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I hope as you’re reading this you’re thinking to yourself, “I am in charge of my destiny.” I’m not saying we don’t all need others to guide us and sometimes help us along our journeys. Nor am I implying that there is no God. But I do believe that God—or a universal force—gave us the gift of free will. Whatever your beliefs, I want to love yourself, believe in yourself and trust yourself enough to claim the right to make your own choices, especially the most important ones, including:

  • What do you value?
  • What do you want to do with your life?
  • Who do you want to love?
  • What is your greatest life purpose?

No one else—not your mate, your friends, or your parents—have the right to make these choices for you, because they’re not living your life.  Only YOU are. These choices are a privilege, a blessing—whatever you wish to call them—but they belong to you and you alone!

Yes, sometimes choices can seem scary.  Once we make decisions that will determine our destiny we must accept responsibility for them, and that can feel overwhelming.  But when we think about it, if we’re really making choices for ourselves—without undue pressure or influence—the most responsible choices are those that make us happy! We’re actually entitled to be happy as long as we accept responsibility for our choices! Once we become adults, like the title of Sylvia Boorstein’s inspiring book, Happiness Is an Inside Job.

 But there’s another side to this issue: At the same time we’re entitled to make our own choices, we’re not entitled to sit back and wait for someone to make us happy, unless that individual chooses of his or her free will to add to our happiness by sharing in our lives. 

If you think you’ve relinquished your right to determine your destiny more than you care to admit, it’s time to love yourself more, believe in yourself more, and trust yourself more every day of your life, starting today. When you do, you’ll begin to discover you can share yourself more freely from you heart, because you want to, not because you must. When you love yourself, it’s so much easier to love your friends, your family, and everyone you meet—by choice, not mandate. The others in our lives are not supposed to be our burden and they don’t want to be. They want the freedom and dignity to make their own choices, just as we do. We’re not entitled to expect them to love us out of a sense of duty. Nor do we have the right to make their decisions for them.

There’s a saying that we all get older, but maturity is optional. Unfortunately, there’s some truth to this. People are born to grow and evolve, but some of us resist personal growth all or most of our lives out of a lack of confidence or fear of unknown consequences.

Of course, as children we’re not ready to accept full responsibility for ourselves. It’s in large part the responsibility of the parents and other adults in our lives to provide us with a secure and happy childhood, at least as much as is possible.  But as children, we also need preparation for adulthood, so we can become independent and make good choices—our choices. This will never happen if adults don’t encourage us to become autonomous, at the same time letting us know we’re loved and trusted.

 Let’s release whatever happened to us—especially as children—that has  sabotaged our self-assurance. And while we’re at it, let’s forgive ourselves and our loved ones for being human. Let’s make the choice to model a code of respect for ourselves and others, despite what may be the blaming, meddling, or bullying habits of anyone else in our lives. And let’s begin this moment, if for no other reason, to find peace of mind. Beyond this, perhaps we can inspire those we love to do the same.  But if someone we know just doesn’t seem to get it, it’s not our job to coerce him or her—this is a lesson in wisdom we each need to learn for ourselves.

And it’s probably the happiest choice we’ll ever make.

Mary Kathryn “M.K. Jones

Writer/Producer/Advocate for Women