Disclaimer: This post is about thoughts and emotions, and contains no hard information. The purpose is to help people to be happy and confident, think more clearly, and stop feeling ashamed. Unfortunately, it's likely that some people will have a different reaction and feel negative emotions such as shame when reading it. If you think that might happen to you, you may choose not to read it. These thought patterns are offered as suggestions and no statement about what people "should" do is intended. End of disclaimer.

When we talk in a way that acknowledges our responsibility for the choices we make, we take credit for our actions, and we feel more confident and free. When we talk in a way that makes it sound as if our circumstances are controlling our actions, we feel helpless and may make less effective choices.

To say "I decided to go to work and leave my baby because my principles are against going on welfare when I don't have to" is better than to say "I had to leave my baby and go to work."

To say "I decided to do without a car because I considered it very important to be with my baby" is better than to say "I had to give up the car because my baby needed me."

To say "We decided to use electricity and a telephone" is better than to say "we have to pay the bills".

To say "I decided to leave my baby and go to work in order to avoid a risk of severe financial deprivation for my family" is better than to say "I had to leave my baby and go to work."

To say "I decided not to breastfeed to make sure my baby wouldn't be hurt by the drugs I decided to take" is better than to say "I can't breastfeed".

To say "I decided to give my baby some formula" is better than to say "I can't breastfeed".

To say "I chose to spend almost my whole day paying attention to and nursing my baby because my baby is so much happier that way" is better than to say "I never have any free time".

To say "I decided to arrange an hour away from my baby because I felt a strong need for it" is better than to say "I had to get away."