I once was a substitute teacher for a class of 3rd graders. We were sitting around a small table and playing a language learning game. The children were playing nicely and pretty much behaving well until suddenly a little girl and a little boy started playing tug of war with a plastic game piece. The little girl yelled, “Hey! Stop it!” as the little boy tried to pull the game piece out of her hand. I addressed him by name and asked him to please give the item back to her, as she did have it first. The little boy was suddenly very angry and shouted, “OOOOHHHH!!!! SHE MAKES ME SO MAD!!!” Calmly I said to him, “No, I have to tell you that she does not make you mad. You have chosen to be mad. No one can make you mad. Only you get to decide that.”
Suddenly the class was very quiet and the little boy was looking at me with a look of complete surprise, certainly this was a new idea to him!
I often hear people explain that someone or something “makes” them angry. Or happy. Or sad.
The truth is that our thoughts about those people, situations, or events are what “make” us feel a certain way. And our thoughts are our choice. We can make the choice to think differently about any given situation or thing. We can start by asking ourselves some empowering questions, such as, “What’s good about this?” or “How could I look at this differently?”
Our thoughts, feelings, and emotions are our responsibility. In fact, that is really what responsibility is, our ability to respond. You have the power to be at choice in how you respond to any given person, thing, or event. When you choose the perspective that someone or something makes you mad, (or any other emotion), you have just given your power away.
Empowerment comes from within, being empowered is your choice. The language we use plays a big part in how empowered we feel and in turn how we experience life.
Here’s to choosing an empowered life,