I have no choice

Posted by Karen Degen on 30th January 2018

Tags: no choice, resentment

Have you ever found yourself feeling resentful because you are doing something you don’t want to be doing? Or unhappy in a job you don’t want to be in? The way to fix that is to remind yourself that you are choosing to do it. That might sound simple but it really works. For instance a while back I was yet again taking the first steps to make up with someone I’d had a falling out with. I was feeling resentful and grumbling to myself “why do I have to be the bigger person?” Then I reminded myself “you don’t have to be. You are choosing to because that’s the sort of person you want to be”. That helped me immensely. Recently someone who was expecting a new grandchild told me she was worried she would end up doing too much for the baby and would start to resent it. She was a very giving person and I knew she would offer to babysit and do a lot for the family, sacrificing her own time, which was precious to her. She had a bad habit of offering to help others, then when that help was accepted she would start to resent it – yet she had put herself in that position. I told her she didn’t have to babysit or do anything she didn’t want to and she replied that she didn’t feel she had a choice. I advised her “think very carefully about what you are and aren’t prepared to do for this baby now, so you won’t offer anything you don’t really want to do”. I then told her my choosing rule: When you are feeling resentful or unhappy doing what you are doing remind yourself that you are choosing to do it. If you realise you don’t choose it any longer then stop doing it! There are only two options: (1) Don’t do it. (2) Do it willingly and happily. There is no option for doing it with resentment!

I’ve used this with a client recently who was unhappy in his work. If you go by the above ‘rule’ then his only two options were (1) leave his job or (2) remind himself that he was choosing it and do the job willingly and happily. If you are in the same position with your job you might think that you aren’t choosing it, that you have no choice because you need the money and you haven’t found another job yet. The fact is though that you do have other options. You could quit and live on the street. You are choosing to work rather than take that option. You could take a job that isn’t very nice and no-one wants (so they always have vacancies), but you are choosing to stay in your current job instead. You could choose to leave your job and lose your house or your relationship or your kids, but you are choosing to stay in your current job instead. See, you do have choices and you are choosing to stay in your job. Once you have reminded yourself of that, find the willingness and happiness to do the job. The other options are worse. Isn’t it great that you get to choose.