16 August 2007

Learn to Pick Your Battles

Several years ago an amazing little book exploded on the scene and caused people to rethink what they were thinking about. It was Don't Sweat the Small Stuff by Dr. Richard Carlson. It is a book of meditations on keeping the proper perspective. Dr. Carlson reminded us that it's all small stuff in the bigger picture and not to let those little things become big things.

One of my daily axioms is another reminder from Dr. Carlson: Learn to pick your battles. There is the opportunity several times a day for each of us to have some sort of altercation. Someone will offend us; something will make us angry; someone else will say something stupid. Yes, this is all true. But what else is true is that we have the power to choose. We have choice.

We take for granted this amazing ability that we have been given. The ability to make the choice to not get caught up in someone else's drama. We can choose not to attend every argument we have been invited to. We can choose to step away when someone else is having a pity party. We can choose to say that is unacceptable to me. We can choose.

The problem isn't that we don't choose. The problem is we do choose, but we choose to join the party, the drama, someone else's battle. When someone directs an offensive comment your way, it's like them handing you a bottle of poison. Now when you enter into the battle, you have just made the choice to ingest their bottle of poison. So you have chosen to slowly kill yourself.

This is a harsh image, but sadly a very real one. In my practice, I have seen far too many women slowly dying because they have chosen to take the poison of some other hurting human being. Hurting people hurt people and are hurt by them. I try to instill and teach this principle of learning to pick your battles; and there are many battles to choose from.

I am an advocate for peace and social justice. In my "other" life, I do work around HIV/AIDS awareness, hunger and poverty in America, and non-violent living. These are the battles I consciously choose to fight. And I don't think in terms of winning or losing. We all lose when people are dying -- physically, emotionally, or spiritually. But I choose to exert my energies on the battles of injustice and social responsibility. I leave alone the petty differences because in the end, they will amount to nothing. I choose the battles of social injustice. But I also choose to let go of the battles of ego-building and proving I am right.

We all have the amazing gift of choice. But remember, not making a choice, is still a choice. So, what will you choose?

Live passionately by choice,
Coach Carolyn

1 comment:

Dorsi Diaz said...

Thanks for the uplifting article on picking our battles. I had a "revelation" today that that was exactly what I needed to do with so many battles colliding all at once!