I often hear people (including myself) say I have to do this or they made me do this. I continually remind myself there is nothing I'm forced to do and no one can make me do anything... it's a choice. I first heard this concept a year ago when listening to Neale Donald Walsh. He challenged us all to recognize that we are the chooser of everything in our life and each of us must ask ourselves the question... "Why am I choosing the things that I am?" By doing this, you can define your choices or make different ones.
(I'm paraphrasing here) He told a story of a woman at one of his workshops. She came up to him telling him that she HAD to go pick up her kids. He knew she was unhappy about this by her demeanor and how she said it.
So, Neale said "You don't HAVE to, if you don't want to."
The woman responded "Yes, if I want to be a good mother, I do."
Neale "Aha! You don't HAVE to, but you are choosing to be a good mother. There are many mothers out there that would make a different choice."
In realizing this, the woman felt better about going, because she knew that she had made the choice not her circumstances.
I think... that by understanding that everything in life is a choice that you have made, you are taking your inner power back and no person or situation can take that away. Even in seemingly forced circumstances, you have a choice. Maybe not a choice in it happening or not, but a choice in how you react to it.
This reminds me of an interview I heard with Fran Drescher (The Nanny). She told of a time when her home was invaded and she was raped. She talked about, in that moment, she had a choice to either fight and most likely die or not to fight. She chose not to fight and let her assailant rob and rape her. Afterwards, she then chose to forgive her attacker, because she recognized that she had made the choice based on the current circumstances. By doing this, the seemingly dire situation didn't derail her from her life's journey, because she knew she had control over how she reacted to life's situations.
After contemplating all of this, I realized what this all meant. In every moment, we make a conscious or unconscious choice. Once we know this... we have the ability to make all of our choices consciously. Therefore, we have the power of ourselves no matter what our outer circumstances are or what others expect us to do. But most importantly, if we find that we've made the wrong choice, we can always make the choice to change it.
I urge each and everyone of us to question ourselves and find the choices we make in every situation. Once you've done that, feel good about the choices that suit you and work to change the ones that don't.
Wishing you much love and happiness,