We’re not hostages.
We’ve not been stripped of our freedom. Circumstances can’t do it. Uncontrollable elements of our past can’t do it. We still cling to an ability. An ability that when exercised, literally changes things. And most importantly, us.
So today, remind yourself. Often.
I can choose.
Say it again. I can choose. Say it until you believe it in your gut. I can choose.
Victor Frankl was an Austrian psychiatrist, who in 1942, along with his wife and parents, was taken prisoner by Nazi forces and deported to the Nazi Theresienstadt Ghetto. A year later, Frankl and his wife Tilly were transported to the Auschwitz concentration camp, then moved to Kaufering, a Nazi prisoner settlement affiliated with Dachau concentration camp. There he spent five months working as a slave laborer. Amidst the untold horrors of life inside the German World War 2 death grip, Frankl watched as one by one, those closest to him perished. His father at Theresienstadt. His wife, mother, and brother at Auschwitz.
Yet incredibly, despite atrocities unimaginable, hope lived on, deep in the heart of Frankl, a place Nazis could not access. Realizing his internal freedom didn’t wear prison garb, the young doctor exercised the most powerful thing, and perhaps the only thing, he still possessed. His ability to choose.
“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.” – Victor Frankl
So when your past screams loudly, repeating poorly chosen words spoken by others, aimed at tearing you down, choose not to listen. When your self-made messes, long-since forgiven, attempt to create redemptive doubt, choose to believe the good report. When love given seems an unjustified response, choose to love anyway.
Today, choose wisely today. Choose carefully. But, most importantly, just choose.