Choices: We Are Who We Choose To Be
Welcome to the last in my four part video series, Break Through For The Real You.
Today I'm talking about one of the most powerful tools we have; choices.
This relates to a recent Instagram post (ali.golds): 'The key to being happy is knowing you have the power to choose what to accept and what to let go'.
The thing about life and choices is that no matter what we think about our lives, how difficult they might be and how others might impact on them, we do have choices. we might regret some of those choices, we might be proud of some, but they all add up to the life that we lead and we are who we choose to be.
Over the years I've worked with many people; old and young, male and female, confident and vulnerable, driven entrepreneurs and successful senior managers, through to people who can barely get out of bed.
And everything that they've done, or not done, has been down to the choices that they've made. Good or bad. And that's the exciting thing about life, that's what makes it so amazing; we can choose what we want.
We can choose to be who we want to be; what we want to do, what we want to believe, what we think, what we want to be - or not. Life is at our fingertips, we just need to look for it and go for it.
I wanted to share some of my choices with you, and the reasoning behind them, and then make some suggestions to you. These last three videos have been big topics, and this is probably the biggest of all but also the one that can be the most transformational.
There have been some pretty seminal moments in my life, check out my website for more information on those.
I've had to make some very difficult decisions and the first, biggest probably, was deciding to end my second marriage when I found out that my husband was having an affair with my daughter from my first marriage. Even now I can't tell you what it was like, what a difficult choice it was - some of you might be thinking it's an obvious choice to make - and you'd be right - in many respects it was. In my heart I knew I couldn't stay with someone who would do that and, at that point, he was denying it , but someone who would behave in that way - manipulate my daughter - would look at my sons, his son, and discard them; in favour of someone who he should never have dreamed, let alone thought about, having some kind of relationship with.
Making that choice to tell him to leave was easy, because it was right, but also really difficult because it also meant the end of the life I'd spent many years building up for my kids. Of course the twist in the tale was that he took my daughter with him when he left. That then meant I had to make another choice - I was forced to choose - between my kids. I had to decide whether I chased after my daughter to try and get her back (even though she wasn't speaking to me or spending time with me) and I knew that in my heart it wouldn't work.
So I focused on my sons but that made me feel as though I'd had to make a choice between them: do I go to social services, do I go to the police, will anyone believe me anyway? She was over the age of consent anyway - who would help me?
If I decide I'm going to make the choice to save my daughter, we know what will potentially happen - someone is going to come into my family and potentially take my son too.
The choice I had to make was to let her go; and try to focus on my son.
The next choice was going into a women's refuge a few years later when I was in an abusive relationship, and I had to make the choice was I going to stay or go. I made the choice to go, left with my son very early in the morning, anything could have happened and thank goodness we were safe.
The next set of choices was walking away from the abusive, toxic and destructive relationships I was in; ranging from family, to partners, to friends. Even now I occasionally have to winkle one or two of those out. That's hard, but I had to, and still have to, make that choice.
Starting my business, the one that always sticks in my heart where I helped hundreds of young people to start their own businesses, was a very conscious choice. It seemed to be the logical, sensible thing to do so that I could also look after my kids as a single parent. But then having to make the choice, the decision, to close it a few years later. Having started it at a relatively vulnerable point in my life and poured so much time and energy into it, and then make the decision to close it - was like losing one of my kids. Honestly.
And then starting over again. Picking myself up from a black hole in my life back in 2016, deciding to get back on with my life, starting up The Juno Project again; making that choice to help the girls I work with through that charity which meant that - one of the biggest choices I've had to make - opening my heart, baring my soul, to try and help other people. To do something that was deeply personal but for a reason that I felt was the right reason. It was all about choices, making decisions that I felt were right for me and right for my family, and maybe help other people into the bargain.
So why did I do it?
Because I had to make a choice. I couldn't live the way I'd been living, I couldn't carry on with the things happening around me, I couldn't let them carry on anymore.
Having to go into a refuge, for example, if anyone listening has been in the position where your life is at risk - as mine was - then you'll know, you actually have NO choice. You have to decide to go. There is, in reality, no other choice.
Why did I decide to start my business? Because it was the right thing to do at the time, I took my skills and turned them into a business and it became a very successful business. But then having to make the choice to close it? Why? For a number of reasons, not least not going as well as I'd hoped, taking knocks to my confidence and self-esteem, and, ultimately, I painted myself into a corner and the choice was pretty stark.
Did I carry on the way I was going, or was I going to say enough was enough?
I'm sure you've got to that point too - enough is enough. I can't carry on the way I'm going. And that is the main reason we do what we do, and decide what we decide, because enough is enough.
I can't tell you what to do, only you know what you think is the right thing to do but I will say this:
If your heart is hurting so much that you don't believe in yourself, that you can't see a way out, that you don't think you're worth anything, that it's OK for people to treat you in a bad way, that it's OK for bad things to happen to you; then you need to make a choice. And it needs to be a positive one.
I've had to own some of the decisions that I've made in the past and, this might sound a little harsh, but I've made choices that haven't always been the right ones, sometimes as a result of the way that others have behaved. I had a choice about whether I stayed or left the abusive relationship I was in; it was my choice. I chose not to listen to the warning bells, and chose to stay. It was my choice.
I have no-one to blame but myself - and that might sound harsh, but it's true. It was my choice not to listen to my gut instinct, my choice to stay, and my choice to leave. I made choices, good and bad, and had to accept the choices I made.
We all have choices. I choose every morning do I want to stay in bed, feel sorry for myself (I have every right to do that), cry all day - or get up, say that there's a world out there and I'm going to get what I want from it?Which do I choose? It's a conscious choice.
I've been in dark places, depression, attempts at suicide; those aren't choices, of course not. But you do have a choice as to whether you ask for help, take help that's offered, talk to someone, or stay where you are.
The key thing about why I do what I do, and making choices, is about the WHY. Why is this right for me? Why can I make this happen? Why can I be the best person for this? And conversely, why would people like me? Why would people love me? Why do I think I can do this?
Why do I choose to do positive things, and not push the self-destruct button anymore? Why is positivity a conscious choice?
I'll tell you why. Because I'm a good person. Because I've overcome so many awful things, some of my making, most of them not, but I'm still here. Still going to make something positive.
Because if I can’t believe in the positives, I can at least believe this – no one has the right to take my life, screw it up into a ball and throw it away, cut it into pieces in front of my eyes and stamp all over it, spit in my face and laugh at me. No-one.
Why? Because I’m not going to let anyone treat me like that. Because what they want is for me to be on the floor, paralysed, unable to move forwards without them AND I'M NOT GIVING THEM THE SATISFACTION.
If I cant believe in myself, then I can absolutely believe in the warrior me. The person who wants to do things, achieve things, and needs to be let out to do that - and heal.
And I can use that determination to motivate me forwards, on towards feeling more positive, more confident, more able to do what’s right; to like and then love who I am.
I spent a long time looking in the mirror, not liking who I saw. And then I decided not to be frightened of who I saw, and realised I wasn't as bad as I'd thought. I don't hide wrinkles, grey hairs, or any other things. I accept who I am, and I like who I am. I love who I am.
It was a conscious choice. I chose to accept and like who I am, so that I could move forwards and achieve any of the things I wanted to.
There comes a time when you have to make the choice to say enough is enough, and if you're struggling right now - say to yourself, do I deserve this? Is this right? Isn't it about time I said, enough is enough?
As you would to a friend who was hurting and in pain. So be your best friend and say it to yourself. Save yourself.
Don't let anyone treat you badly anymore, including yourself, because you're amazing, with the world at your feet.
Why not check out the video of this blog, just click on the play button.