5 Choices to Live Better Now

It is our choices... that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

~ J. K. Rowling ~

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I am often asked why I commit so much time volunteering in the Choices Seminar room. Why, after 10 years, I am still so committed to staying involved.

The answer is simple. It makes a difference in the depth of how I live, laugh, love.

Here are 5 ways you can use Choices to live better now:

1. Do better every day at being present in your own life.

It is so easy to buy into negative self-talk. To believe the lies we tell ourselves about how we 'just can't change', 'don't want/need to', it's not our fault or how nobody understands or cares anyway so why bother.

Choices continually reminds me that negative self-talk is The Lie I tell myself to not do the hard work, to not face my fears, to not deal with my issues, to not turn up in my life authentically and compassionately. Through continually going back to the seminar room, I get to deepen my understanding of my capacity to 'do better', every day in every way.

2. Be accountable for you own experience.

A while ago, a friend told me how because someone else was abrupt, direct, not very sensitive to their feelings, they felt unappreciated. What if, I asked, you both have a role to play in the relationship? What would you change in what you're doing. Nothing, they replied. It's them.

It really is easy to blame 'the other' and not be accountable for how we turn up. As babies, we were 100% dependent upon those around us for our survival. And then, for some of us, as we grew, we never completely grew out of that dependency, we never learned self-efficacy and learned instead that it was easier to cope with disappointment, hurts, rejections if we didn't take responsibility for our own experience.

Choices reminds me that I am 100% accountable for everything that turns up in my life. And I am 100% responsible for my decisions in what I do to deal with everything in my life - blame the other for my feelings of inadequacy and rejection, or get accountable and fearlessly face myself in the mirror without blame, shame or fear clouding my eyes.

3. Speak the Truth and stay unattached to the outcome.

This is a toughie for most of us. Too often we equate disagreement and different opinions or perspectives with rejection. We believe that if we tell someone else what we really feel about a situation, if we tell them our thoughts about our dreams, our fears, our frustrations... they won't like us anymore. And so, we eat our words and fill ourselves up in the silence of our fear of rejection.

I've learned a great deal about speaking truth through stepping fearlessly into acknowledging that I have the same right as anyone else to my opinions, beliefs, ideas, thoughts. And being accountable for how I use my voice and share my thoughts also means I don't have to make my opinions, beliefs, ideas, thoughts their's. They have the same right too.

4. Be responsible for your own happiness.

It is not someone else's job to make me happy. It's mine. And, it is also not my job to make someone else happy either. Through being in the Choices room I continue to learn how to trust other people to be responsible for their own happiness so that I no longer feel compelled to spend my time trying to fix, worry about or 'happy up' someone else.

5. Grow stronger through vulnerability.

This is one of my greatest on-going learnings from the Choices room. Being vulnerable does not make me weak. It makes me stronger.

Believing being vulnerable makes us weak comes from a place of believing the world is out to get us, that we can't trust the world and so must keep the walls up to keep ourselves safe. Fear of vulnerability comes from a place of deep shame and hurt.

It takes courage to be willing to let your walls down and let people see 'the real you'. To let them know you experience fear, sadness, regret, pain...

In the Choices room, I have learned to listen to the voice of courage within calling me to step through fear into that place where I find my strength to grow through pain and fear into being more passionate, committed, joyful in living my best life yet, and freer than I ever imagined.

It takes compassion to open our hearts and dig into the roots of our human condition so that we can acknowledge without blame or shame clouding our voices that in our human condition we all make mistakes, we all hurt others, we all have experiences we need to heal from -- and that's okay. Because, when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we allow love and joy and freedom and so much more to fill up the spaces where pain once shut us off from living our best life yet.

The question is: What are you doing to live your best life yet? What have you learnt on this journey called life?