While fixing my morning coffee on my family trip (the details of which, out of courtesy to their privacy, will remain between just us) our wonderful host observed I was about to pour whole milk into my cup. "Oh you prefer soy!", he said, "Hold on let me grab it..."
"No, no!" I insisted, "this milk is totally fine."
"You're allowed to have choices in life, you know." he replied.
Yea, I guess I am, aren't I?
And with that one simple comment I realized that I have, as of late, been slightly living my life in a way that reflects an insecurity driven desire to be agreeable. In an effort not to "rock the boat" I've eaten meat at meals when I really don't wish to be eating it (and have thus suffered the consequences via my sensitive tummy), I've asked permission to perform tasks I am perfectly capable of completing without approval and I haven't truly spoken up in certain relationships where I feel I need to speak my truth out of fear of "pushing them away". Yikes, this is no bueno.
Sometimes the reality of how beautiful and blessed my life is causes me to feel oddly guilty. Do you ever feel that way, too? I get hit with a line of thinking that asks why should I have so much when others have so little? Wouldn't it be more fair if I always just settled for what comes my way and be grateful for it, never pushing the boundaries?
But the truth is, I do deserve good things and I am wholly allowed to have choices. We all deserve those things and we all have the power to make choices that are right for us. I've said it here before: the #1 regret of the dying is, in summary, not living a life that was true to them. Having choices and exercising our abilities to make them is a big part of ensuring we leave this planet without the regret of feeling like we lost ourselves along the way. (side note: a lose-yourself detour can be a huge break through and adventure --but I'd always hope authenticity returned with fresh breath afterward). I think it's admirable for people to practice the art of compromise and to always be grateful for what they have (expressing gratitude for what is always strengthens the potential for what will be), but I also think it is not particularly healthy to give up having the gift of choices simply to be agreeable. No one truly wins that way.
So, if you prefer to take your coffee with soy milk instead of dairy, that's a totally A-OK choice to make--you don't have to feel badly for having preferences or accepting someone's offer to help you exercise them. Wouldn't you want your friends, family or guests to be genuinely happy with their choices? If we feel uncomfortable vocalizing our preferences in small moments like the one on my vacation, then we're going to have a heck of a time vocalizing our authentic desires in the bigger, heavier, this-really-makes-a-difference-in-my-life ones.
Choose what's right for you. Receive. Embrace. Say thank you and yes please....then enjoy your coffee exactly the way you like it :)