Choices in Change
Our choices define us. We are constantly making choices. We choose what we wear, what we eat, what we think, who we talk to, what we say.... There is never a moment in time when you are not making a choice. Our choices not only define us, they create us. Even identical twins, who have the exact same DNA, are completely different people because of the different choices they inevitably make. If you ever feel you have made a terrible choice, no worries, you have another choice right in front of you. Your next choice may not undo the previous choice but a series of choices can put you back on track.
Shawn chose to drink. He almost always chose to drink in the evening but today was different. Shawn chose to drink at 11:00 am. After all, it was his vacation. Why not indulge? By 12:30 pm, the consequences of his choice were clear. Drinking at 11:00 am on an empty stomach was a bad idea, vacation or not.
Some of our choices have immediate consequences that are so pronounced we can easily evaluate them. Sometimes one bad choice leads us to the next bad choice without us even realizing it.
Shawn was in a foul mood, his judgment was impaired, and his usual restraint was nonexistent. Halfway into his third drink, Shawn decided to express his opinions about his girlfriend's eating habits and weight. As you might imagine, she did not take kindly to his moment of tactless honesty. She was actually so offended she left to go shopping the remainder of the day. His seemingly innocent initial choice that day, led to a rather uncomfortable vacation and an abrupt end to their relationship the moment they returned.
Shawn understood the situation was his fault, yet he was reluctant to take full responsibility. After all, he was drinking and didn't realize what he was doing. Shawn tried to shift some of the blame to his girlfriend for allowing him to drink in the first place and not stopping him when he got out of hand.
Even when we are not consciously making choices, we are making them nonetheless. Shawn was not a victim and for that matter, neither was his girlfriend. They were both making choices over the hour and a half. He chose to drink. His girlfriend chose to watch and see how his idea played out. Because we can always make choices, we are not powerless.
Not accepting responsibility for our choice is also a choice.
In the case of Shawn, this was also a poor choice that his girlfriend found equally offensive. When faced with the consequences of a bad choice, sometimes the best choice is to own it. Accepting responsibility is the next best choice in front of you. When you can admit you are wrong or you made an unfortunate choice, you now have the choice to clean up the mess.
If you refuse to accept responsibility, your next option of choices are limited by your first choice. Instead of trying to clean up the mess, your focus is on shifting the blame and finding the "reason".
Sometimes we refuse to accept responsibility for our actions because we are reacting to what someone else started. But reacting is a choice and we are as responsible for our reactions as we are our actions.
Victims can't change.
Victims are powerless.
Accepting responsibility for where you find yourself and owning your choices, is the starting point of change.
When you own your choices, you have the power to change... if you chose to.