You can choose your life – happiness or depression, success or failure?

By David Joel Miller.

I never knew I had a choice – did you?


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Did it ever occur to you that you have choices in life? People have told me so very often that they feel they never had a choice.

Then one day a client sat down with me and told me the story of how they never realized just how many choices they have had in life.

We make choices every day.

Even when we think we have no choices, we are making a choice to accept our lot and not do anything about it.

If you are faced with a problem and do nothing, that is a choice. And each and everything we do, that is a turn made in a particular direction. Any choice we make is another direction forgone.

Have you considered how many choices you may have in your life?

If you dropped out of school you can choose to go back or stay without that diploma. If you didn’t finish high school there are programs that help people to complete that High School diploma or get their GED.

Please do not say you are too old to go back to school. The Community colleges and the adult schools are full of “mature” student. Yes, it is work and yes it costs more now, in both time and money, than it might have cost back when you were younger. But you, like so many others before you, can do this if you chose that degree to be a part of your life.

Consider that in the course of a lifetime most of us have to retrain many times for a new occupation. The jobs we started with back in our younger days, many of those jobs do not exist anymore. Not much keypunching going on these days. Anyone still using those 8-inch floppy diskettes?

So if you might have to retrain when your current job goes out of existence why not retrain when your interest and enthusiasm wanes? You do not have to stay stuck in an unfulfilling job.

If you are stuck in an unhappy relationship you do not have to stay unhappy.

Now some of you will be saying that there are reasons you are trapped in that unhappy relationship. You have kids and what would it do to them if you ended your relationship? Maybe you came from a home where you lost contact with a parent after a divorce or you came from a single parent family and never knew one of your parents. You say you could not do that to your children.

But wait, you are making excuses not giving reasons. You are choosing between unhappy and no relationship. Those are not the only possibilities. So often people think they have no choices so they stay or they leave and either way they are unhappy. The truth is that many people leave unhappy relationships and begin new relationships only to find that new relationship is unhappy also.

There are other choices you may pick.

You could stay in that relationship and work on making it happier. Marriage counseling helps, so do other approaches sometimes. You can also stay in a relationship and learn how to be happy in the place where you find yourself. See it is not the other person that makes you happy or not happy but the ways in which things meet or do not meet your expectations. Change your point of view and the situation stops making you unhappy.

One way that relationships make us unhappy is when there is a gap between what we are experiencing and what we expect. Change your expectations and there will be less of a gap.

Does that mean you have to accept bad behavior on your partner of family’s part? Not necessarily. If you begin to change yourself others around you just might change also.

You may not be able to get an alcoholic to stop drinking but you can create a life where you are less dependent on them.

Consider that you may have far more choices than you thought. You need to consider the choices you do have and which are right for you. What you just might find is that you have a lot more choices than you think you do.

What choices will you need to make to create that happy life you deserve?

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog, there is also a Facebook authors page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at

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6 thoughts on “You can choose your life – happiness or depression, success or failure?

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