Choice Point is very much about becoming a freer human being by becoming more and more conscious of the choices we make in our life and how those choices take us closer to our authentic selves and our hopes and dreams. While I haven’t always thought of my therapy work from this vantage point, I recently realized that my role as a therapist is to help people move towards more freedom in their lives. In my opinion, the more freedom we feel in our lives, the more balanced and, dare I say, happier we can be. It is when we feel we have no choice that pain and despair often set in.
The late psychotherapist and Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl once said “Everything can be taken from a man or woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Frankl was imprisoned in concentration camps for nearly three years, yet during this time he never felt he was without freedom. The same could be said for Nelson Mandela and Gandhi, who were both imprisoned for their beliefs yet never let anyone take away their inherent feeling of freedom, the ability to choose their attitude towards their imprisonment.
Most of us have not spent a day behind prison bars, yet many of us feel imprisoned in one way or another on a daily basis. We feel trapped in an unhappy job, lifeless marriage, financial obligations, unhealthy body, etc. As Frankl points out so eloquently, we are never really without freedom for we have the freedom to choose how we respond to our circumstances and there are steps we can take towards achieving freedom within our life circumstances. Most of our imprisonment exists in our minds and when we bring this to consciousness, we can then begin our journey towards freedom.
So how are you feeling imprisoned in your life and what can you do to move in the direction of greater freedom? What choices can you make today, in this moment? I would encourage you to start with your attitude and then move from there. For me, this past year I felt imprisoned in a non-athlete’s body which did not fit with how I saw myself. Today, I am 20 pounds lighter than I was in April 2011, and have a full marathon (26.2 miles) and 5 half marathons under my belt. I feel much freer and capable of so much more psychologically than I was almost 2 years ago. My life has changed from running. You too can experience this freedom, will you choose to?
With the New Year only a few days away, I invite you to choose to have more freedom in your life by figuring out what you’re wanting to change in your life, if anything, and then looking at what choices you can make to start moving in that direction. Remember, just like running a marathon, it all begins with a single step!
Until next time, aloha!