Beggars Should Be Choosers: Finding Your Strenth Through Choice

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I was in my head the other day thinking about something that I wanted or needed and I suddenly heard my inner voice saying, “well you know Mary, beggars can’t be choosers.” The whole “tsk tsk shame on you for dreaming big” script. I’m sure I’ve said this to myself hundreds and hundreds of times but this time I felt that bristling inside of anger rising up. So I paused and I really tuned into that feeling because I’ve discovered over these recent years that when anger comes up like that it is because something that I’ve blindly accepted my whole life, is not actually true for me. It is my truth finally breaking free.

When this kind of anger comes to the surface, it’s quite amazing. It’s an awakening.

I started looking closely at what I just told myself, that “beggars can’t be choosers.” At the most basic level, looking literally at the saying, that the beggar on the street can’t have a choice. What the fuck? What on earth has he or she done to not deserve the basic right of choice? Of listening to his/her soul and being able to say yes or no, being able to follow a gut instinct or a simple spark of joy or dislike? Why does someone, in a better position, get to have the power to decide? When someone is in need of help, does that take away their right to decide for themself? What kind of bullshit is that?

This is played out all the time. I suddenly started seeing a swirl of all these moments in my life where I was supposed to just “take what I could get.” I can now see that the anger I now feel often tried to come up, but I pushed it down because I had joined in the shaming game. “I mean, gee, Mary, you sure are asking for a lot, who the hell do you think you are? You’re in a position to need help, so you just have to take what there is and be happy with it.”


Most recent examples would be things like the kids and I needing out of our house. The places I’ve been told about! Holy hell. The last one I looked at was so run-down, it was frightening. I was calmly explaining to the person who told me about it that I’d pass and started explaining the condition of the bathroom (a Hazmat suit would be required), and I could just see her pretty much throwing her hands up and saying, “Well, I give up then. You obviously don’t want help or to make changes.” Beggars can’t be choosers…..

If I try to explain that moving into some tiny hell-hole will sap the very last ounces of mental strength I have, that it will pull me and the kids the fuck down, I’m met with eye rolls. There’s Mary. She is really struggling yet she keeps turning her nose up at everything. It’s like she thinks she has the right to choose when she is obviously in no position to be picky.

The other one is work. Being on an island in Mexico, it’s tricky. It is only recently that I have a few free hours in my day while kids are at school, though even that is not consistent. I spend those few hours busting ass trying to get things going online. I swear to gerd that recently someone said, “Just get a job waitressing.” I explained that for giving up a full 8 to 10 hours of my day, I would get around 100 pesos. That’s about 5 dollars. How to get my kids looked after? No idea. And this guy was like, well, it’s better than nothing, it would at least be 5 dollars a day. As I tried to say that it would mean never seeing my kids, no longer having time to work on things online, and pretty much getting even more stuck, he was like, “You don’t get to be picking and choosing.”


I know in my heart and soul that taking a job that pays me pennies and sucks the last of my energy is absolutely not a solution. I know that moving into a tiny, rundown room is not a solution. Yet I have all this nagging guilt. I’ll question if I am acting like a prima donna who is too good for anything but now see that when I ask myself that, there is an anger rising within me.

What the fuck is this thing that if you are in a bad way, you no longer have options? Our strength, our sparks are found when we have choice. Taking choice away, going against our inner voice, and forcing ourselves to be happy with something that is withering our soul is not ok.

The mega A-HA then flew at me. My entire life, I was taught to settle. I was taught that what I wanted was wrong. Too weird, too much, too out there. I wasn’t supposed to want what I want it. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t allowed to want what I want. Gah! Every dream that came into my heart, whether for something trivial or huge, I soon enough judged along with everyone else. There were times when I pushed through anyway and did what I wanted. BUT, I did it half-assed. I held myself back because I was holding guilt and shame that I was doing something wrong.

So guess what a life of stifling your inner voice, of tut-tutting your heart’s desires does? It completely smashes your instinct. It’s a life of being told that blue is green and up is down and you no longer know what is your truth. But you do. That’s those amazing swells of anger. No wonder some anger feels so damn big and scary. It is! I certainly don’t blame myself for pushing that anger back down all these years. I had grown into an adult who had no clear inner voice to tell me when to stay, when to go, when to try harder, when to give up.

Kinda makes sense that never choosing for me, never listening to my soul, would lead me to a relationship with a narcissist. To being flat broke. No passions. No big dreams. No career. A whole lot of mess.

I had this really sweet experience a few months ago. A really dear woman from an online group offered to do a free breathwork session with me. I had no idea what that even meant, but jumped at it anyway. I didn’t have the big outburst of screaming or crying as many do. Instead, I had a visit from a dear friend that I had lost touch with: My intuition.

See, my journey over the 2 plus decades with “mister” has been one of isolation. All this time, I identified as being completely alone. During the breathwork, I so clearly went to the exact moment in time where I knew that I needed to walk away from him. Holy cow I saw every detail of the room, heard the sounds, smelled the smells.

Until this session, I would have never identified that there was a time that I knew. Yet, there I was, and I wasn’t alone. My instinct was there. It spoke so clearly and told me to leave. Instead of listening, I started reasoning. I started downplaying truths. I justified staying. I pshawaed my inner voice for being dramatic.

During the breathwork session, I saw it all so clearly. But there was no remorse, there was no shame or self-hatred. What turned up was a dear friend who had been at my side this whole time, silently walking with me. My intuition. Just like a true friend, it lovingly chuckled and said, “well, I told you so” in a way you can only do when there is true, unconditional love.

I guess I’m not alone after all. None of us are. No matter how much we have pushed aside our intuition, whether for days or decades, it stands with us like a true and loyal friend. Getting back to our truth, to our intuition starts with CHOICE. Repeat after me: I deserve to make choices based on what feels good, true, and right for ME.

I don’t care how bad things are for you, you deserve to honor yourself. And you do that through choice. Don’t you dare accept that you need to get to a certain level before you are allowed to be picky. When we talk about a wealthy person being picky about their food or clothing or whatever, it is like, yeah, that’s powerful. We say they are very “particular.” But when a poor person is picky about the same things, picky is suddenly a loaded word. It is full of judgment. “You don’t get to be picky.” Bullshit. We do not have to earn the right to honor and listen to our intuition.

Look back at your life. See times when you wanted to be “picky” but felt pressured to make do with something you knew in your heart wasn’t for you. A job, a move, a relationship, heck an item from the menu. How did that turn out? How much energy did you put into being happy for what you had and talking yourself out of dreaming about what you really wanted? Can you contrast that with times that you said “fuck it” and followed your heart?

When the world is telling you to just settle, it’s damn hard to listen to your inner voice. But there is nothing more empowering. It’s your path to growth. Your path full of unexpected sparks. It’s the path to your truth.

So don’t ever tell me that beggars can’t be choosers. That is exactly what they need to be.

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