“Love is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves without any insistence that they satisfy you.” —Wayne Dyer
We’ve all been given the great gift to choose for ourselves how we want to be. What a wonderful gift! To get to choose at any given moment how to respond to anything and anyone. That’s pure power!
And it’s even more powerful when it’s used properly and motivated by love. Love for ourselves and love for others. Love for the gift itself and the power it brings.
But its proper use and motivation is not always easy to accept and take responsibility for.
For example, when we blame others or our circumstances for our lack of happiness, peace and joy.
“If only you’d be quiet, you’re being so annoying and making it impossible for me to think… I wouldn’t have reacted that way if you hadn’t done what you did…This rain is making it impossible for me to get anything worthwhile done…There’s no way I’m going to make a good impression now because this traffic is going to make me late.”
Such statements aren’t owning and taking responsibility in properly using the power of choice nor do they show that we truly love and care about ourselves enough to choose how we will be regardless of others and our circumstances.
When it comes to honoring the choices of others, it’s definitely not easy to always accept and allow in those we love. Especially when they make choices that we wish they wouldn’t make…choices that are not in line with what we’d choose and that we feel is a poor choice to make.
For example when we say things like: “What in the world were you thinking? Have you no idea how that’s going to make others think and feel towards me now?! Thanks a lot for not caring about me and what I think. You’re always thinking of yourself with no regard to how what you say and do affects others.”
When it comes to other’s choices and how we personally feel and think about what they chose, we just have to tell ourselves: “They’re not my choices to make.” Our choices to make are whether or not: we love, support and accept, get angry, judgmental and mean, be patient, encouraging, and understanding, lash out and attack, withdraw and disapprove, or listen, guide and serve.
If we accept that our choices are ours alone and that other’s choices are theirs… this gift of choice and its power can do amazing things in life…for ourselves and for those we love and care about. Proper use of the power of choice and choosing to truly love can even affect the choices others might make. As they see us properly use, own and love this great gift in ourselves, and especially as they see and feel us use this gift in showing love to them by allowing them their own choices, they will feel more inspired and motivated to use it more wisely themselves.
Of course, when children are very young, they are completely dependent on us to make some choices for them. And as parents and caretakers, we love and are honored to take on that responsibility and power. As children get older and begin to assert their independence, realizing that they can chose for themselves our sense of control over the choices they make starts to get threatened and it can become difficult to relinquish that control and turn it over to its proper owner.
In order for the true gift and power of choice to work properly and for love to be its true motivation… we must let go of our control over other’s choices!
Once children and especially teenagers and adults have owned their own power of choice, it becomes necessary for us to step back and allow them to choose for themselves whatever they choose. And a big part of choosing properly for ourselves and truly loving those we care about, is to not imply that they’ve made a wrong choice nor insist that they choose what we want them to. Again, it’s not our choice to make.
So when your daughter or son or spouse or friend makes a choice that you don’t necessarily agree with…How do you choose to be? Do you choose to be loving and supportive and allow them to choose for themselves? Or do you choose to insist they make a different choice that is more what you want?
Hopefully it’s to be loving and supportive… but if not…one of the greatest things about this powerful gift of choice is that if we make a choice we don’t like or feel good about…we can always choose again and make a different choice.