My very dear friend Michelle is one of the most positive people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. It would seem that she was always in a good and cheerful mood and always had something encouraging, something nice to say. The few times I have seen her upset, it lasted barely a few minutes before she went right back to being happy. I was awed by her.
She was a manager at a big fashion house. If her superiors, or subordinates or clients, and indeed anyone around her had a bad day, Michelle always tried to help them see the positive side of the situation.
Michelle’s attitude was truly amazing. And, there were countless times I wondered how she was able to do it. So one day I asked her: “How can you be so positive all the time?”.
Looking me in the eyes, she replied: “You see, every morning I tell myself, that I have two choices for the day – to be in a good mood or in a bad one. I choose the good one.
When I fail at something, I could beat myself up and give up or I could square my shoulder and try again. I choose to try again.
And when something goes wrong, I could be sad and angry or I could learn from it instead. I choose to learn.
When I fall, I could choose to stay there, wallow in self pity and find something or someone to blame for my fall or I could dust it off and rise. I choose to rise.
When someone hurts or disappoint me, I could choose to hate or I could choose to forgive and to continue to love that person, even if differently. I choose to forgive and to love.
This way, I always choose the positive side of life”.
When she finished, I sighed and said: “It is not that easy”.
And she gently replied: “Yes it is. Life is all about choices. You can choose how people or situations will affect your mood, your life. It is always your choice”.
One evening, at the end of the business day Michelle unknowingly left the shop’s back door open and was held up at gunpoint by five armed robbers. They demanded she opened the safe and as she tried to open it, her hands were shaking due to nervousness and she slipped off the combination. Due to its security settings, the safe got auto-locked. The robbers thought she did it intentionally, so four out of the five of them gang-raped her, and later shot her. Fortunately, someone found her and quickly called the ambulance and she was taken to the nearest hospital. After over 30 hours of surgery, more than 3 weeks in intensive care, and almost 4 months in the hospital, Michelle was released home.
When I sat down for a chat with her after she got back from the hospital, I asked what her thoughts were during the robbery. She answered, “I kept thinking that I should have locked the back door. When my clothes were ripped off me, I kept thinking the same thing. I should have locked that door. Then, when I laid on the floor, bleeding and feeling life drain out of me, I remembered that I still have a choice in this case: a choice to live and a choice to die. I chose to live. That was the last thought on my mind before I lost consciousness”
I asked if she were scared. She continued: “I regained consciousness as I was being wheeled into the operating room and as I looked at the faces of doctors, I got truly scared. Then, I knew, that I needed to do something. So, when the nurse asked me if I was allergic to anything, I replied “Yes”. The doctors and nurses stopped working, all heads turned towards me as they waited for my answer. I took a deep breath and yelled with what strength I had left, “Bullets!” The room was gravely silent, then they started laughing and I said, in a quiet and firm voice: “My choice is to live so, operate me as if I am alive, not dead, because I won’t die.”
Today Michelle is alive and well owing to a miracle as well as the wonderful works of her doctors, however her choice and amazing attitude played a far more important role in the whole thing. Her will to live. Her choice to live.
I have learnt from her, that every day we must choose to live fully no matter what. And even when I think that it’s mostly easier said than done, I remind myself of one of my Mum’s guiding principles, “Nobody promised you it’d be easy, but as you make the right choices daily, you’ll find that it will be worth it”