I've had lots of different jobs ever since I was 16. Never one to go conventional and with a strong survival instinct I've succeeded being on my own for most of my life with a colorful variety of ways to earn. For the past 20+ years I've worked primarily with women, both my colleagues and my patients or clients. One thing that really strikes me (and, also makes me feel sad) is how many women feel like they have little or no power over their lives.
Even though I put on a good front, I know exactly how they feel ... "been there, done that". Until I got married I went back and forth between, "Oh, crap, I have to do this", and, "Yippee, I get to do this". After my marriage though, and, especially when I
became a mother, I fell way down the rabbit hole of disempowerment. Somewhere along the way I lost sight of what was really true and it was not pretty.
I had to go through a severe depression to gain awareness and make some changes. I now believe that some form of despondency, or, at the very least, deep melancholy is inevitable unless we exercise one of our inalienable rights ... the ability to choose and choose for ourselves.
As children, we rely on our parents to tell us what to do. It's interesting that culturally we dread the "terrible two's" when a toddler learns to say, "No" and says it frequently. Sometimes it doesn't even make sense unless we realize they are expressing their capacity to choose. Deep within us we know this is part of our makeup, yet we often lose that information along the way.
It begins by being afraid that we'll make the "wrong" choice. Questions like,
What do my parents want me to do?
Will my teacher think this is ok?
Can I be myself and still have that guy like me?
enter into the equation. Eventually, without even knowing what's happening, we stop choosing what we want or what we think is best. We make decisions based on what we think someone else wants. We become mind-readers, only we're really awful at it because we can't really know what someone else is thinking.
Eventually, we become resentful. We blame others for our misery and while we originally thought we were making them happy, it doesn't seem to be working out that way. It becomes a lose/lose situation.
We always have the power of choice and we are constantly applying it. On a daily basis, we choose:
what to wear
what to have for breakfast (or, whether to have breakfast!)
how to speak to the people we meet during the day
how we respond to the weather
whether or not to show up for work
how we spend our money
and, the list can go on and on. Interestingly enough, we don't always recognize that we are utilizing this ability. One morning, when I was a manager, I greeted the employees with a cheery, "Good Morning". A few people almost growled and certainly grumbled and someone had to say, "What's so good about it? I'm at work". When I responded that they had made a choice to be there, they were flabbergasted, however I went on to explain that they could have called out "sick" as just one way not to show up. Not all choices are easy, but we have our "reasons" for making them and we do practice that option all the time.
This week's Pleasure Peek was directly from me
"With all the talk about 'Empowerment',
it comes down to one word,
Even though everything is a choice, knowing that and being mindful of what we are choosing is where the real power comes in. What do you choose today?