There is power in knowing that you have a choice. But what is more empowering is realizing that what empowers your ability to choose is your innate sense of freedom.
In short, nobody is stopping you from doing what you fancy, thinking the way you do, and feeling a certain way about people and things.
If you know that you have this power, then you have no right to blame someone else for your actions and their consequences.
Here are the lives of some individuals who used their freedom of choice to turn their lives around.
Now in his late 60s, Gary can look back and say that he has come a long way. From age 13, he had been experimenting with alcohol and drugs, from downers to acid to heroin.
At age 21, he had a psychotic breakdown. While driving, he started hallucinating, crashed his car and plunged into a shallow ravine. He fell into a coma and miraculously awoke five days later.
It was a wake-up call like no other. Before his desperate mother, he swore off drugs.
Gary was sent to a rehab center in the United States. After his release, he triedto go straight but instead became an alcoholic.
When his wife threatened to leave him, he enrolled in Alcoholics Anonymous. Soon after, he became a Christian.
Gary’s struggle spanned 20 years. Today he is drug-and alcohol-free. A long life of substance abuse has made him realize how much of his life was wasted.
Making up for lost time, he counsels teenagers at his local church. After having embraced a wellness lifestyle, he looks strong, fit and alert.
Clara was the class president who was expected to become a star athlete one day.
But she took up the wrong habit, smoking, and never fulfilled her dreams.
Born into a family of heavy smokers and drinkers, Clara, now 40, also gave up her dream of becoming a tennis champion.
Clara has been a smoker since age 15. At first, she smoked menthol cigarettes “for fun.” She bummed cigarettes from friends and eventually moved from a pack a day to two packs daily from age 20 to 35.
Her tennis matches left her exhausted. A cough that refused to go away held on for two weeks. The result after a medical checkup: the beginnings of emphysema.
Making a 180-degree turn, she flushed all her cigarettes down the toilet.
She promised herself that she would never smoke again. And she has made good on this vow.
Even if she dropped out of tennis competitions, she now heads a tennis clinic for beginners.
While she gave up her dreams to become a tennis star, her health is now in top form as she develops future stars on the tennis courts.
Sandra’s sweet tooth
Everyone in Sandra’s family is overweight. Both parents are obese and her siblings are all overweight.
A typical meal at home would consist of steak and potatoes, crispy pata, white rice, pancit, pan de sal and various desserts like ice cream, cakes and cookies. There were no vegetables.
Beverages included soda and more soda.
This explains why Sandra, 28, had a 50-inch waistline and the appearance of a much older woman.
The turning point happened at a company product launching where she was a junior officer. A tactless male guest she was attracted to made a rude remark: “While you have charm and an inviting smile, the rest of you is a contradiction.”
This was her “aha” moment. Challenged by the man and his statement, Sandra swore to turn her looks around.
The next morning, she enrolled in a gym for dance classes and weight training.
Her eating lifestyle changed, from 100 percent carbo intake to 10 percent. This translated to less rice and more veggies daily that included vegetable juicing, fresh salads and lightly sautéed vegetables.
Sandra shunned beef and pork and ate more fish and chicken. Also, she had no fried food for sixdays every week.
After 30 days, Sandra lost 10 pounds. Within six months she slimmed down to 125 from her original 185 pounds.
After she reached her ideal goal, she called up the man who inspired her to “wake up.”
Today, they are engaged and will soon be married.
The hopeful message is that it is never too late. The more liberating truth is that we have choices open to each and every one of us.
And when you make that choice, remember to choose life by embracing wellness.
This week’s affirmation: “I choose a life filled with endless possibilities.”