You Decide

Vance Larson
3 min readSep 17, 2023


Choice. We really don’t understand how powerful we are. And because we don’t, we gravitate towards the negative in many situations. But in reality, we decide. We get to choose the narrative. We can focus on the dark side, or the light. It’s all a matter of perception. Me…I choose light. Let’s get into it.

I would never want to minimize what anyone is going though. And if there is one thing I have learned in providing 38 years of mental health work, it’s the value of shutting the fuck up. When someone is suffering, it is not for me, you or anyone else to tell someone how they should be feeling. Saying things like “It will get better”, or “I know how you feel” offers no real help. Saying things like “Is there anything I can do?”, or “I can’t even imagine what you are going though” validates their pain.

But let me redirect us back to our power. In those 38 years of mental health work, I have learned just how resilient we can be. Some us get stuck. Some of us get moving. And here is my take away from providing decades of crisis and first response work.

1. Those who focused on what they have instead of what they don’t, recover at a much faster pace.

2. While grieving takes time, those who made an effort to live, improved their quality of life substantially.

3. Those who had a community that would support, rather than try and trauma bond, seemed to walk out of the darkness quicker.

4. All who believed that life holds the possibility that it could get better, usually got better.

5. Those who did not minimize what they were dealing with, were the ones who sought out help. Thus, staying stuck or getting worse, usually did not happen.

6. Those who acknowledged their part {toxic behavior}, course corrected and bypassed landing in the same situation again.

If you have been following me for a number of years, you would know the tragedy that both my wife and I have had to endured. But you would also be hard pressed, to find anyone who is more laid back, in love with life, generous, and caring than my wife and I. {Not a flex.} We just understand this one fundamental truth. That just because life can be brutal, doesn’t mean we have to respond in kind. In fact, the harder life got, the more we leaned into each other and what remained. In other words, we decided to choose happy. Do we have bad times? Of course. We have cultivated the art of mediation, prayer and service. If we can’t help ourselves, at least we can help somebody else.

All I am saying is this. We can magnify the pain. Or we can magnify our purpose. And my purpose is love. I decide what to focus on. I love the saying, “We can quit or we can keep going. Both hurt.” Picking up what I am laying down? You have the power. You have a choice. You decide.



Vance Larson

I am a retired crisis counselor of 20 years. I share my experiences {both personal and professional} about thought provoking subjects. Follow me.