Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Own Your Way

I was away this weekend, visiting my best friend in New York. We had a wonderful time together. I came away from the experience, though, with a deeper knowledge of how important it is to own our choices, to own the way our lives have unfolded.

She is so stressed and worried. She feels the need to control everything she can.

I see my former self.

She has to find her own way.

One of the most important things I have learned over the last couple months since I embarked on this journey is that I must own my choices. I must own my life. Owning does not mean blaming. If something goes wrong, it may be my fault, and that must come with acceptance, not down-talk. Owning means control, opporunity. Owning means that I can change.

Everything we do is part of finding our way. Each person has their own way, their own life. Every choice I make is my way of living. My life is my way. My life is my process.

What I have been trying to find is not some end goal, some answer. I have been trying to find my way. I have been on my way my entire life. I just had to recognize it as mine. I had to take ownership.

Danielle LaPorte at white hot truth provides a great example of the importance of taking ownership in her post "we know you're busy. now shut up about it." "Busy" is an excuse, something we hide behind as though it makes us unique. We should acknowledge that we haven't responded/called back because we chose not to. We decided that other things were more important. We made other things a priority.

If people think about their choices this way, they might respond to emails/phone calls/texts in a completely different way. When we know what our core values are, we act on putting them first, not on responding to the person who screams the loudest.

Can you imagine what the world would look like if we acted first on our core values? If we embraced our choices and looked for opportunities for positive change in every choice we make? What would you do differently?


  1. Hi Daphne,

    GREAT post. I know I've been guilty of saying "I'm busy" and use it as an excuse not to do "whatever". Your words,"We made other things a priority." hit home with me.

    Now I'm signing off to contemplate your thought provoking words....

  2. Hi Daphne.
    The world would be a different place when we are being in integrity. We would be great to work with, we could be trusted and relied upon and we would get things DONE.
    I am learning that when I have made a choice I need to take ownership and not blame people for making a different choice. When John decides to knock off early and I have chosen to work on, THAT is my choice and I should not make out that I am a martyr by working longer than he does.
    Ouch, when I noticed me doing that it hurt, but at least now I am catching myself and I can stop it.

  3. "Every choice I make is my way of living."

    This sentance really jumped out at me. Not only as a reminder for my own life, but also as a reminder that I need to let other people make their own choices also. I have a tendancy to want my kids to make the choices I would make. When they don't, I start getting anxious. We all need to live our own truth. We all have the same right to live that truth and to be responsible for our own choices. Thank you, Daphne, for sharing this.

  4. Hi Daphne! You are so right - busy is an excuse, and not a good one! It's actually not easy to take responsibility for our choices and always be at peace with ourselves. I can do the first part - the second part takes a bit more work. I find as I get old I am much more content, choices are not such a big issue. I focus a lot on intention, have blogged about it a lot.

    Great post - thanks for sharing and making us all think.

  5. Barbara - Thanks so much! I realized after I wrote this post that my mom would say something similar to me when I was younger and it always made me mad. We have choices and that can be an empowering and a humbling thing.

    Wilma - Your example is perfect! It ties in well with some of the things I've been writing about regarding judging and making assumptions. Self-knowledge is the first step. Thanks for commenting!

    Jill - I sympathize with wanting other people to make good choices, especially our loved ones. It's amazing how freeing it can feel to let go of that desire for control and see what someone does with the permission you give them to make their own choices, to live their own life as you see fit. I don't have kids yet, so I really hope I can stick to this - it must be an amazing balance between having responsibility for our children and wanting to give them that responsibility for themselves. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    suZen - I agree about the second part being the hardest. I like what you said about intention and I think you're right. We need to be free to fail in our pursuit of what we want out of life and intention certainly matters. Kudos on relaxing about the choices you make!

    Nadine - Thanks so much! I appreciate your comment and compliment.

  6. Hi Daphne! I love your post. We must be on the same wavelength, on Sunday I posted a reflection about choice and the choices I have made in my life. The realization of our choices is so healthy.

  7. Angelia - Thanks so much for your comment! I read your post and we're definitely thinking along the same lines. Good for you for taking charge and owning up. It's so empowering!

  8. Daphne,
    10 years ago I started learning about Dr. Marshall Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communiction/compassionate communications workshops and book. I was caught in motion and growth with 3 teenagers and healing from Ovarian Cancer and this was a wonderful practice to learn about taking responsibility and living my own life. I will pass it on as this practice you are discribing takes a concerted effort.

    I had a family member who wanted to control everything - every detail of life and living and it has nearly driven one of her children to suicide and another to leave her for years...

    Non-blaming is so important and we living in a culture that loves blame.

    Important words...thank you for sharing them

  9. Hi Daphne,

    I loved your post. I, too, have been making changes to live more in harmony with my core values instead of societal rules. The challenge for me has been to identify what my core values are and then determine if they are really mine or simply something I've taken on from my family or the world at large. It's a full time job!

    I almost missed your question at the end - what would I do differently? That's a provocative question and one I'm going to mull over.

    Thanks for your message!

  10. patricia - I'm definitely going to have to look into Dr. Rosenberg's book, thank you for the recommendation. It's so easy to blame when we judge and assume, and yes, sometimes very hard to avoid the need to blame and control. The balance comes between controlling what we are able (and only when it matters) and letting everyone else do the same for themselves.

    Sandi - Welcome to my blog! I can see from your last post that you are, indeed, making changes to figure out your core values. Take your time in finding them. I have found quite a lot of guidance in other blogs and in the book I'm reading, called How to be Rich and Happy, which I'll review in full as soon as I finish it. Good luck with the mulling, and your upcoming retreat!

  11. Most of us are not aware that we are the servants of our automaic responses. We don't even contemplate, we just allow it without question. It is important that we learn that we have a true indenty living inside of us, if we give it a chance we will discover things about oursleves that we are not aware of. :-)

  12. Walter - Thanks for your comment! It is amazing what we can learn about ourselves once we start listening.

  13. Hi Daphne,
    Great post and realization that you made this weekend with your friend. The idea of controlling our lives is a tough one--just the thought of it makes my neck muscles tense! The idea of owning our lives is so much better--there is empowerment there--it sounds so strong and positive. I love that you differentiate between striving for an end goal but rather acknowledging your path. As for living by our core values--I made a conscious choice a couple of years ago to do this. It meant saying no to things I truly didn't have time for or wasn't interested in. It meant saying yes to things that were outside of my comfort zone. It has meant buckling down on areas that require growth and giving myself the gift of compassion and patience. My world has expanded and the quality of my life has gone up. I'm glad that you are finding your way and noticing the difference, and I'm glad that your friend has you in her life for your friendship and support. -Jodi

  14. Jodi - Thank you so much for saying that! I hope that I am speaking with as much confidence as you are when I'm a couple of years down the road from this new beginning. It really is about saying yes to the positive things and no to the things that don't give us what we need. I appreciate your encouragement.

  15. Daphne,
    What an insightful post "owning your own way". Your friend will be lucky to have you as an example, when she is ready.
    As for living by core values, I am mindful to do my best to identify my values, pass them to my children, and to make sure our lives reflect them. My daughter's favorite line when she is having a negative feeling she looks at me and says "I know I can choose to turn it around--I just choose not to right now" :). It's all a choice. It's reassuring to know that so many of us are mindful about the right choices, about good energy, about encouraging each other on our individual paths. Thank you for a great reminder:)
    As for what I would do differently. I would banish fear completely from my life. Every once in a while those nagging little "thoughts" try to get in the way of something very good.

  16. jchristin - Thank you for your kind words and compliments. Good for your daughter for acknowledging her choice about her feelings! I wish you luck and peace in banishing fear from your life. It is a wonderful goal.


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