“You always have a choice”.
This is a phrase that has been resounding in my ears for YEARS.
I am not saying it is a phrase I have agreed with for years. That part has only gradually started to unfold over the last year or two. But it is definitely a phrase I have been hearing for years from books, articles, friends, and most importantly (and often) from mentors.
The truth is, at least from this tiny corner of the world, that it is relatively easy for me to convince myself that I do NOT have a choice. Especially when the issue at hand is something I do not want to do, am afraid to do, think I cannot do, or think others do not want me to do (or do want me to do as the case may be – I, too, have my rebellious side), I have discovered that it can be much, much less costly in terms of energy output and personal growth work to simply say “I have/had no choice”.
Except for the ill-concealed, niggling little fact that this is not – is never – true.
You – me – each of us and all of us – we always have a choice.
The very definition of “choice” is to choose between two or more possibilities or options. In this definition we do not read anything about unwillingness, unreadiness, or a strong dislike for the potential outcome of what we are choosing to do or not do. What we may call a lack of choice is nearly always a lack of affinity for one or more possible outcomes of the choice we say we cannot make. In other words, “I have no choice” equals “I don’t like what will probably happen if I do/don’t do this thing I say I have no choice about.”
Here is an example. Let’s say you are diagnosed with cancer. Your doctor says you need an expensive treatment. You look into your bank account and – no cash. So you might be tempted to state, “I …