The Power of Choice

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”  
-Alice Walker

We travel through life along our own unique path, choosing to turn in this direction or that direction. Sometimes, however, we find ourselves on a path with no end in sight and no clear alternate route. The world seems like it’s closing in on us, and we are stuck.

Sometimes we feel lost. Sometimes we feel trapped. Sometimes we feel powerless.

I have a huge fear of being trapped. I worry that I will find myself in a situation over which I have no control and about which I can do nothing. Feeling powerless, to me, is the absolute worst feeling in the world.

When I was in Kindergarten, my teacher told the class about the time her house burned down. During the discussion she said the phrase, “There’s a first time for everything.” I believed her phrase in the literal sense and thought it meant that there would be an inevitable first time when my own house would burn down. I fretted over this endlessly. I felt powerless to prevent that inevitable from happening.

But I wasn’t powerless to mitigate the situation and prevent it from being worse. I came up with a plan. I knew my parents could get out of the house themselves, but if they were napping when the house caught on fire, I would wake them up first thing. Then I would focus my efforts on saving our cats. I pictured myself picking them up and carrying them out of the burning house one by one or perhaps chasing them out if that worked.   I would go back for my favorite stuffed animals if I had time.

I am still a planner and a worst-case scenario type of thinker. Unfortunately, we cannot foresee or prepare for every scenario. Life happens.

But I have realized that I am never powerless. If I don’t like the way something is going, I can make a choice to change it. It may not be easy, and I may not like all of the options I see before me, but there is always a choice.

You always have power. You always have a choice.

The way out is not always obvious. Sometimes the pathways are shaded. Sometimes they are completely dark and thus hard to see. They may be narrow or obscured by something else in the way. Sometimes you can’t see it until you turn away and then turn back to look again. Maybe you only truly see it once someone points it out to you.

When you are feeling trapped, know there is another path, another option. There is always something you can do to make a shift, to change things in your world. Trust that a path will reveal itself to you if you keep thinking about it, contemplating it, looking at a problem from different sides. You may not see it immediately, but have faith there is a way.

Your choices may not always be easy or ideal, but you have them. Maybe the choice is about your attitude and approach to the situation. Maybe the choice is an action, a step you need to take towards change. You just have to start by recognizing the choices are there. Anytime you think about something in your life that you don’t like, any situation at all, look for ways to make it better, to improve things, to solve the problem.

I still fear the feeling of powerlessness, but I find comfort in knowing that whatever it is that I don’t like about my life, there is always something I can do to help me find my way, to make a change. I am not powerless. I always have a choice.


Photo credit: Gruenewiese86 via / CC BY-ND



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