Choices and Bravery

Life is…strange.

I mean, really strange. One minute you’re happy, content, minding your own business. The next..BOOM!!! In comes the nuclear bomb and everything is ashes.

Alright, so it isn’t always as dramatic as all that. Sometimes it’s just a job change or a relationship ending but it feels huge and scary. Sometimes we see the curve balls coming. Sometimes they hit us between the eyes.

I would love to say that I have it all figured out. I would love to be able to write a book that exposes all the secrets to life and help everyone be happy. Unfortunately, I don’t believe there is one good answer that works for everyone.

Life is always going to throw curveballs. That’s just a universal truth. We like to think we can control things by making the right choices and doing the right things but (I’m sorry to tell you) we can’t. Not even a little. Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.

I have come to believe that the sooner we learn that life isn’t fair and that we can only control how we respond to the cards we are dealt, the easier it is to navigate this whole existence thing. I mean, seriously. Who is in the drivers seat anyway? That a rhetorical question. Please don’t tell me your version of god is. I’m an atheist.

Do you choose who you fall in love with? Nope. You do choose if you stay in love with them, though. We don’t choose to get ill or have loved ones die or get in a car crash or lose our jobs. We don’t choose pandemics and most of us don’t choose war. We don’t choose the circumstances we are born into or the color of our skin. We don’t choose to have abusive parents or mental illness. Those things happen. All the time.

So, what do we do when life seems to go all sideways and gets overwhelming? What do we do when we find ourselves so uncomfortable with how things are that we are being faced with the notion that we have to change? What do we do when something happens we can’t control? We get brave. That’s what we do.

We listen closely to our hearts and our truth. We try to silence all the people who want to have an opinion about how we should live our lives. We look at all the options. We take a breath….and we choose.

We choose to take that job offer. We choose to leave the job we hate. We choose to take better care of ourselves. We choose to get help. We choose to take a chance on love. We choose to walk away from the things that don’t serve us. We choose to listen to our highest truth, even if it’s terrifying.

Really. That’s the secret. Choice. Your power, your joy, your best life lies in you choosing. Choosing to respond with love when faced with bad behavior. Choosing to love yourself enough to do what’s best for you. Choosing to get help instead of ending your life when you’re struggling. It doesn’t really matter what you’re facing. How you face it is what you can control.

Bravery is a funny thing. People often think of soldiers and first responders when they think of bravery. That is one kind of bravery. But there’s another kind that I think is far too often overlooked and maybe more important. I call it “everyday bravery”. Let me tell you what that means to me.

Everyday bravery means telling the truth even when you’re afraid of the consequences. It means choosing the right things even if they aren’t the easy things. It means getting up and taking a shower and feeding yourself when you would rather just die. It means loving people who maybe haven’t given you much reason to. It means doing the right thing when no one is watching. It means going out and exercising because it’s good for you. It means asking for help if you need it.

Everyday bravery comes in all kinds of forms. Sometimes it’s an act of bravery just to be alive. Life is always throwing something new at us. Sometimes it’s something amazing. Sometimes it’s something devastating.

The bad news? We can’t control it and and we can’t stop it. Nothing lasts forever.

The good news? We get to decide how we choose to face it. Nothing lasts forever .

Be brave, my friends.

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