I Chose This

I chose this. I *chose* this…is sometimes the mantra that gets me through a tough day. I tend to forget that I chose my career, which is known for a particularly stringent and stress-inducing type of lifestyle: managing the care of clamoring and (sometimes very) sick patients, working with equally sleep-deprived colleagues, braving the grueling shift work, trying to keep up with the constant deluge of knowledge and coping with challenging personalities and people in work and life.

Like most of us, I deal with a emotional, mental and physical exhaustion. When I am in the throes of a near breaking point, instead of cracking, I ease into it. Victor Frankl once said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” This is the space I attempt to cultivate and occupy.

Not only did I choose it, I still choose it, I still work for it, I still sacrifice for it, and yes, to be perfectly honest and raw, I sometimes hate it.

I don’t have a career that allows me a regular 9-5 job, and most times, not even the weekends are free. And I often have to remind myself that I *chose* this. Not only did I choose it, I still choose it, I still work for it, I still sacrifice for it, and yes, to be perfectly honest and raw, I sometimes hate it. But that’s adulthood right: learning how to withstand the grit of your dreams and to choose to grow strong from struggle and weakness. I’m still HERE because my life work and the things that I choose to commit myself to are LARGER than one bad day, one bad week and even one bad year. So here I am choosing it again…

But that’s adulthood right: learning how to withstand the grit of your dreams and to choose to grow strong from struggle and weakness

What do you choose? Before you feel the inertial pull toward losing your cool, pause. It’s not going to be easy at first to pause mid-storm of an intense emotion like anger or frustration. So you will need to practice pausing. Once you pause, ask yourself: What am I choosing now? The question reminds  you that you have control over your emotional reaction. We often lose our cool or freak out when we face uncertainty. Uncertainty is anxiety-inducing. So by asking the question – “What am I a choosing now?” – it places the responsibility of your actions in your field. So what are you choosing now?

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