June 9, 2021

Personal Choices

By Barry Rudesill

Today, I want to talk about “Choices”. When we think about choices, most people don’t realize two things:

First, we choose constantly! This morning, I chose to wear blue jeans, dress shoes, a nice t-shirt, and a button up shirt. Out of my entire closet, this is what I chose to wear. Then, because I was scheduled to do a training this morning, I decided to leave early enough so that when I arrived, I could sit down and have a nice cup of hot coffee.

Simple choices; no big deal, right? Well, except I mentioned that people don’t realize TWO things, and we’ve only covered one of those…

Second, all choices have consequences. Sometimes these are big and life-changing, other times they’re small and may escape our notice; but every choice has the ability to impact us in either positive or negative ways. Continuing my example, I’m sitting in the place where my meeting is to be held...and there isn’t air conditioning. It’s already 70+ degrees and 85% humidity. Oh, and the building was closed up overnight, so the heat inside was almost 80 degrees when I sat down in blue jeans and a long sleeve shirt to drink my hot coffee…

Now, is this a silly example? Not really. Me being drenched in sweat prior to the start of a training means that I’m going to be uncomfortable. Because I’m already warm, I have to be extra careful to make sure it doesn’t affect my attitude when I teach. And as I’m pondering the possible outcomes, a whole new series of choices are open to me. Should I find someone to see if they can cool the building off...or do I keep writing my blog? Do I switch from hot coffee to cold water? Maybe I could find a walk-in freezer in the building and stand there for five minutes?

And each of these new choices will open up new consequences for me; again some big, some small…Oh, and by the way, we face this each and every day.

Maybe I choose to snap at someone else, rather than focusing on my words and my tone. In small ways, over time, if I continue to choose this behavior, I undermine the relationship that I have with them. In big ways, maybe they walk away from the relationship forever or they need to seek counseling because of the definitions that I’ve taught them with my words and my attitude.

Maybe I choose to NOT share what I’m feeling inside because I’m afraid of how the other person will react. Instead of admitting that I’m hurt, I hold it all inside. In small ways, over time, the list of hurts continues to grow and it begins to affect my thoughts, my definitions, and even my health. In big ways, by not confronting an issue, I reach a point where I either “explode and unload” on them or the stress of keeping it all inside creates ulcers, high blood pressure, heart disease, and more.

Or maybe instead of dealing with things in an unhealthy way, I choose...better.

Realizing that I am frustrated, I choose to take a “Time Out” rather than lash out. Because I take the time I need to get myself under control, because I speak with love and respect, I improve the relationships I have with those around me. And, because I’m practicing using my tools, it becomes easier to choose to speak kindly to others in the future.

I choose to sit down with someone and talk about the hurts in my life. When I do that, I may learn that the other person didn’t know how their actions were hurting me, they apologize, and our relationship gets stronger. Or, at the very least, I learn how they truly feel about me, and I can make my choices based on what I’ve learned. Either way, instead of holding the hurt inside and wondering, I “Reality Check” my perceptions, I get to find my voice and stand up for myself, and I learn if I need to set a boundary or if I can trust that person.

Today, take a look at the choices you make. Are your choices helping you to become the person you want to be? Are the consequences healthy or unhealthy? Finally, always remember: Just because you made a bad choice in the morning doesn’t mean that you can’t choose differently in the afternoon!

Like we always say: “It’s your choice!”

We hope you enjoy your journey!

- The Trek

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