’t want to be alone or seen as an outsider.”
- “The men in my family are traditionally really bad at talking about emotions and I am choosing this as my reality as well.”
- “Everyone in my family talks about how hot tempered the Irish are and I am choosing this as my reality as well.”
When they are phrased this way we may or may not (more than likely “may not”) like who we are becoming in these choices, but because we are making them as choices we are back in control.
When we see our actions as choices and not as predestination then we are regaining control. We see where we stand and what we can change (if we are willing to put in the effort).
Tapping Your Way Out Of No Choice
Whenever I hear myself saying “I have no choice…” I try to catch myself. Here is a way to tap when we are feeling like we have no choice:
Right now I feel like I have no choice…It is not that I don’t have a choice…But I am feeling overwhelmed by what is going on…I am overwhelmed by what has happened in the past…I am overwhelmed by past patterns and expectations of others…It is not that I don’t have a choice…But really I am falling into the choice that is the easiest and takes the least effort…It is okay if I make this choice…If this is the choice I really want to make…I give myself permission to make the choice I want…As long as I know it is my choice…Not someone else’s choice…And that I am willing to take responsibility for my choices…Because they are my choices…They are not someone else’s choices…They are my choices…I have a choice…I am going to take responsibility for my choices…
What are the things you used to think you had no choice about? Where has naming choice helped you to regain control of your life? Click here to add your own thoughts and comments or read what others have to say. I would really love to hear what you think!