Possibilities are exciting because they can take our life in any direction. But to be actually living our life we must be the one making the choices; otherwise Life will make them for us! Each choice eliminates some possibilities, but each choice also takes us down an actual road, which actually takes us somewhere, whereas the refusal to choose takes us nowhere.
I know someone who made a choice; let’s call her Emmie. She chose Billy, a good-looking and considerate guy… until they married, and then the abuse began. The dictionary defines abuse as: “To treat a person or an animal with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly.” Had the abuse been physical then others would have quickly become aware that all was not right in Paradise, but the type of abuse he indulged in was that which he could inflict with his tongue. He took every opportunity to abuse her by shaming her and by embarrassing her about her choices. He relentlessly told her that she was stupid, implying that he, on the other hand, was not. Periodically he inexplicably stopped speaking to her, for months on end, leaving her in a state of confusion as she tried to figure out where she had been wrong, trying to find out how she had offended him. When asked, he refused to even answer, leaving her heart twisting in the wind. The greatest abuse that his behavior accomplished was to undermine her belief in herself… which, oddly enough, made him feel superior!
The good thing about a choice made is that we can always make another one! We can choose to change the direction of the previous choice, which is what Emmie did: she divorced Billy’s sorry ass! That, however, did not end the abuse. In that Billy had taught Emmie to not trust herself, to not believe in her abilities… although he no longer resided in the house his words were very much present within her mind and heart, which led to many years of inner wrestling for Emmie. But the day finally came when she got fed up with Billy still taking up space… and that was the day when she began to believe in herself again! Somehow, even in the midst of her self-doubt, a quiet little flame of respectful self-regard flickered, and in the end its tiny voice saved her. Had she never chosen to change the direction of her previous choice by a new choice she would still be Billy’s hostage today.
It takes two things to make choices: the courage to risk, and the flexibility to change directions should we discover that choice has taken us somewhere that is not good for us to be. While it is true that choices take us somewhere, it is equally true that we do not have to live where they take us: We can choose again, if we will but let ourselves take yet another chance!