Teaching your children that they have choices empowers them. It moves them away from victimhood, blame, and helplessness. But first, it starts with you.
YOU need to believe that YOU have choices, every step of the way. You may not be able to control external circumstances but you sure can control how you respond to a certain situation. You can empower yourself, see the gift, learn the lesson, or… you can be victimized by it. In the former, you will feel better, I can guarantee you that. As it has been said many times “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional”. Choose to not suffer, and let pain be your guide, not your enemy.
Thus, teach your children from the time they are little that they have choices and choices entail consequences. Consequences are our greatest teachers. Don’t rob them of the rich lessons life can bring them.
Obviously, we need to adapt the kind of choice we offer our children to their level of development. Some choices are not meant to be made by children. Use your judgment and learn from books, blogs, or parenting experts. There is a fine line… you don’t want to create a spoiled brat, a monster, no more than you want to confuse your child or have them suffer a consequence they are not ready to handle, no more than make a decision on something they are not ready to tackle. All in due time 🙂
Once you have grasped this concept. The next important factor to take into consideration is to make choices based on love, not fear. Choices born out of fear or guilt, are choices we regret later. So learn, and then teach, the process of making a choice…. Am I making this choice because I am scared or because I love myself, the other or the situation. Don’t choose fear.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Audio Version of Blog Below:
When you realize that your reality is created by all the choices that you make, maybe you will make better or different choices for yourself, and maybe you will stop blaming others for the outcomes of your life.
Take a moment and look back, carefully put down that defensive wall. For a moment step away from that perception of yours that tends to blame the other person, and consider that you might be responsible for the outcomes that come before you. Except for unique circumstances (e.g., being a victim of rape, of a robbery,or reckless driver, or a natural disaster), we rarely are victims of other people, especially if it seems to have become a pattern in your life.
Your choices, or the lack thereof (e.g. your passivity), do have an impact it is unquestionable. That is just the reality, for all of us. If you look carefully, usually there is a chain of events that have lead you to where you are now. At every crossroads you have a choice to take road A or road B, and with every choice is attached a different outcome. At times you need to weigh your choices more carefully. When we make choices out of fear, or guilt, usually these are choices we regret later in the future.
If, at times, you choose to perceive a situation as having a negative outcome, as being a negative situation, or a trauma, or an injustice, how you respond to that situation is your choice and your choice alone. You can choose to be victimized by a situation or you can choose to find the gift in adversity and grow and learn from it, and subsequently make better choices in the future. You can select to break negative and dysfunctional patterns. Your past is over and done with. It no longer exists but you are the only one keeping it alive in the present moment. It is no longer. Move ahead.
As long as you look outside of yourself for answers, as long as you blame others for the life you are living, you will continue to make the same mistakes and place the responsibility of your life in the hands of others. Know that you always have a choice. Even in jail, you have choices. You can make the gates your prison and let it consume your internal or external freedoms, or you can decide that the confinements of your space will not rob you of the freedom of your thoughts and of your spirit. Deep inside, we are always free.
It is quite an act of courage and of growing up to take responsibility for our own lives and our own choices. When we cease to blame others, it means that only we can be accountable for the outcomes that ensue… not everyone is ready to make themselves responsible in such a way. It is much easier to blame others, our past, our circumstances. This way we don’t have to grow up…and we can continue to be angry at the world.
However, the flip side of doing this, is that the price to pay is high… loss of freedom, loss of joy, loss of happiness, missing out on wonderful opportunities, big and small.
There is no failure in my book. Mistakes, poor choices, are simply life lessons that can make us stronger and wiser, and in the end better people.
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