Istarted writing in a journal every day to get through it and understand myself better. One night I was feeling down, but I wanted to steer my thoughts in a positive direction. I started making a list of things I would learn from the break-up.

They included things like not dwelling on the negative, loving myself, being confident, and being less critical of myself. In the middle of the list I wrote the words:

“I can choose what affects me.”

By the time I finished the list, those words lingered. I repeated them over and over out loud. Every time I said them I felt more powerful. I felt more control over my life. I repeated different variations of the theme:

I can choose what affects me.
I can choose to not be damaged.
I can choose to not be afraid.
I can choose to not let this break-up depress me.
I can choose to look at mistakes as learning experiences.
I can choose to be confident.
I can choose to be happy.
I can choose to feel loved.
I can choose.

Every time I said a phrase, I felt a chill in my body. Tears started flowing, but I wasn’t really crying. It felt like they were escaping; like I was letting go of this deep sadness I’ve carried for so long.

It was an awakening, a healing. It was one of the most significant and amazing experiences in my life.
I wrote the words “I can choose” on my hand as a reminder. They give me the power to take control of my life. Every morning I write them again. Eventually, I won’t need a visual reminder.

Whenever I feel my thoughts become negative, I look at my hand and remember that it doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t have to be slaves to our pasts. We don’t have to go through life with emotional scars.

We don’t have to let negative experiences define us.

We all have power over our lives. It may be difficult to see, but it’s always there. We always have a choice.

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