This summer while traveling by train I witnessed the random and disjointed acts of a man who’d had far too much to drink. He had boarded the train in the
middle of the night at the same station as I, and when morning came, he was still in an alcoholic fog. He walked purposelessly halfway up the aisle before turning and walking the other direction.
He checked his luggage without removing anything or returning anything. He sat down. Then he stood up. This random behavior went on for some time. He was not in control of himself.
His seatmate was a woman visiting America from abroad. I couldn’t see exactly what was happening, but it was clear the alcohol made him too familiar, too annoying, full of nonsense.
When her situation as his seatmate was no longer tolerable to her, she chose to keep her commitment to love herself. She chose to show herself love by exerting some control of her situation. She chose to ask for what she needed. And so, at the next station stop, a local police officer, backed up by four Amtrak personnel including the train conductor, escorted the man and his belongings from the train.
One of the things we all want most in life is some degree of autonomy. We want the ability to make choices about things. We want to feel we have some control over our own lives.
Of course, we can’t always be in control of every aspect of our lives. But when you have a high sense of autonomy, you don’t feel totally controlled by your spouse, your children, your job, or anyone or anything.
Consciously choosing to take action that will give you what you need – in the case of the foreign traveler, the need to not be subjected to the alcoholic’s chaos – is a kind of freedom.
You always have the freedom of choice, the freedom to choose whether to let others control your life or to speak up or take action to give yourself what you need.
Live Honest, Open and True
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you had to make a conscious choice to be in control of what was happening?
When your life feels a bit chaotic to you, take a few minutes to observe what is happening in your life and what is causing you to feel that you’re not in control. Then, figure out what you need in order to restore your sense of autonomy. Then just do it.
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