One thing that no one can ever take from you is your power to choose. It is something that you cannot even take from yourself. If you choose to allow others to make choices for you, that is a choice. One that you make each time that you comply with their decisions. There are times that we are compelled to do things by outside forces such as the law, but we still have the power to choose how we will respond. The thing about making choices is that it doesn’t grant you the power to do anything that you want. You are limited by circumstances and by what your imagination can come up with. But you can always choose something. Will you comply with what you have been compelled to do or will you resist? That is a choice and the results of those choices are likely to be different.
Choice is our most powerful agent of change. We can always choose to make different choices today then those we made yesterday. This allows us to change who we are on a daily basis. It is not our thoughts or even our feelings that define us, but our actions. Feelings are not right or wrong. They cause no harm to others (they can be toxic to ourselves). It is what we do with our thoughts and feelings that define us. We all have fleeting thoughts (or even persistent ones) of hurting other people. We briefly imagine slapping that really annoying co-worker, but this thought means nothing if we don’t act on it. That is why we are not really defined by our pasts. That person, making those choices, is gone. In this moment, you will make choices and those will define who you are.
We make choices every second of our lives; so many choices that we often lose our perception of making them and the power those choices grants us. Each of us has great capacity for both evil and for good. We can be both compassionate and hateful. This dichotomy is at the heart of being human. We are the only one that can choose which end of that spectrum we will move towards.