Forgetting Your Choice

 “In the space between yes and no, there’s a lifetime. It’s the difference between the path you walk and the one you leave behind; it’s the gap between who you thought you could be and who you really are; its the legroom for the lies you’ll tell yourself in the future.” — Jodi Picoult, Change of Heart


I’m really proud of one of my friends. He has decided to move to a new city after ten years of living in the same place. For the last five years, he’s admitted to being in a rut: on the outside, everything looks standard, fine. Internally, he’s not doing quite as well. He does not have many close friends, feels moderately attached to his coworkers, lives in a decent apartment, and is not dating anyone significant. In other words, he feels untethered to his current life and needs a change.

A few months ago, he revealed his ideas for moving, but barely considered it a real possibility. He thought it would be too costly and too much work. He wasn’t sure if his employer would let him work remotely, either. Instead, he busied himself with competitive sports teams and learning poker, two great ways to keep busy. Over many months of exploration about his limiting beliefs, he began discussing the notion of choice. What did it mean? When did he exercise preferences in his life?

For this man, he had forgotten he had choices or opportunities. He saw his lack of closeness with people as an omen of things to come. He believed that since it had been this way for so long, he had little hope for things to go a different way.

I could relate. When inundated in a particular habit for long enough, I’ve also needed a roadmap for even thinking about choice, much less making the actual change. I’ve noticed that I –and many of you– get trapped in a pattern of doing things the way they’ve always been done and rarely look outside of ourselves for a different point of view. I’ll be the first to admit that stepping outside of my box and examining my life broadly is tough. It’s much easier to look at other people’s lives and offer support or a clear direction. We often can’t see the vast ocean when we are drowning in a puddle. Likewise, we don’t want our friends, family, or clients to get burned and are so opinionated on their lives, but don’t hold a mirror to ourselves. In fact, we see things so clearly for them, but we are often blind to our own unhealthy rituals.

I ponder these questions:

  • How could I have let this go on for so long?

  • What am I afraid of that keeps me hanging on?

  • Am I the only one who does this?

  • How can people be so mean, unethical, or dishonest?

  • What did I do to deserve this?

  • Was I deceiving myself to stick around?

  • What could I have done differently?

  • What can I do differently?

  • WHAT WILL I DO DIFFERENTLY?

 Instead of being so hard on ourselves for making habitual decisions, I’ve learned that today I have a choice and can do things out of the ordinary. My ordinary, tried-and-true method does not always work anymore. Yet my awareness lets me act in a new way, hoping to achieve better results. I set intentions and act without a stronghold on the outcome, but with a desire that things will play out better. My eyes are open and my heart opens again, too.

  1. Like my friend at the beginning, realizing that this 0ld way of being no longer feels satisfying. That’s a great first start.

  2. The next step is to decide if you’re going to beat yourself up or do something more constructive. Instead of criticizing yourself, be better than yesterday. Be honest, be kind, help someone. Step out of the selfish ritual and offer service to someone in need.

  3. You can celebrate today as a new day full of possibility and mystery. You can affirm, instead of being late to the party, that you have an opportunity for growth and major change.

Sometimes we get into such deep-rooted patterns, we forget we have a choice. The choice to stay mad or forgive is a chasm for yourself and for your loved ones. It could be the difference in a renewed relationship or a lifetime of pain and begrudging.

 I remembered that I had a choice when the old ways stopped working. I could do something else, something better. I would take a chance on myself and go confidently in a different direction. The change would come from that place of trial. My friend noticed he had a choice to move when let the idea wash over him and actually imagined the possibility. When he spoke to his employer and they agreed to let him work remotely, a chance to try something else took hold. Now, he’s well on his way to a new city where some wonderful adventures await. He’s making the change.

And for me, my choice to get closer to my goals  (rather than staying stuck) is driving more happiness and purpose. I feel like I’m working toward something bigger than myself. I’m willing to go out into the world and take a new chance and reveal my changes.

P.S. Who’s to say what’s better or worse? Only you can know based on how you feel and how your life if going. I can say that if it is not working, then staying trapped in the pattern does not work, and that’s the same. If you make a choice and it also does not feel better, make a new choice! You’ve got to give it time to take hold! Please don’t be hasty. Notice when you give it a chance, a change will occur!

To learn more about choice or to talk about anything related, please contact me at Coaching By Nina Rubin.

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4 thoughts on “Forgetting Your Choice

  1. Yesss! I like this! When we realize we are not victims (of life, other people, our past choices), then we can soar.

    Because G-d is recreating His world every second, every moment is a new creation and a new opportunity.

    Like

  2. You make some very good points there. We all seem to have our comfort zone that we are afraid to move away from. We just go happily along with the status quo I don’t want anyone else to make waves or to make them myself. We get stuck in a rut where we have to stand on tiptoes to see out of it.

    Like

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