I chose to smoke cigarettes when I was in my twenties. For the next twenty-two years, I was a slave to them. Some days I smoked two packs. It was like setting money on fire. Not to mention the constant coughing, bad breath, horrible-smelling clothing, recurring bronchitis, and inability to walk up a flight of stairs without having to rest.
By the time I was in my early thirties, I was terrified of dying. Yet day after day, year after year, I continued to justify smoking. It was one way I chose to stuff my emotional pain. With each inhale, I sucked in more self-hatred, denial, and disappointment. Even though I detested being under the control of a tiny white tube of tobacco, my mind told me I was too weak-willed to quit. The fear and justification created by my mind, which had a stubborn and illogical mind of its own, halted even the slightest movement forward. I kept turning my gaze away from the truth of my situation.
Until one day, the truth hit my soul. I was not weak. I was strong for having survived all of the challenges and heartbreak life had thrown at me. I was just scared of what life would be like and who I would be without the emotional crutch I had used for more than two decades.
The game-changing, aha moment came when I honestly looked at the reason I was using cigarettes: to avoid opening up to loving and respecting myself. The truth was that no matter how painful life had been, continuing to hurt myself was even more painful and disappointing. And hurting myself would never get back at the people who had hurt me.
Isn’t God’s gift of the power to choose to be used with thoughtfulness for the consequences of our choices?
Overcoming our fearful ego that limits us requires effort, action to move us from a victim perspective to a victor’s. We love ourselves by exercising God’s gift of purposeful choice to create responsible lives. We acknowledge we are the ones in control of our actions. There is no outside influence that controls our behavior. The only demon we face in life is our selfish, victimized, unhealthy ego. And the unhealthy ego of other people.
Since we cannot control or change anyone but ourselves, we must rise above and win the battle over ego and behave with integrity from the soul we are. Because our soul is powerful to help us accomplish whatever we put our mind and heart to.
YES you can!