Podcast Episode 92 – You Have Choices

Jul 3, 2023 | Podcast

I’m Diana Swillinger, and this is The Renew Your Mind podcast. Episode 92 You Have Choices 

DIANA: Hey. Hey, everybody. How are you? It’s 2022. I’m wondering, how do you want to imagine this year is going to go down? Do you want to imagine it’s going to be a year of opportunity? If you believe that and you speak about that this year, you know what your brain is going to do. It’s going to start being on the lookout for opportunity. Just saying. Because you could also think this year is going to be a crappier. And if you believe that, guess what’s going to happen? You’re going to be putting your brain on the lookout for crap. Just saying. I’ve decided this is going to be a year filled with healing and growth for me. So guess what I’m going to find happening in my year this year. And m, I’m not saying this is some kind of woo woo manifestation. I don’t believe in that so much. I believe in Jesus. I believe in God. I believe in the Holy Spirit and Him manifesting things in my life. And I believe that I get to choose to participate in what God is offering me or not. So I’m choosing to participate because what he has for me is good. So I choose to have an outlook of healing and growth for me. And guess what I’m deciding in that. I’m, um, partnering with God in that healing and in that growth that he’s going to bring to life for me. And that’s always available whenever I’m ready to participate. And I am ready for some of that. So I’m believing it and I am on the lookout. You can do the same thing if you want, however you want to look at this year. I mean, you can be like, this is going to be a year of pain. This is going to be your heartache. It’s going to be a year of disappointment. And guess what you’re going to find? You’re going to find whatever you declare is going to come to happen. Because our life is always filled with some of the good and some of the bad. There’s always going to be growth and healing and opportunity and there’s always going to be some pain and heartache and disappointment. 

But what you set your mind on is what it’s going to focus on finding the evidence for. You can choose what you want to find in this year. You can choose to notice opportunity. You can choose to notice when you grow. You can choose to notice where you’re feeling healthy, where you’re living healthy, and where you have joy. By setting your mind on it, we can focus on the opportunity for healing and growth and joy and hope and all that God offers us in the wake of the pain of this life that we unfortunately can’t escape. So I guess that seems to be a pretty good lead in to our topic today. Because I’m talking about what you want to choose for this year. And today I’m talking about having choices. We have choices on what we’re going to expect out of 2022, but we have choices in everything else too. So many women I talk to feel stuck or they feel locked into a situation, or they think they’re out of options. They get stuck sometimes feeling like a victim of the circumstance because the circumstance is out of their control and they’re a victim of it. And then in the pain of that, they’re unable to see all the options and choices that they actually have. When you feel out of options, you will be disempowered. And on the flip side, if you see that you have options and choices, you can be empowered. And in my work over the last several years, I have found that the main thing that keeps up the blinders so that we only see a couple choices or one choice or no choices is our emotions. As many of you know, if you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while, our emotions are usually the direct result of our thoughts. 

Okay, but we’ll get to that. But let’s just stay on the emotions for a moment. There are emotions that can take our critical thinking brain offline and that’s actually the way it’s supposed to work. I’ve talked about examples like this before. It’s slightly different. I think I’ve talked about a wolf or a bear. We’ll use a bobcat this time. But if I open my patio door and the angry bobcat jumps out and stares at me and growls and hisses, I will feel fear. And when I feel fear, I don’t sit there and calmly think through a bunch of options. I wonder if I give this bobcat some tuna. Maybe he’ll calm down. That’s an option. I could also dial 911 and get connected with emergency wildlife control and they would come and tell me what to do. Or trap the bobcat and release it. Take it back into the wild, hopefully at least like 5 miles away from my house. Or I could grab a rock and throw it at the bobcat. Maybe it’ll run away and be scared and never come back. I’ll scare it instead of it scaring me. HM, maybe I should go grab my husband’s shotgun and shoot it and I’ll save the neighborhood. But that would be cruel. And I don’t actually have a shotgun, but my neighbor does, so I could call him. No, that’s not what happens. 

We don’t sit there and see the bobcat and then calmly think through multiple options. The fear takes our critical thinking part of our brain offline, kicks in all the adrenaline, and then it just has us reacting. And without a thought, we’re probably just going to grab that patio door and shut it as quickly as possible. We don’t even think, let me shut the door to protect myself from the bobcat coming in the house. We just react and slam the door. Fear blocks the critical thinking, and the brain just automatically does what it needs to do to stay safe. We don’t see all the choices. We don’t think through options. We react. And there are other emotions. Fear is a big one. But there’s other emotions that will take our critical thinking offline, according to research. Emotions that will make it hard for us to think clearly and see options are, uh, fear, like I said, anxiety overwhelm worry. Notice they’re kind of all in that same family. Like, fear, panic, worry, anxiety overwhelm it’s all. And can you just even me saying them? Can you see how that locks you up? It’s like we think it’s all too much and something bad might happen, and we go into the fight, flight, or freeze response. I mean, for me, it’s often kind of freeze. Like, I don’t know what to do. I won’t do anything. I’ll slam the door shut on this problem and hope nothing bad happens. 

Okay, so I’m going, uh, to just talk about all these emotions in the way of fear. Because I think fear is mostly how we would describe it. When we kind of shut down, we have thoughts that take us there, right? Let’s get into the thoughts. And they sound like, I’m going to make the wrong choice. I’m afraid I’ll make the wrong choice. I might make a choice that will be painful for someone else. I might lose money. There are no good options. No matter what I choose, something bad will happen. No matter what I choose, someone will be unhappy. I need to make the right choice. I don’t know what choices there are. I don’t want to make the wrong decision. I want to follow God’s will, but I don’t know what it is. This is just a bad situation. All of these thoughts bring up fear. And when we feel fear, we suck at thinking critically and coming up with options. Have you ever noticed when someone else tells us an issue and it’s not happening in our life, it’s happening in their life? And we don’t have all the sorts of thoughts that create fear because the risk is not ours, it’s theirs. And suddenly we can see all sorts of choices and options, and we can’t understand why our friend can’t see them. 

Okay, so a friend might tell a story like, we’re hanging out on the patio and friends like, my boss is so critical and he’s always watching me he talks to other people about me. He gives me so much work, more than I can do in a day. And I’m just at this point now where I hate going to work, but I don’t want to quit because I’ve got good health insurance and I’ve got all these vacation days that I’ve accrued. So I guess I’m just stuck and I have to put up with it. Friend thinks she has no options. She’s stuck. Either she’s stuck either in this job she hates, or she’s going to quit and lose all her great benefits, and that’s it. And she’s like, either I’m going to hate my life at work, or I’m going to quit and I’m still going to hate my life. Right? Does that feel familiar? It feels like there’s no choices when she thinks that way. 

But as a friend, because we don’t have the fear associated with our friend the way she does, because it’s happening in her life, it’s not going to affect us directly. We can suddenly see all these options. We start throwing out ideas. Well, have you talked to HR? Maybe HR. Maybe other people are having problems with this boss. And if enough people complain, HR will do something. I know. I have another idea. What if you work in a different department at the same company? You could get a different boss, a better boss, and you could still keep all your benefits. You could interview at other companies, and you could negotiate the same benefits, the same coverage on healthcare, and, uh, the same vacation days. If you interviewed enough places, you could probably manage that because, you know, everybody’s hiring. Or what if you start that business you’ve always been dreaming of? You know, it’ll be hard at first, but then you’ll be your own boss, and you’ll make enough money to have, uh, all the benefits you want. Or you know what you could get on your husband’s health insurance. That’s one less thing to negotiate. 

If you decide to change jobs, the insurance don’t matter. Then all you have to do is ask for some vacation days. You know what? You could stay in your job and learn not to hate it. You could hire a life coach and learn how to manage your relationship with your boss. And maybe it’ll get better. Okay, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I just added six options without having fear of the situation. My mind’s open, and I can see all sorts of choices now. Friend has we added six choices to her. Two. She had two. They both sucked. Now she’s got eight. That is what our brain can do when we’re not coming from an emotion like fear. And just like that, Friend, you can feel like you have few or no choices when you’re having a negative emotion like fear about the situation. So guess what? The solution is the it’s getting out of fear. Now, I’m not saying never feel fear about the situation. Having fear is a normal human experience. I have fear. I’m going through a lot of changes in my life, and I have fear about all sorts of aspects about it. But I don’t live in the fear. I have it sometimes. I allow it. I process it. But I spend just as much time purposely feeling other emotions about my situation so that I don’t get stuck. 

The truth always is we have choices. There are many, many countless choices out there. If we’re willing to step out of fear and feel something different. How? I already just gave you a new thought. Did you catch it? Anyone catch it? We have choices. I have choices. When I think I have choices, that thought does not create the feeling of fear. I have no choices. Creates fear. I have choices. Helps me feel empowered. When I think I have choices, I feel courageous. I only need to remind myself of that and believe it long enough to let my brain think of some of those choices, like I did with a friend who had a bad boss. When I step out of fear, I get to see so many more options. How do we step out of fear? We need to loosen ourselves up. We need to unlock ourselves from the thoughts that keep us stuck. We’re holding so tight to those beliefs. Those sample thoughts I gave you, like, every choice is bad. I’m stuck. 

I’m going to hurt people, whatever that is. We’re hanging on so tight, we believe it’s true. We need to be courageous enough to think something different. So what do you want to think? Instead of, I might make the wrong choice, how about maybe I will make the wrong choice? I’ve made wrong choices before, and I survived it. Maybe I’ll make the wrong choice, but maybe I’ll make the right choice. That’s possible too. We’re loosening ourself up from that thought. Another thought we talked about. I might make a choice that will be painful for someone else. Yeah, that is possible, right? Because other people that are in your life will have thoughts about your choices. That is true. But they are their thoughts. Their brains think thoughts that might lead to painful emotions for them. That’s possible, but that is on them. You, um, can ask yourself, do I want to limit my choices in an attempt to manage other people’s emotions? I mean, answer honestly. You might. You might be like, you know what? I do kind of want to control their emotions, so I’m going to limit my choices because I think they’ll be happier. You can do that. 

But even if you own that, you can let go of the fear, and you can feel empowered in that. Another fear filled thought, um, might be like, I might lose money. Okay, maybe. And if I lose money, then what? I could figure out a way to make more money. I have found ways to make money in the past. Isn’t that less scary? Like, I might lose money, but I can figure out how to get more money. Money is just a thing we use for trading goods and services. That’s why it was invented. So I’m sure I can figure out a way to trade some goods or services and get more money. I’ve done it before. Less scary. Another thought. Um, there are no good options. No matter what I choose, something bad will happen. All right, let me break the news to you. You are not a fortune teller. You aren’t. I mean, I know there’s people out there that claim to be fortune tellers. I don’t believe in it. I don’t think we predict the future. The future hasn’t happened yet. Nobody really knows. We don’t actually know if something bad’s going to happen. You’re just making that up. And if something bad does happen, bad in air quotes, is it really bad? Who decides if it’s bad? I mean, I was fired from a job once because I chose to no longer placate my boss’s tantrums. Was that bad? I mean, it was a difficult situation, and there was pain when it all happened, but I think it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. 

So I’m saying you don’t have to label outcomes as bad. That’s a choice. You could do it if you want to own it. Just know you’re going to feel icky. When you label your outcomes as bad, there’s always ways to see how they’re good and how you can grow from it. You don’t have to label them as bad. And when you don’t, you let go of the fear. Another thought. I need to make the right choice. This is one that I hear so often. I need to make the right choice. I’m sorry to break it to you all. I don’t know how we know if a choice is right or wrong. Who decides that? How will we know? What’s the measuring stick? Do we have to wait one year out and see what came out of that choice to decide if it was the right or wrong choice? Do we have to wait ten years, and then we can decide if it was the right or wrong choice? What if the choice brings some painful situations in your life? Is that how we decide if it’s wrong? Maybe it’s not wrong. Maybe it was supposed to happen that way. For your own journey, like, what is your purpose in life about making all the right choices? Or is it for growing emotionally, growing spiritually, growing closer to God? Because if that’s the case, we should probably make some wrong in air quotes again, wrong decisions. 

So we have opportunity to grow, and in that case, it would be the right decision. It, uh, all depends on how you look at it. Right or wrong decision? I don’t know. They’re all just opportunities or they’re all just life unfolding in front of us, which creates our opportunity to grow and learn. You guys, you get to let go of your tight grip on your thoughts and beliefs if you want relief, it’s up to you. Though. You will feel stuck, you will feel out of choices if you hang tight to those thoughts. Or you can question your thoughts, notice that they might not be true. It’s possible, and it’s extremely freeing. I’m telling you, I would rather question whether I’m right every day than think I’m right. Thinking I’m right has led me to a lot of pain. But noticing I could be right or wrong in any given moment and maybe it’s not about that is so freeing. Another thought that people have is I want to follow God’s will, but I don’t know what it is. And if that’s your thoughts, you need to go back in this podcast and find the episode on finding God’s will. It’s going to tell you all about that, because God’s will might be different than what you think it is. Any thoughts you have that are creating the feeling of fear or worry or anxiety or overwhelm about the situation are going to block your mind from seeing the choices that you have. And there are so many, I promise you, if you’re willing to question your thoughts. Uh, now, after all that, if you are still feeling like you have no choices, don’t worry. I’m here to help. 

Of course, you can sign up for a free Mind Shift coaching call if you have not done yours yet. But if you’re not ready for that, or if you’ve already done that, you can join the Renew Your Mind Facebook community and talk to me there. And you can talk to hundreds of other women just like you. Whenever you need some perspective or encouragement or a place to dump your thoughts, all of the women in the Renew Your Mind movement are here for you. You’re not alone. We’re going to get through the challenges of life together. Life’s going to continue to be difficult because that’s what life is. And it’s going to continue to offer lots of opportunity to grow and have more joy, more hope, and more peace one thought at a time. And we can do that together. So to find a link to join the Facebook community, just go to Rympodcast.com and I’ll see you there. All right, y’all, that’s it for today, so I will catch you next week. Until then, take care, you. 

As an advanced certified life coach, I help Christian women trying to live their best lives, but they still feel unsatisfied and stuck. I teach thought management skills that work so you can enjoy life again and step into who God has created you to be. Don’t forget to head on over to Rympodcast Um.com to get my free resources or a free coaching call.

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