In anticipation of the launch of the Bodyspeak.in website, I had introduced a daily poll on Facebook and Instagram. It ran for a week, and was a series of choices – Red or White, Day or Night, Wet or Dry and so forth. (See the whole series on Instagram@bodyspeak.in)
The Instagram Poll
For seemingly easy choices, the responses were interesting, ranging from smart to funny to offering a different take on the elements in the question. What to me was even more curious than the responses, was actually the absence of responses. Close friends surprisingly didn’t respond. I expected that they would, even if it was just to support me in my first attempt at creating a social media footprint.
Upon questioning them, I heard stuff from, “Your questions are just too simple!” to “I thought the questions were rhetorical, so I didn’t respond”. I gave up asking. Clearly people who had taken the time out to respond were stupid, or that is what my other friends seemed to think.
This experience brought into focus more clearly the objective that I had started out with when introducing the Choice series. I wanted to write about Choices as an introduction to the blog on my website. I think the most important lesson I have learnt on my journey of healing; as I worked towards becoming a Counsellor and Clinical Hypnotherapist – is the singular awareness of the incredible power of choice.
Each person not only chose what response to give to the poll, but also chose whether to respond or not. In turn, I had to choose how to react to their actions, inaction as well as my own expectations of them.
The Power of Choice
In this material world, we are faced with a plethora of choices. Choices and decisions from what to buy, what to wear, where to go, what to eat, whom to like, whom to follow, where to take our next vacation… to choices like: to spend or save? Which school to send our children? Who to vote for? Or existential choices like finding the meaning to our lives. These choices we know we need to make.
What we are often not consciously aware of, is the power of the micro-choices we have made as we go about our daily lives. The choices we make in our minds about our thoughts on a second to second basis every moment of every day.
Is my thinking automatic or am I able to choose what to think? When I react to my environment are my responses conditioned or am I choosing how to react? Do I choose my words or do they pour forth of their own volition?
Whatever you answer, these are the building blocks upon which you shape your reality and your world. If you were to make a different choice the outcome would be different, thereby it follows that your subsequent reality would be different.
Choice and You
In addition to the choices we make in the inner dialog within our minds, there are the choices we have to make in regard to our interactions with other people. In Transanctional Analysis this is called “Stimulus” and “Response”.
When someone says something to you or does something it is the “stimulus”; there is a moment of time between this stimulus and your “response” to it. Ever since I learned this theory I have used this fraction of time to great advantage.
I use it to decide whether I want to make an autonomous decision or not. If I choose not to, I revert to my “internal programming” i.e. my beliefs and values, memory and essentially my “patterns of behaviour”. Sometimes this is the right response; the mind and heart derive great relief from known behaviour. It is safe, familiar and takes little effort.
Ironically, this is the simple key to understanding the question which we all end up asking ourselves, “Why does this keep happening to me?” If we don’t stop to make different choices then how can we expect the outcome to change, irrespective of the circumstance?
In the moments where I am able to make autonomous decisions and rational adult choices, I feel truly empowered and my life starts to change in ways I could not imagine. It is not easy to implement but it is not that difficult either. It takes a lot of conscious effort, and can be exhausting. However, the good news is, the more often you use this technique, the easier it gets. As they say – practice makes perfect.
I am happy to share with you that for me, now, it has become second nature. As a result I experience an amazing sense of freedom and empowerment on a daily basis. Above all, I get a profound feeling of serenity and happiness.
Fear or Faith?
My favourite post from my Instagram Choice Series was, “Fear or Faith”.
Now this has become a mantra of sorts for me and I use it freely in my therapy sessions to enable my clients to empower themselves. Stress and anxiety stem from us bringing our fears into the present moment. These fears are rarely real in the here and now. Almost always they are of the future. When I find myself projecting, I centre myself and ask myself: “Fear or Faith?” I consciously choose, often speaking the words out loud, “I choose Faith.”
Faith in this context, is not religious or spiritual in nature as much as it is a conscious choice to live in the present moment. Indeed, it is about trusting life, and the Universe. But it is also about trusting that as each moment presents itself, I will be able to make the choice that is right for me at that time.
You can join me in this journey and learn how to do this for yourself. Perhaps you would like to sign up for individual sessions? Or get a group together, made up of friends and family and I would be happy to facilitate a Personal Growth Lab for you. Book your individual session here or use the ‘Appointment request form’ for groups.
Whatever you choose, I look forward to sharing your journey with you.