Always choices to be made…

This morning, during practice 47 with Lauren’s leaders, we heard about a common adversity which is often thought of and sometimes even shared – “Hell is other people.” Today an associate shared how certain types of other people shut him down. After some good questions, we narrowed these other people down to a very specific person and a specific situation. You see, friend, our leader has a habit of letting certain obstacles and specific people, shut him down. This is primal wiring and very natural. This is not exceptional thinking. This is easy to understand when it involves other people but not so easy to accept when it involves you. Let me make this very ccd.

You are not a victim of your circumstances and other people. You always have the power to choose. Of course, these kinda choices are not easy. So, today, when my friend tried to rationalize his choice to shut down by saying “everybody would have done it when dealing with this kinda $*@hole,” I quickly corrected his statement. You see, just because rude, ignorant, and arrogant people are placed in your path, this doesn’t determine your response. Nope it does not. As Viktor Frankl accurately observed in concentration camp so many years ago, there are always choices to make. Please read a little rant from his book Man’s Search for Meaning. Let these words penetrate you and your seemingly insurmountable obstacle. Slow down with this awhile…

“But what about human liberty? Is there no spiritual freedom in regard to behavior and reaction to any given surroundings? Is that theory true which would have us believe that man is no more than a product of many conditional and environmental factors – be they of a biological, psychological, or sociological nature? Is man but an accidental product of these? Most important, do the prisoners reactions to the singular world of the concentration camp prove that man cannot escape the influences of his surroundings? Does man have no choice of action in the face of circumstance?

We can answer these questions from experience as well as on principle. The experiences of camp life show that man does have a choice of action. There were enough examples, often of heroic nature, which proved apathy could be overcome, irritability suppressed. Man can preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, of independence of mind, even in such terrible conditions of psychic and physical stress…

And there were always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate.”

You friend, have choices to make. Your circumstances do not determine your choices. Your hellish, other people do not make you do it, whatever it is. You choose. Your choices have consequences. Today, in practice 47, we provided a leader with some fertile learning soil. Only he can determine if something grows from today’s soil and seed. Only he can choose to learn how to better handle the bitter people placed in his path. Thanks, Viktor, for modeling the way. Good…

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