There’s a saying, “God gives us choice but not sovereignty”. Now, if you are not religious or spiritual, replace God with anything — The universe, energy, whatever. The principle of this saying is that in our lives there are things we cannot choose: our parents, upbringing, racial identity, how we grew up, what happens to us (arguably), etc. There’s a infinite number of things we do not control over. But we do have choice and having the power to choose is often an untapped opportunity.
Like some of us, I want to be able to control everything and (sometimes) everyone but I am faced with the reality that a lot of my life is out of my hands. Now this isn’t a post about how to deal with the lack of control because frankly, I’m still trying to figure that one out but what this post is aiming to do is to help you realize how much choice you actually have.
For the past six months, I’ve been in a steady mental decline. I’ve felt all ends of depression and every ounce of anxiety one could possibly feel. Granted, a lot of things around me were out of my control but my spiraling came to screeching halt when I decided that I no longer wanted to be the person I was. I didn’t just simply decide one day that “Oh wow I hate this version of myself, let me change it”. It’s been an ongoing journey that I now feel comfortable bringing people into. I am constantly in this stage of wanting to grow and wanting to move ‘forward’ and I’ve learned that ‘forward’ means different things at different times. I’ve had to reregister what ‘forward’, ‘normal’, and ‘grounded’ meant to me because all of those things no longer serve the same meaning as they did months ago. I think that’s okay. I think that our definitions or what we know to be true are often challenged and it’s okay to change, it’s okay to move beyond what you thought was true and work to figure out what speaks to you now,. That’s the whole idea of evolution, it’s a constant state of change but it doesn’t always look the same as it used to.
I’ve had to learn that our power is far greater than our physical beings. What I mean by that is, what we do is bigger than us, whether we see it or not. We have the power to change our lives for the better but no one says that choice comes easy. For awhile, I didn’t choose to be better. I chose to sit, hurt, feel, and endure everything that was happening around me. Due to my intense depression and anxiety I was unable to physically bring myself to make the choices that I knew were better for me. I started hating who I was becoming, I kept looking in the mirror and terrified at who was looking back at me and I didn’t want to accept that who I was at that current moment was a person who was not growing or adding value to myself or others. I still struggle with providing enough capacity to be valuable to people around me but I’m writing as someone who is currently experiencing some reprieve after months of darkness. I promise you, if you are here too, it does get better. You just need to decide and think about what ‘better’ looks like. To me, it’s started small. I decided when I moved to San Francisco that I was going to rebuild my routine again. I knew that my brain functions best with structure so I started waking myself up earlier for awhile. Once I got okay with that, I moved to something else.
Sometimes the smallest choices become the most important ones. The idea is that these small micro-habits build into sustainable larger ones. One day it’s waking up earlier or going for a walk for 10 minutes and in a few weeks it might be ordering less take out. Whatever it is, you have the power of choice and no one has that power but you.
We may not get to decide what happens to us but we do have choice in how we respond. I needed months to move forward, for others its a few weeks and regardless on the timeline as long as you consistently show up, that’s all that matters.