In the past few blogs, I’ve talked about different aspects of making decisions and choosing among different options available to us. Now, let’s explore some of the ways we can make our choices powerful, or power filled. How do we make a choice from a position of power, taking an affirmative step forward, rather than from a sense of obligation or from a feeling of being helpless?
Have you ever had to make a decision among your options and you just couldn’t choose? Have you agonized over your options, finally making a decision and then spent more fretful hours second-guessing yourself? Have you ever made a choice that seemed like a no-brainer and then you got unexpected and unpleasant results? I think most of us have experienced some, if not all, of these aspects of making choices. And this is by no means the universe of all possible experiences we can have with making decisions or choosing among our options. I’ll spend some time in this blog exploring different ways we might go about making choices, but here’s the spoiler alert. No matter what we choose, we can’t get it wrong! Keep reading to find out why I can make that bold statement.
What happens when we are faced with a choice of doing something we know would be in our best interests, but making that choice would take us out of our comfort zone, out of our current ‘normal’ pattern? We can be talking about procrastination, eating habits, aggressive driving or anything that we want to change. We are such creatures of habit! When we try to do something new, it seems like our old habits fight for their very existence. We avoid the unknown, choosing the safety of our experience. So how do we ever create new habits? What does it take to step out into the unknown and make a different choice? Even the fact that we believe in our minds that the new behavior is going to be good for us and will make our lives better and happier doesn’t seem to be enough to move us forward.
How many times in my life have I said that? How many times in my life have I felt that way – locked into a situation, seeing no options, feeling obligated to continue on with something that was draining the life out of me! Those were the times of my life when I felt helpless, hopeless, and depressed. For me, feeling like I had no choice was a sure path to depression. The only way out was to find something, one single thing, that I had a choice about. Eventually, I built up a habit of looking for my choices in any situation and every circumstance. It took lots of practice, lots of starting over again from scratch, but it has been worth the effort. The feeling of seeing a tiny a bit of relief now and then grew into a positive outlook and feelings of joy most of the time. Naturally, I have my ‘down’ days now and then. But not nearly as often and I don’t go as far ‘down’ as I did in the past.
The past few articles have talked about choice from several different aspects. Now I want to talk about forming the habit of choosing joy in everything we do. And I want us to specifically avoid talking about diet and exercise choices at first. Let’s talk about choices we make in our everyday lives that make us happy.
It’s fairly self-evident that there are consequences to each and every choice we make. We are aware that if we choose to change jobs, that would be a big choice, and the resulting changes would be very noticeable.
In addition to expanding our awareness of how many choices are available to us, we want to expand our ability to be less judgmental about the choices we make. Here again, we tend to have a black and white, good or bad, default thinking about the choices we make.
The next several blogs are going to be about choice. Much of my background in learning to make conscious choices came from the book, “Illusions” by Richard Bach. The basic premise is that when we make a thoughtful, conscious choice that we can give a 100% ‘yes’ to, there are no right or wrong choices, no good or bad choices. Each choice we make has consequences and based on our experience of those consequences we may make the same or a different choice the next time, but we always learn and grow.
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