We make choices all the time, from whether we want tea or coffee, to what we will wear to work. Even what we’re having for dinner. Most of these are easy and quick. The choices can be obvious or not. Sometimes, we decide not to choose. We will simply stick our heads in the sand and resist making any choice at all. But I would argue this is, too, is a choice. This often comes down to a culmination of stress or an institutionalised situation where we’ve lived with something so long we’ve lost all hope of an alternative reality.
Ironically, it’s often when we need most new ideas and options that our creativity and ability to muster those options seem to desert us. That’s perfectly natural, but it’s also dangerous. Of course, when this happens it can be very easy to find other people who are more than willing to make the choice for you. In fact, you need to be vigilant, because other people may try to make your choices for you. This can happen even when you have a clear idea of what you want.
Here are my thoughts on the danger of giving up your choice.
Your Choice Is Yours Alone
“It takes courage to do what you want. Other people have a lot of plans for you. Nobody wants you to do what you want to do. They want you to go on their trip, but you can do what you want. I did. I went into the woods and read for five years.” – Joseph Campbell
If you don’t choose for yourself, someone else will choose for you. Beware of other people closing down your options or diminishing your possibilities before you have had time to fully explore them for yourself. Remember, other people’s advice is usually a reflection of what they would do (or not do) in the situation, often based on their past experience – not yours.
Their insight may not be what’s best for you. Of course, it’s always wise to seek advice and gather more information. As I mentioned in the previous post, it took a friend’s insight to help me make some important shifts in my own perspective.
That’s very different, however, from letting other people make your choices for you. Take what advice makes sense to you and gives you fresh ideas and leave the rest. Don’t tie any emotion or judgement to those opinions.
Above all, don’t get railroaded. Set your boundaries. We’ve discussed this before, but it bears repeating. Remember, this is your life. It’s up to you to set your own boundaries so others can’t manipulate you.
Hard choices are often so because we have to communicate those choices to those we care about, who may or may not understand the reasons. If you can help them understand, do so, but all that matters is that you understand your reasons. Your reasons are good enough.
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Are you ready to make your own choices? Need help setting boundaries? My latest book, Your Life Your Way, offers insights, tips and tactics that give you the tools you need to live your life, your way.
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