Choice of perception is a gift that we all have but few of us use it to our benefit. Many of us are not aware that we have a choice on how we perceive the world around us. I didn’t know, and I notice that people around me don’t know about the gift of choice that we humans have until we stumble upon it. Usually it comes out as we look for a way out of pain and suffering. When we realize that we have a choice on how to perceive and deal with what happens to us and what people do to us we can create freedom within ourselves and life looks and feels better. In the book Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, he discussed how those prisoners of the Holocaust who knew they had a choice of how to live day by day in the inside of their minds, in spite of the atrocities they experienced, had better chances for survival and recovery. He used the gift of choice to survive the Holocaust.
After I learned about the gift of choice, I began to create a more positive and optimistic view of life. Soon after, a friend once said to me, “But you have to be realistic!” and I asked her “Which reality, yours or mine? Because I like mine better.”
In our everyday life we tend to imprison ourselves in our thoughts, judgements, and belief systems. Choice gives us freedom and an opportunity to open to new possibilities. I often tell people that life is a jungle filled with challenges that are real and we must learn to navigate the jungle. It all begins in our mind because we are not in control of the outer world, of other people’s actions or life circumstances. If we remember that we have choices, then we can explore and choose. This is empowering to us. Challenging situations arise daily and how we process that information will dictate the outcome, it will be the deciding factor between becoming victim or survivor, experiencing defeat or success, loss or gain. I have trained myself to remember I have a choice and I bring my mind and heart into the process of choosing. I face challenges every day and remembering that I have a choice on how I perceive my challenges, a choice on the decisions I make and a choice about my attitude will dictate the outcome. No matter what life gives us, inside us is the power of choice on how we are going to deal with it.
My daughter was born assertive and she wanted to be herself without being molded to my ways since she was very young. When she was about five years old, she had decided that she didn’t want to attend her cousin’s birthday party for no particular reason. I said to her she did not have a choice and I asked her to get ready because we were leaving. While we were on the way, someone who riding with us said to her in a teasing way, “You had to listen to your mother” and she quickly responded, “No, I changed my mind.” In her mind she had a choice to see it that way versus having to obey her mother’s command.
Life is challenging and often we get stuck in the hurt and suffering or we let our fears and worries get hold of us. We create our own reality based on the way we chose to see the world around us. Growing up in Chile in the 60’s I was exposed to poverty and later on to political unrest. At home, my parents did not have a good relationship and I am very grateful that despite my challenges I could see choices. I would say things to myself like, “Even though my parents don’t get along, I still have parents.” My mother was not the affectionate type but I chose to see her love through how hard she worked to support her five children and all the hardships she went through to feed her children when our country experienced a shortage of food due to political turmoil.
Give yourself the gift of choice today, and every day. You came to this earth to experience a great life and the best way to do it is remembering that no matter what happens to you, you have the gift of choice inside your heart and mind.
Veronica Correa, LCSW-C, is a licensed clinical social worker, Certified Hypnotherapist and life coach.
To lean more about her work visit: www.thepersonalwellnesscenter.com or call 410-742-6016.