“Exercise Your Power to Choose”

Renita C. Gabriel, Psy.D., contributing editor

We are empowered by our ability to choose (Thrive, July 2012). Most of us have liberties that we don’t use. For example, many of us can walk to various destinations but we “choose” not to do so. Most of us have options when it comes to food, but we often make poor food choices in the name of convenience. Some of us have certain gifts, talents or abilities, but we choose not to share them or develop them because we don’t necessarily see the “earning potential.” I would like to remind us that we do indeed have the freedom to choose and we can make better choices for ourselves, our families and our communities.

When I was finishing up graduate school several years ago and entering the work force, I could not understand why some of my female counterparts would choose to stay home to rear children. At the time it seemed to me (and forgive my naiveté) “a waste of potential.” Fast forward to present day and I can’t imagine myself working full-time with a young baby at home. It’s funny how having certain life experiences can change your perspective. I am blessed to have had the choice to stay at home full time with my baby girl and in many ways “maximize my potential.” I am learning a lot about parenting that can’t necessarily be gleaned from a book and I am learning just as much about myself during this season. It’s a journey, filled with trials and triumphs, but it’s also a unique opportunity that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Maybe it’s not choosing between being a stay at home mom or working full time for you. Maybe it’s which job opportunity or business venture to pursue- the point is we all have areas in our lives where we have the power of choice. Exercise your power. Consider the following T.I.P.

Take time to consider the areas where you have liberty to choose.

Implement strategies to help you make the best choices.

Position yourself to have options.

Disclaimer—Please note that the monthly "TIP" does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with the readership nor substitute for a professional consultation with a licensed mental health professional.