We create our realities with our thoughts and our beliefs. Our filters alter our perception of the world and events.
But what happens when we give up our right to choose? What happens when we allow others to make the most important decisions for us?
Recently my daughter and I read the book Everything Everything. It’s a fictional story about a teenage girl on the verge of adulthood, the daughter of a doctor, who has lived most of her life without leaving her house due to an extremely rare disease that affects her immune system. For the same reason, visitors were not allowed in the house. Her father and brother had died in a car accident when she was very young so her world was limited to her mother and a nurse who came daily to be with her while the mom went to work.
Her mother kept her in a bubble, away from anything that might hurt her, until the girl started to challenge the decisions that were being made for her. I won’t spoil the book, but once she began making choices about whether it was more important to live a full life or be safe, everything changed.
I was living in this kind of bubble for years, allowing others to make all the important decisions, doing what I thought would make others happy instead of what would make me happy. I didn’t want to risk upsetting friends, family or my ex because I was afraid they wouldn’t like me if I did; I was scared I would be alone.
My relationship with my ex was the culmination of this attitude. I gave up my sense of self, and self-worth. At the end we went to marriage counseling and the therapist described our relationship as a that of a parent and child. I was the child, doing what I was told without challenge. I couldn’t even be called a rebellious teenager…because I never disobeyed.
Perhaps it’s for this reason I have always been an advocate for allowing my kids to make as many of their own choices as is reasonable. I started when they were very young, letting them choose their own clothes, even if they didn’t match. As they grew I gave them options for dinner and weekend activities. I teach them that their opinion matters, a message that is in opposition to the one they receive from their dad.
It’s easier to help my kids than it is to fix my old habits. When making plans with friends I have to stop myself from letting them make all the choices. With my kids, there are certain decisions that are mine alone because I’m the parent. It’s still something I struggle with when I’m with specific people, but I’m more aware of what I am doing and so I know I can change.
I control my thoughts and my beliefs. I make the important decisions that impact my life. Each choice is mine to make.
This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Bubble