by Monica Gomez
I once heard Ingrid Bergman say, “If I had my life to live over again and I had the memory of what I had passed, then I would avoid certain mistakes. But if I didn’t have the memory I would do exactly the same because I’m happy with my life and I see no reason why I shouldn’t live it over again.”
I guess not many people can say that. What’s the secret of being happy with our lives? I think it lies in choosing, in being aware of what choices we make. Many times, when facing a decision, we let ourselves be influenced by outside voices: The “must’s” and “should’s”, what is socially correct, what our parent/partners/children are expecting from us. We don’t realize that we’re leaving ourselves behind. We’re not being honest with ourselves. It’s as if we don’t trust our internal knowledge.
How many times have you acted upon a feeling that came from your guts? Unfortunately, we’re not taught to look inside. On the contrary, we are encouraged to focus outside, on other people’s thoughts and considerations. And that’s how we make our own choices: based on opinions and likes that do not belong to us. In fact, we barely know ourselves, so we can hardly see what we really want. Then we feel disappointed, injured, lost and of course, we blame everybody else. In a way, we’re right because it was their opinion which led us astray. However, we forget that the choice was made by ourselves. Nobody is pointing a gun at us. We have free choice. Maybe you’re thinking that in some cases you are not free to choose. Let me give you an example from my own life experience.
My Down Syndrome baby was 4 months old. I had a lot of family problems and I was really feeling overwhelmed with the responsibility of caring for the baby on my own. I missed my job, my friends, my freedom. I felt like a victim. One day, a friend of mine told me: “Well, it’s only a matter of choosing.” I defended myself. “No”, I said. “I have a disabled kid and I can’t choose. I can’t send him back, right?”. He retorted, “You’re right. All I’m saying is that perhaps you can choose to put him in an Institution and work hard in order to pay for all his needs.” I was speechless. He was right! I had a choice; nobody was forcing me to do anything. I was obviously choosing to be close to my baby, but I became aware that I was not a victim. I was choosing.
It is my experience that if I choose carefully and consciously, I never regret what I have done. Precisely because I chose it, I thought about it, I dealt with it and I chose what I considered was the best. It’s true that maybe later I found out I had made a mistake. But that’s fine. It was just that: I made a mistake because I didn’t know, of course. No guilt, no blame, no resentment. Just human nature!
If we can acknowledge the choices we make, we can get closer to Bergman’s statement. Choose consciously, from your heart, and be responsible for that. It’ll help you build self-confidence and peace of mind.
About the Author
Gomez is a qualified counselor from
She is willing to be reached at email@example.com
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