Freedom of Choice vs Decisions
An attribute supposedly given only to Man and no other species, is the freedom to exercise free choice over whatever we want to do in and with our life.
Free choice and making decisions are terms generally used interchangeably to pretty much mean the same. Making a decision is therefore considered as exercising free choice and vice versa. For example deciding:
what clothes we wear
job or career we decide to pursue
who we marry or get into a relationship with
what we eat
whether we chose to smoke, drink, take drugs
which political party or religious philosophy we follow
what car we drive
whether or not we join the armed forces, go to war
… and so on.
One of my realisations from my life-changing moment experience was that there is a fundamental difference between exercising true freedom of choice versus making decisions. The difference is life-changing.
Consider for example your reasons to:
be in a relationship
to choose the partner you are with - are they your absolute ideal partner?
stay in any unhappy relationship in spite of feeling you wanting to leave
follow the career or job you are doing – are you doing what you truly want; are you following your heart’s true desires? (are you perhaps trying to please your parents?; was your motivating consideration to make money, be successful?)
stay in a job/company you disliked
have your first cigarette, drink, use drugs
compromise yourself out of fear of being rejected, not unloved, not being acceptable –fears of possible consequences
have sex when you would rather not – fear of not being loved, being a lousy partner
give up on your childhood dreams
not tell the truth (tell it as it is) for fear of the possible consequences
always have to be in control for fear of being a failure, not wanting to show vulnerability
… and many other things you do or don’t do in your life.
In most cases it will be found that what really drives us in such situations are our emotional needs for acceptance, recognition, fears of being not good enough, to be part of, need to be loved, etc. These emotional needs trigger our fears of the possible consequences we might be confronted with - rejection, failure, non-acceptance, not being part of, not loved – if we were to do what we truly felt and wanted by exercising our freedom of choice; to be true to ourselves. To satisfy our fears of possible consequences, we forego exercising freedom of choice by making a decision driven by our emotional needs and fear of possible consequences.
The chart below shows the steps we follow in deciding what we need to do in a given event and situation:
For example; It is your partner's birthday. You don’t particularly want to do anything special. In your mind however you think that you had better do something special otherwise you will likely be accused of not loving them, not caring, not being interested or whatever. Thoughts that trigger your feelings, emotions and belief of being not good enough - that would reinforce your MOULD. To avoid experiencing such feelings, you decide to take the line of least consequences and resistance and you decide to do something – you have just compromised yourself; you go into automatic re-active mode and give up on exercising your freedom of choice. By this you automatically make yourself a victim of your circumstances.
In this context, being a victim of circumstances does not apply only to the negative definition of victim. This applies to any situation where we make our well-being, our OK'ness, dependent upon the circumstances - whether these be good or bad, negative or positive. For example, in situations when our expectations are met - our partner remembers our birthday, we get a salary increase, we have money, etc. life is just great; everything is great. What we are experiencing is being pleasantly in effect. Conversely, when our expectations are not met, life sucks. What we are experiencing is being un-pleasantly in effect.
The fact of the matter is that in both situations our well being is affected by and dependent on circumstances thereby rendering us a victim. Of the two situations, being pleasantly in effect poses the greatest trap for us regarding exercising free choice. The reason being that unlike the state of being pleasantly in effect, when we are un-pleasantly in effect and feel terrible about things we will want to do something about it. When we feel great and are pleasantly in effect, we believe it is the result of having exercised freedom of choice. And because things are great, we have no reason to consider whether or not our well-being is circumstantial. Furthermore, when pleasantly in effect, our focus and objective is to maintain our status quo, ensure we do not lose any of it, we instead may even want to have more. Yet this is when we aught to concern ourselves more about whether or not we are truly exercising free choice and being who we truly are.
Whether we are living as a victim either pleasantly or unpleasantly in effect, we live with the fear of the possible consequences - fear of losing what I have, or, fear of not having because I am not good enough. In both cases we end up not being aligned with who we truly are – our true Inner Self.
To align with our true Inner Self, our Thinking, Gut Feel (what we really want to do) and what we actually Do need to be in total “alignment” with one another, in total congruence with each other
(our) THINKING = (our) GUT FEEL (‘I’) = (our) DOING
Living our life at this level of congruence means we be in in total integrity with who and/or what we are; we manifest our true Self.
Living in total integrity will result in you living liking what you do and experience complete freedom, inner peace and contentment regardless of circumstances. The moment you give up on this integrity because of any fears and emotional needs triggered by your MOULD, you compromise on who you are. When you compromise you have no option but to make decisions out of your fears and live as a victim of your circumstances.
The greatest responsibility we can take for our life is to commit ourselves to exercise freedom of choice to be in Integrity with who and what we are and be the source of our state of being and life experiences.
FREEDOM OF CHOICE => INTEGRITY => INNER PEACE & CONTENTMENT
(I)NTEGRITY = INNER SELF : the " I " that I am