Power to Choose

April 23, 2012

I’ve had the pleasure recently of addressing many college students and professionals about the direct link between our energy and how happy, balanced and successful we feel in our lives. This concept of Energy Leadership places the responsibility of our thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and ultimately, our life’s outcomes, in our hands. It teaches us that despite what we may be experiencing, or who/what we are surrounded by, we have the power to lead our lives in a way that creates everything we want more of…great relationships, productivity, results, energy and enthusiasm, feelings of success in all areas of our life, health, wellness, balance, and more.

However, the question that I have been getting most is, How can I manage all of the negativity and conflicted individuals around me? How do I not let it affect me?”  Great question, and a great exercise in leading our energy.

I read a passage just a few days ago which nicely addresses this exact question. It said:

Negativity will bring us down if we stay around it long enough. We don’t fully grasp that being around destructive people will affect us, seep into us, and eventually pull us down. That’s why choosing our environment is so important. In truth, the only free will we have is choosing our environment, because once we are in it, it determines how we grow. It is similar to wheat which is planted in the ground. The potential is not realized without the right soil, rain and sunlight which make up the environment…once man has chosen his environment, he is in its hands, like clay in the hands of a potter. ” –Yehuda Berg.

Wise message, indeed. But, how can we fix an environment which we cannot leave in that moment (or choose not to leave)? Or, how can we help to bring about change in others knowing that in the end they must change themselves?

I’d like to suggest this process which allows us to influence change within our own power, raising our positive energetic vibrations along the way. It’s all about CHOICE.

  1. Remain a victim to it.
    This option is always a choice, but one which will continue to give you feelings of loss of control, powerlessness, grief, anger, etc.
  2. Avoid the conflict, challenge or individuals.
    Get out of the situation. Limit your involvement or time spent with the individuals. You can consciously and in an empowered way choose not to get involved in certain conversations or with certain people. If you don’t like smoke, don’t sit in the smoking section!
  3. Change or leave the situation.
    Do what you can to intervene to bring about a resolution, or offer a positive perspective to the conversation or situation. If you don’t like the music being played, suggest a new station! Or, change the channel yourself! Sometimes circumstances make it so that we cannot leave certain environments. If over time, you can’t effect change or make it better for yourself, leaving may be the only answer. It may be time to consider making the changes necessary that will allow you to exit.
  4. Alter your perspective of the experience.
    Look at the situation differently and your experience of it will change. Use techniques like changing your understanding of the significance of the situation (how urgent is this, really?), becoming curious instead of furious, visualizing yourself in a different location–one that brings you peace (like a mountain top!), understanding why the person may be doing what he or she is doing, or bringing compassion into the situation instead of judgement.
  5. Accept it.
    Accepting a situation as it is instead of fighting it. Consider saying to yourself, “So what? In the bigger scheme in life, does this problem really and truly matter?” Simply don’t assign so much value to the situation or the person. You can choose to be in the moment and see the potential learning opportunity in that moment [for you or for the other(s)]. By releasing the situation, we also release the energy of it!

We have the power to choose how we live, work, play and feel. Certainly, in our lives we are confronted with situations where we feel powerless and unable to make a change, or leave. However, we do have the power to choose how we feel about these situations, people, changes, etc. We have quite a bit of power at our disposal, we simply need the courage to access it and make those tough decisions.

If you feel you are in a negative situation currently, or are in the company of negative individuals who you feel drain you of your energy, consider the above process and answer these questions to help you influence change and to ultimately feel better and in more control:

  • Do I feel like I am powerless in this situation, or a victim to this person?
  • How can I “change the channel” or intervene to create a more solution-oriented environment?
  • How might I alter my perspective of this issue or person?
  • If I simply accepted the situation for what it is and/who the person is, how might that help me release the negativity I’m feeling?
  • What would be my ultimate outcome and what are the first steps I can take to achieve that outcome?

And, remember, small changes in actions and perceptions create HUGE shifts in our energy and in how we feel.

Finally, consider The Optimists Creed as an anchor for you today and in those tough moments:

Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation — some fact of my life– unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.



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