The Choice: The choice to accept or reject being subject to another persons will or opinions is one of the greatest single choices a human will make, often determining not only their own future, but that of those around them.
Often, when faced with the choice to accept or reject a position of subjugation or dominion, whether physical or psychological, the stakes could not be higher, and the recipient could not be more vulnerable.
It is self-evident that when we are subject to someone else, when we allow someone else to dictate the terms, boundaries and limits of our destiny and potential, it is usually to our loss and perhaps even to our harm.
Without doubt, there will always be those ready, willing and able to step into this role.
Regardless of circumstances, events or what appears to be the future, whether in our eyes or anyone else's eyes, we should never submit to external denigration, put-downs or lowering of our dignity.
No-one, anywhere should ever be ready or willing to allow this to happen.
Our Future: Everyone of us has our own future, unique, tailor-made and embodied in our DNA; yet so often we end up conforming, allowing ourselves to become what others think we should be; allowing our future to be compromised.
Nelson Mandela could have easily bowed to seemingly insurmountable pressure, and consented to being branded a loser, someone with no hope or future; yet he refused to submit or allow circumstances to dictate his future.
He remained focused on the future of his people and his nation; committed to a course of action that ultimately took him to the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa; he remained sweet and forgiving in his spirit no matter what happened, no matter what people said to him or did to him; he stood firm in the face of impossible odds.
So can we.
Yet, how often it is that people bow submissively to the words and opinions of critics, and perhaps worse, their peers, relegating them to obscurity; shackling their potential; and blinding them to their latent potential within.
How often and unfortunate it is that people look outwards to the opinions of others, instead of looking inwards and believing in themselves when it comes to making decisions about themselves and their future; seeking approval and not exercising initiative.
Perception can be Vastly Different to Reality: When it comes to our future we should understand that perception can be vastly different to reality; that our perspective and potential can be influenced negatively and seriously by allowing the critical opinions of others to rule over us.
Our future, our potential can be vulnerable,subject to and limited by our feelings.
Feelings are easily influenced and can be highly subject to our emotions, our various strengths and weaknesses; yet ultimately they are subject to their owner.
Our Feelings: Having damaged feelings is a little like falling though thin ice: it can take a herculean effort to get up on top again, all the while in a vulnerable state and subject to any external influence that comes along.
Of course, we should never become aloof or above listening to the wise counsel of others; becoming someone who doesn't listen; yet we should always weigh every negative opinion against what we know and believe about ourselves.
Critical to getting back to safety on top of the ice is the will to do so.
When faced with external, negative or threatening influences many people simply consent, and accept all that comes with them.
And stay in the water! Our Will, Our Future: Negativity will destroy our future if we allow it.
We can allow this to happen by overtly speaking, nodding or in some way giving approval to external influences; or unwillingly by an act of resignation, of feeling and indicating that 'all is lost, I can't help it, I can't influence the outcome, I have no choice, therefore I will accept the imposition.
I can't get back up on the ice!' Whether willingly, or unwillingly, if we submitwe stay in the water! Often, during these times of stress or duress where we are under pressure, whether physically or psychologically, the only thing between living or drowning is our will to survive.
Ultimately, regardless of what pressure is brought to bear, what influence is applied, even though resistance seems futile, our internal will is paramount.
No matter what the situation looks like on the outside, it's what our spirit on the inside sees that determines the outcome.
Remember Nelson Mandela.
Like Mandela, so it is with each of us; we do have the requisite strength to overcome the odds: if we believe in ourselves.
No-one can make us feel inferior without our consent; we fly or die according to our own will.
Author Neil Findlay