Do you ever stop and think about the number of choices you make every single day? From the moment you open your eyes, you are choosing to do or not do something. How good are the choices you make? Do you ever stop to evaluate them? Are they good, bad, or neutral? Further, when you make a bad or neutral choice, does it register differently with you than when you make a good one? Do you take your good choices for granted? How about your bad and neutral ones? We don’t always pay attention to our choices, because many of those that we make are habitual.
Habitual choices are those that have become automatic. I don’t consciously choose to feed the cat while my coffee is brewing. It is something I do every morning without thinking about it. I leave my keys in the same place every time so I don’t have to think about where to leave my keys. No thought involved, but with both of these examples, a choice was made.
Then there are choices made around the initial choice. If I want to have coffee, how many cups do I want this morning? Do I want my usual Folgers or do I want one of Peet’s varieties? These kinds of choices define the area around that initial determination of having coffee or going out to lunch. In geometry, the initial choice to go out, for example, would be a single point on the page. The rest of the choices supporting that initial decision — what kind of food, etc. — define the area around it: length times width = area.
Then there are the choices that define the volume (length times width times depth) of our lives in which all of those things happen. These are the fundamental choices that we make about ourselves, our beliefs, our emotions, other people, our relationships, our work, how we see rest of the world. They shape and mold, and in many cases twist and distort, the choices we make on a daily basis. They not only affect the individual ones that define a singular point in space and time, but all the others we make around those individual choices. Here are some examples of the kinds of foundational choices we might make, and keep in mind that sometimes we make a number of fundamental decisions that come to define who we are and how we live our lives:
I am good enough. I am not good enough. I can forgive myself. I am unforgivable. I can trust myself. I can’t trust myself. I seek to be understanding of others. I only try to understand people who try to understand me first. Love heals. Love hurts. I can easily create successes. I have to struggle with everything. I can handle it when challenges arise. I have to control everything so there are no surprises. I can handle my feelings. I avoid my feelings. I am responsible for my life, the good and the bad. I get to blame everybody else for anything bad in my life. I get to decide what matters in my life. I let other people tell me what matters in life. People are basically good. People are selfish and rotten. The world is a friendly place.
The world is a scary place.
All the many choices contained within the volume of that cube of choice are defined by these fundamental decisions.
It is always a good idea to review the choices we make — both the simple, point-in-time ones and those we make around them that make them happen. It’s also a good idea to evaluate and review the environment, the structure of our own direction and design, that we have created for ourselves by the big choices, the foundational choices we make about ourselves and our lives.
Do you make good or bad choices? Do you practice making them? Do you think about their potential impacts and outcomes? Do you look at the really big foundational choices that don’t often come up for review? As you review and revise the big, fundamental choices you make, the single point-in-time choices you make will change. And as those choices change, the choices that you make around those single choices will change. And as all of those choices change, your life will change. Change for the better.
Living Skills offers positive psychology counseling, spiritual counseling and life coaching services in Atlanta focused on, but not exclusively for, the LGBTQ community. Sessions are available via Skype. Learn more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.