Last week we had local elections, and the turn-out was low – many people just didn’t bother. I find it disappointing that people don’t vote when they can – it’s one of our chances to choose who represents our interests in a democracy. And it may be a flawed system, but it is a lot better than having no choice at all.

It made me think about how we choose in our lives: whether we make passive or active choices.

A passive choice is when we ‘let it happen’. This can be at any level, from not voting, to ignoring the deterioration in a close relationship, to just taking the substitution in our on-line grocery shop!

It’s not that it is wrong, per se, but it is a loss of control over our lives and how they work, and it leaves us a victim of circumstance.

On the other hand, we can make active choices. This means that we decide what will work best for us, and act accordingly. We say a clear yes or no, based on our values and preferences.

In this case, we are consciously making the best choice for ourselves that we can in the circumstances, and we accept the outcomes because we know we did what was within our control. There are, of course, things we can’t control, but we do always have a choice about how we react to them.

I don’t claim to always get it right, but the more often I make active choices, the more it becomes a habit. Even if it is just saying no to that substitution in your groceries, it’s another small step in running your own life, and not being a victim.

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