Choice is a key pillar in our healing process. It’s a tough one, though. And there are some hard truths to come to terms with in order to ensure we create sustainable change, as well as, stay-away from abusive relationships.

Admitting we have a choice in our life means we must accept responsibility for where our lives are at today. We must acknowledge we made specific choices along the way, which got us here.

And if we don’t like where our lives are at—then we have the choice to change it. It’s not about what someone else did or didn’t do—it’s about you and it’s about me choosing what we want in our lives.

That may have stung a bit. I felt it, too. It’s worth the sting, because choice is one of the most empowering practices we employ in the healing process.

The beautiful part about choice is it also gives us back control of our lives. If we blame, we surrender our right to choose a better way for ourselves. I am in no way suggesting we own other people’s choices; however, we must own taking control of our lives. And control comes with responsibility.

By taking control and responsibility for our physical, spiritual, emotional, relational, intellectual, and financial health, we can make choices that keep us safe, happy, and healthy.

Initially, it’s natural to doubt our ability to make choices that work for us. And if we’re judging by past choices, that may not be that far off; however, with new insights, we will be equipped to do so.

Oftentimes, fear of making a mistake can creep in as well, especially, when we start owning the choices in our lives. We are learning to be comfortable with imperfections. It’s part of the healing process.

Remember, it’s not about being perfect—it’s about making progress. Growth is the goal.

Life is a series of experiments, which give us feedback. We make a choice—get some feedback—and then decide if we like the feedback or not.

We don’t have to have everything all figured out before we start the healing process. We just have to start experimenting and evaluating the feedback.

Only you can decide if something works for you, or if it doesn’t work for you . . . if a particular belief is helping you or harming you. Only I can decide if something works for me or if it doesn’t work for me . . . if a particular belief is helping me or harming me. We can’t mix that up.

I can’t start telling you what works or doesn’t work for you or what to believe and you can’t start telling me what works or doesn’t work for me or what to believe. We are each the CEO’s of our own lives.

We are the only people who can determine what works for us or what doesn’t work for us and adjust our belief systems accordingly.

At times, experiments may go sideways and the feedback we get might make us cringe. That’s okay—it’s called being human. Actually, it’s a good thing—a great thing. In those moments, we grow. We’re able to connect the dots and catapult the healing process.

The moment we accept our life story with all the plot twists, roadblocks, breakdowns and pit stops along the way—no one can ever use our imperfections against us again.

After all, you and I are human. Humans aren’t perfect. Accepting our humanness and celebrating our abnormal perfect moments creates the mental space we truly need to travel the healing road.

The quicker we make a choice and get some feedback, the faster we grow. The focus is to become more skilled in making choices that produce the results we want in our lives. And the only way to do that is to keep experimenting. Don’t worry or fret—just experiment.

“The best advice I’ve ever received is, ‘No one else knows what they’re doing either.’ ” —Ricky Gervais, Comedian

The vulnerable part of being able to choose differently means we need to trust our choices. Trust that we are going to do what’s in our best interest. Trust that we are capable of making choices that will lead to a better quality of life.

We can’t be safe and have peace when we are making choices that violate our values. We will continue to feel unsafe and conflicted when the things we do on the outside are incongruent with the inside.

It’s imperative we are honest with ourselves. The natural next thought is . . . what if we don’t know if we’re being honest with ourselves or not?

Early on and occasionally still, I get mixed signals . . . I think I’m being honest with myself and then I find out—oops—that wasn’t what I had in mind.

Given our thoughts and feelings have been suppressed for so long, we may inadvertently mislead ourselves at times. We think our mind and heart are telling us one thing, so we make a choice based on those instincts—only to find out that the feedback is not what we wanted at all.

This false positive is part of the healing process. It lets us learn something new about ourselves. Healing is quite a bit like a discovery process. Approach it with curiosity.

A false positive is extremely useful in reconnecting with our values. Don’t dismiss it. Take note—write it in your journal. Choosing our values and standards is crucial to our healing and happiness.

Further, something we think and feel works for us right now may change in the future. I always say, “I have the right to change my mind.”

Have you ever said, “Oh, I’ll never do that,” and then you go and do it?

Of course, you have! We all have.

Changing our minds, making different choices, and adjusting when things are no longer working for us is necessary and completely acceptable. What is unacceptable is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.

We must have the courage to make choices that serve us. Choices that make us feel safe, happy, and loved. Having the courage to choose creates the freedom to build a life we can fall in love with.