On these page I’d like to examine aspects of life that tend to hinder us from living a full life. Choice is One of them, and every individual experiences most of them during a lifetime. But as with most things in this world, what we go through and what we feel aren’t necessarily the problem; how we react to our circumstances very often determines how we feel. Some people can lose a child in a car accident and get on with their lives, while others fall apart, break down, and lose their love of life. Some people find the failure of a business or project to be debilitating, while others see the same circumstances as a challenge to be worked through.
The way I see it, if you want the rainbow,
you gotta put up with the rain.
Of course, if we’re talking about choices as an obstacle to living life fully, then we’re talking about bad choices. How often have you regretted a choice that you’ve made because it’s turned out badly and you or someone else has suffered considerably as a consequence of a choice that you’ve made? How often have you seen friends or family members or other loved ones–or even total strangers, for that matter–make choices that you knew were going to be harmful to that person and to others, but they’ve gone ahead and made the choice, against all advice? It happens quite often, doesn’t it?
One of the biggest causes of friction between parents and their children is the fact that parents want to help their children make choices so that their kids won’t make the same mistakes that they did years earlier. Basically, though, in trying to help their children avoid pain and other consequences of bad choices, these parents are also robbing their children of the ability to make choices. They’re trying to control their children’s actions and have them act in the precise way that will allow them to avoid problems, and then they wonder why the kids feel uncomfortable with the control.
Once a choice is made, any other possible choices are moot. They can’t be made any longer, for the situation never will be the same. A similar selection of choices may present itself in a similar situation, but any choice we make causes change and turns the way things are into the way things were. Many people, though, spend a great deal of time and energy in regret, wishing that they had made a different choice somewhere along the line, wishing that they choose.
They don’t realize, though, that the only way to deal with any choices that we’ve made is acceptance. The choice has been made, now deal with the consequences–don’t regret the choice. Of course, if our choice was ill-advised or if it caused pain or anguish to yourself or others, we shouldn’t just shrug our shoulders and say “oh, well.” We need to learn from it, and we need to direct our energy towards dealing effectively with the consequences, and not direct our energy towards feeling bad or feeling sorry for ourselves.
We also can’t let one or two–or even ten or twenty–bad choices keep us from making choices in the future. Accept the fact that some choices have turned out badly, but learn from those choices and move on. The person who won’t enter into another relationship because of the person or persons who treated them badly before doesn’t realize that he or she made a choice to be with that other person, and that instead of sabotaging their future happiness, they should learn from the error and focus on choosing to be with people who will treat them better.
Don’t let yesterday’s choices hurt your today and your tomorrow. Don’t let your fear of choices prevent you from making effective ones. Accept that you will make mistakes, and make sure you’re ready to deal with any consequences of your choices or actions. We all face choices every day, and billions of people make billions of decisions every day, but billions of people also deal with consequences–and there are many wonderful consequences to choices–every moment.