Today’s quote comes from Oprah Winfrey, who says “Understand that the right to choose your own path is a sacred privilege. Use it. Dwell in possibility.”
Actually Oprah comes up with some pretty dynamic stuff from time to time and this is one of those times. How often do we actually get to choose our own path – well I guess the answer would be All the Time. Strictly speaking I don’t think that that is true!
Now before everyone starts jumping up and down on my head, let me explain.
I recently parted company with a friend. It was a relatively ‘new’ friend as the friendship was only about four years old (my ‘oldest’ friendship is going on for forty five years now), so in the grand scheme of things, I wasn’t too emotionally devastated. Losing or walking away from a friendship is not something that is new to me, however, that said, it is not done lightly.
To give you a brief, if somewhat un-emotional run down of what happened here are the highlights. Lets call her Anne.
Anne met a new man in November. I have no problem with that, in fact I have always encouraged her relationships. Within 6 weeks he had purchased her a new lounge suite, new bedroom suite and there were new appliances for the kitchen on order. Still no problem for me as long as you are aware of why all these purchases are taking place. What did start happening in the beginning of December though, is that suddenly arrangements that were made with me months and weeks before he arrived on the scene, were cancelled at the last minute (I mean an hour or so before we were due to meet) and the cancellation was done by SMS. Not good. For me this is disrespectful on two levels. One is that now I am being treated like I am not good enough (and yes it is my right to choose to believe and/or react like that) and secondly breaking an arrangement like that should be done in person, even if it is done telephonically, with an explanation – not be SMS. Again for me that is like saying that I am not worth the call.
Me, being who I am, I confronted her about this and then discovered that the problem is that this man is one of those controlling, manipulating type people. It also came out that he was now paying most of her bills, rent and the like and that he basically didn’t want her to see anyone (and that included friends) except for himself of course. Every time she told him of a meeting planned between the two of us, he ‘closed’ his wallet and threw a temper tantrum. She, now being used to the additional money, gave in and then not wanting any kind of confrontation with me, sent me an SMS to cancel our arrangement. Well that is also her choice I guess, but it is one that was very cleverly manipulated by this fellow under the guise of – ‘well I’ll help you financially because you have gotten yourself into a bit of a financial situation.”
This kind of behaviour also carries a huge consequence – you see not only has she lost me as a friend (my choice is not to allow anyone to treat me with this kind of disrespect) but further on down the line, she will lose the ability to make any kind of decision of her own – they will all be made by him. Technically, she will have given him the right to make all decisions for her, because of the control that he will exercise over her in the disguise of money. Not nice at all, but it was her choice to allow him to do it the second time.
You see, another of Oprah’s sayings is “Believe someone the first time they tell you something!” The first time he manipulated her with money, she should have made the right choice. She didn’t and the result is that in a way she has given him “permission” to continue in this way.
Oprah is right when she says that the right to choose is a sacred one. It is something that many people have gone to war over and have given their lives for. It is something that we as individuals should treasure and guard.
Whenever we make a choice, we should consciously remember those who made the wrong choice, in the first place, and who as a result of that, now have very little choice at all.