Growth Tools - Practical tools for meaningful growth

CHOOSE to be free!

“Freedom is man’s capacity to take a hand in his own development. It is our capacity to mold ourselves.”
-- Dr. Rollo May

Where in your life do you feel trapped?
Where do you feel you are being controlled?
How do you see yourself as a victim?

We tend to believe that outer forces, like work, school, particular people, money, society and its laws and customs, have the power to make us do things we would rather not do. When we feel forced into anything, we feel a loss of freedom that in turn leads us to feel victimized. And any time we see ourselves as victims, we’ve given away our power.

But freedom is a state of mind. It involves two important steps.

First, we recognize that whatever our situation, there are options available to us. They may not be great or easy but they are there.

Second, we understand that we have absolute power to choose among the options available. While there may be a limited number of options, we have infinite choice in how we deal with those options.

In his book Nobody’s Victim, Christopher J. McCullough explains, “In order to live your freedom, you must first accept reality. ‘These are the choices, and given those choices, which do I choose?’ Whether the option you select is pleasant or painful does not alter the fact that, given reality, this is your preference. To live your freedom, it is helpful to stop and ask yourself, ‘Why am I doing this?’ and then notice whether, given the options, you are choosing what you really want, or whether you want to choose something else…. Sometimes the exercise of freedom involves naming your poison – all choices may lead to outcomes that are in some way painful. But the real pain is that of feeling powerless – denying your freedom.”

A Greek myth can help us understand the power of choice. In the Underworld, Sisyphus was condemned to roll a large stone up a hill from which it always rolled down again. The reality was that he was trapped in an endless cycle of rolling the stone. When he perceived himself to be imprisoned by the curse, he was a victim. At one point, however, he turned the tables – he CHANGED HIS MIND. He decided to CHOOSE to roll the stone up the hill. He empowered himself with his willingness and defused the curse.

Claim your power. Choose to do what you do or choose to do something else. If you truly are unable to choose different circumstances, then see if you can choose to think and feel differently about them. Don’t get caught in the trap of excuses.

Our attitude – our willingness to choose what we want for ourselves – makes all the difference in the world. We can choose to suffer or we can choose to be happy. It’s completely up to us.

“Our ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide how anybody or anything outside ourselves will affect us.”
-- Stephen Covey

“There is no need to struggle to be free. The absence of struggle is in itself freedom.”
-- Chogyam Trungpa

Choice Article - Choose what you want in life! - How to choose differently.
Excuses and Justifiers List - How do you justify your own limitations?

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