We Always Have a Choice
As an avid believer in the Law of Attraction, I’m someone who accepts full responsibility for my life. I accept that I am the creator of my reality and everything in it. So, when something happens that causes me to feel… shall we say… contrasting emotion, I immediately take a hard look at myself to see what thoughts I’ve been entertaining that would cause something unwanted to appear in my life. For the most part, I choose to focus my attention on things that make me happy.
However, every once in a while I’m reminded that I’ve lost my focus, and today was one of those days. This afternoon I noticed a social media post that mentioned some controversy in the news. I usually tend to ignore those posts, but today I allowed myself to go down a rabbit hole – probably because I have a personal connection to the controversy. What’s the squabble? The Mormon church updated its policy handbook to clarify that anyone in a same-gender marriage can be excommunicated, and that children raised in same-gender households cannot be baptized into the church until they are 18, living on their own, and they disavow their parents’ relationship. Since I was raised Mormon, I’ve been in a same-gender relationship for almost 14 years, and I have two stepsons, I was stunned by the news.
I eventually got over my initial shock and disappointment, after which I allowed my emotions to settle back into their naturally calm state. I then started wondering why that news affected me. The reality is that I disassociated myself from the church a long time ago (my choice), and while one of my stepsons was baptized into the Mormon church (his choice – which I supported), he’s in his mid-twenties. I don’t really care how the church treats its members because I no longer believe in its doctrine. I shouldn’t be affected… and yet, I found myself feeling momentary anger and resentment.
That’s when it hit me… I paid attention to the controversy because I’ve been wanting to be a better allower – someone who practices coexistence with all human beings. My desire to peacefully and joyfully coexist with everyone, especially those I disagree with, attracted the perfect opportunity for me to be what I said I want to be.
An allower chooses to let every person or institution do what they feel is best for their happiness, regardless of how much one may disagree with their beliefs, actions, or policies. In other words, it is not my place to try to control others or to tell them what’s right or wrong for them. They’re free to make the choices that they feel are best for their own wellbeing. And if a church or its members feel a need to tell me they’re the only ones with a monopoly on the truth and that it’s their responsibility to determine what’s right or wrong for me, that again is their choice – just as I have the choice to ignore them and choose what I feel is best for me.
I’ve had a particularly difficult relationship with the Mormon church, some of which I’ve chronicled in my blog. By the same token, I agree with their proclamation that it is the responsibility of all human beings to find a way to live together peacefully. Unity doesn’t mean uniformity. Frankly, uniformity is boring. Besides, all of us can find common ground and focus on that. We don’t have to join a church if we dislike its doctrine and practices, and we can choose to leave that church if it no longer brings us joy. My point is that we always have a choice, and if we disagree with a person or an institution, we can do so civilly, without resorting to insults or nastiness.
I’ve chosen a path of love and inclusiveness – which includes love for those who see me as a sinner or who actively campaign to make me a second-class citizen. And… in a twist of irony, one of the core principles by which I lead my life just happens to be one of the core principles of Mormon doctrine. The principle is known as the Eleventh Article of Faith, and it reads:
“We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all [humankind] the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”
The beauty of always having a choice – especially when it comes to beliefs – is that we don’t have to swallow everything we hear in its entirety. I liken thoughts and philosophies to Lego® sets. We can either follow the instructions that come with the sets to create the picture on the box, or we can mix all of them together, take the pieces we like the best and create our own masterpiece. Some may find it beautiful, others may think it ugly, but what really matters is how we feel about it. If our creation brings us joy, then what others think is irrelevant.
I’m so glad that I always have opportunities to learn, to grow, and to practice the beliefs I haven chosen for myself. The same applies to you. See the opportunities for what they are, and know that you always have a choice.
There is – and always will be – great love here for all of you.
About the Author
Appio Hunter is an author, speaker, spiritual guide, and self-described champion for living joyously. He uses his seminars and workshops to facilitate conversations about authenticity, alignment, and the daily experience of community, connection, and joy. Appio is also a weekly columnist with The Good Men Project and co-host of the Real Men Feel Show along with his good friend Andy Grant.