Our life is made up of decisions. Each day we make 100’s of decisions – trivial and crucial. What do I wear? What do I eat? Do I go that meeting? Do I quit my job? Do I stop for gas before work or after? Do I plant daises or roses? Do I buy a new car? Do I move to a new house? Do I take the umbrella today?
And the list goes on and on and on.
Especially for women – who feel responsible for a husbands, children, friendships, and, increasingly, parents – the feeling of how many decisions go into everyday living can feel completely overwhelming.
It is important to recognize that in everything we do in life we are exercising a choice, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. While we can’t control exactly what is thrust upon us, we have a choice about both the framework and our response to these events.
We do, in fact, have control over how we respond to things in our lives; and it manifests itself in the choices we make and accepting the consequences of our choice.
So, how do we begin to take charge of our lives when there are so many decisions constantly pulling on us for a choice?
Language becomes an important component of taking charge of our choices, and, therefore, metering out our responses to events. We can either surrender to our circumstances – complaining “this is what happened to me,” or accept responsibility for our choices in response.
When we accept responsibility for our choices, it helps us feel more empowered. We feel like we are taking charge and not as severely affected by negative outcomes.
How to Talk to Yourself
Let’s look at some self-talk that will help us be more in control of our outcomes:
Language of Surrender Language of Responsibility
I can’t lose weight I am choosing to eat this cookie right now because it looks good and I want it
I can’t quit my job I am choosing to stay in my job because the money supports my dreams for the future
It is not my fault I am late I chose to sleep an extra 30 minutes rather than get here on time
I couldn’t finish that project I chose that going to visit my mother took priority over the project
You Choose Your Life’s Consequences
Every choice we make comes with a consequence. And yes, with the choices we make we are also choosing those consequences. Even when we decide not to make a choice about something, that itself, is a choice – the choice of inaction.
What happens in your life when you choose not to do something about your weight gain? What happens when you continue to accept a toxic friendship in your life? What is the outcome when you don’t speak up for how you really feel?
You are probably beginning to see that, like it or not, taking control of your life starts with taking control of yourself, and recognizing that the decisions you make 100 times a day come with the consequences you “choose.”
How can you make this work for you? Try to recognize over the next several days the choices that you make. Take an objective view to see where your self-talk was that of surrender vs. that of responsibility. If it was language of surrender change it to language of responsibility.
And now, excuse me while I chose to go eat a cookie while taking responsibility for my choice and being well aware of the consequences.
Read more on Saying No and Not Feeling Guilty to get more tips.
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Dr. Ines K. Roe has been helping women in transition rediscover themselves for over 20 years. If you’ve been feeling unfulfilled, are frustrated with your sense of accomplishment in midlife, or simply need guidance on your path to holistic well being, join her ecourses.