When we’re stuck in the middle of an unhappy or undesirable life circumstance, it often feels as if we don’t have any choice at all. We feel trapped in a corner, or imprisoned in our unhappy bodies or lives.

However, no matter where we are in life there is always a choice about how we proceed. We can’t change what is, but we can change what will be. The first step to lift out of an unhappy reality is to activate ‘will.’ Will is, perhaps more than any other factor, the key to human freedom and personal power. Will is the ability to deliberately choose a specific course of action. In simpler words, will is your power of choice.

Life is filled with infinite choices. All around us are opportunities, challenges, and of course the path of comfort. In this smorgasbord of life choices, is it up to you to decide the best actions for you based on your heart’s passions. This means you have the ability to choose freely what you no longer want to experience and also choose what you do want to experience in your life. Recognizing that you have will can set you free and reward you beyond your wildest dreams.

Will is the Ability to Choose
Often, we live our lives without making conscious choices for ourselves. We accept the circumstances of our life, taking whatever comes along. One day we wake up and realize we’ve been living a life that doesn’t feel authentic. We’re not happy. We keep doing what we think we should be doing to get by, yet feel lost, empty, and maybe even depressed. Then we convince ourselves we don’t have the ability to choose differently.

For example, you feel unhappy, but tell yourself, “I have spent so many years studying for this job, I can’t possibly leave it now.” Or, “My family has such expectations for me, I should fulfill those expectations whether I like it or not.” Or, “I’m overweight and there is nothing I can do about it.” No matter how alien you feel in your situation, how trapped you feel, you believe that you don’t have a choice in the matter.

Will is about knowing that you always have a choice. It is about trusting your instincts and deciding where you want to go in life. Will involves the creative spark of independence and self-determination. Will is your determined purposefulness, conviction, and resolve to live a life beyond the confines of should’s, have-to’s, and feeling trapped.

Is Your Power to Choose Strong?
If you find that your will to choose is not fully developed, you feel out of control. If you have not learned to use your free will, you feel fragile and vulnerable. If you were brought up to obey others while denying and disowning your unique personal choices, you feel lifeless. If your will is ignored, suppressed, or hidden, pain will arise.

Look closely at your own will. Is it frequently:

• Pushed around by the will of other people?
• Influenced by the opinions of others?
• Suppressed by your own feelings, such as depression, guilt, anger, or fear?
• Immobilized by inaction and lack of direction?
• Weakened by self-doubt?

Notice if you generally do what you wish, from the core of your being, because you have willed it, or does some other factor dominate? Do you mold yourself to the expectations of others? What happens when you tell yourself, “I can create my life exactly the way I want it, in all dimensions — body, work, family, relationships, community, and the larger world?” How does your inner voice respond?

Will Versus Willpower
Will is not to be confused with old-fashioned willpower. Stern, harsh, self-critical actions are not what we are talking about here. Willpower contains the heavy emotional burden of what you “should” be doing, instead of what you want to be doing. It is filled with “trying” and “hoping” to do things while having doubt and lack of intention and confidence.

The true function of will serves to provide direction, not to impose upon you. Will involves no threat or sense of guilt or punishment. Instead, will springs from within your core and contains life, excitement, and even passion. Obviously, moving forward in your life with will also requires effort and determination. It’s not easy to create change or set out in a new direction. Yet when your actions are born from free will, you move forward knowing that your efforts are important to you.

Will Strengthening Exercise
Activating will implies that you act from clarity of self, rather than impulse, desire, or habit. How can you strengthen will? By becoming aware of your choices! Instead of living your life on autopilot or by force of habit, become aware of your everyday actions and behaviors. There is an opportunity to strengthen will in each moment. Here are just a few ways of activating will in various situations throughout life:

• Try something new.
• Make a plan and then follow it.
• Do something extremely slowly.
• When facing a minor choice, choose without hesitation.
• Act out of character.
• Refrain from saying something you are tempted to say.
• Do something that makes you feel insecure.

Activating and strengthening your will is a conscious choice. It is also a courageous choice. Will requires that you take risks, do things that are different and often out of your realm of comfort. At times you may fail or others may judge you. But you can do it! You can strengthen your will, give yourself freedom, happiness, and live the life that is meaningful to you. It is only possible to be truly happy when you are first true to yourself!

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Annette Colby, RD can help you take the pain out of life, turn difficult emotions into joy, release stress, end emotional eating, and move beyond depression into an extraordinary life! Annette is the author of Your Highest Potential and has the unique ability to show you how to spark an amazing relationship with your life! Visit www.AnnetteColby.com to access hundreds of content filled articles and sign up for a Free subscription to Loving Miracles! newsletter.

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