You Always Have a Choice in How You Feel

Lesson Seven of taking responsibility for our own experiences states that we must be aware of the multitude of choices we each have in any given situation. This statement makes it sound easy, but putting it into practice is hard—especially when our obligations seem to overwhelm us, our friends are being self-centered, or long-cherished plans fall through. Yet it is just at these times when Lesson Seven really makes the most sense. Susan gave us a number of examples in Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway of how to keep in mind that we always have a choice:

Your friend decides not to go with you on the trip you had planned together. You’re really angry…or you understand she has her reasons, and you find someone else to share the trip, or you go alone and have a ball!

Your husband is an alcoholic. You spend your whole life trying to change him or scold him…or you attend Al-Anon meetings and learn to change yourself.

Your flu has caused you to miss the big meeting you were scheduled to attend. You are sure this means the end of your whole career…or you realize you have limitless ways of creating a successful career for yourself.

Your visit to sunny California is filled with torrents of rain. You lament your bad luck for the entire trip…or you find ways to make it a great vacation anyway.

These are just a few examples of how Lesson Seven can work for you. Think about the time most recently when you were upset or disappointed or hurt, then think about how you could have changed your thinking. Next time a similar situation arises, you can help yourself to react more positively.