We, people, value our independence. We like to feel free to move, think and behave and we like to feel free to make choices. There are however some basic facts about our nature which are little contemplated, yet quite essential to our wellbeing.
One of the most important is that we do not get to make all the choices in life. In fact, the concept of choice is another illusion created by the world around us.
Humans are not asked for permission to come to life, they just happen to be. Life is a given that can be seen both in positive and negative light, and most people will go through stages that will make their life experience both extraordinary and horrible.
My work with clients showed me that the significance of not having a say in coming to life, in what time, place, and in what specific package can be much deeper than we think. It comes to show that we do not appreciate sometimes how hard it can be to come to terms with those aspects of our lives that cannot be changed.
Most our choices are partial or restricted
What continues to add to the pressure is that the significant choices we’ve been deprived of at birth are not the only ones. As we go through life many choices are imposed on us by our parents or caregivers, teachers and the school, bosses and colleagues in work, husbands, wives and children in our own family, friends, neighbours in the communities, institutions of the modern world, etc. To make it worse, even the choices we have left are partial or restricted.
We can choose what to eat, drink, wear, travel, etc., but only from what is available and according to our budget, and most times the choices stand rather with those making the products or services available to us. In order to get a partner, sometimes even friends, we have to be chosen by them also. We might be able to choose what to study, but most likely the universities will have to choose us also, and when we choose a job we have to be chosen by the employer as well.
What is the relevance of all these? Well, we have already a long chain of potential rejections to deal with. And this says it all. Rejections have a significant impact on our wellbeing.
The lack of real life choices can be unsettling
I can recall many stories shared by my clients that went through a lot of distress because of the lack of choice. To buy or rent a house or a car it was always based on their financial potential so choices were limited to their income level, which again they could not fully choose. Holidays were also limited in number and standard by the savings available, and the quality of travel, lodging, food and entertainment has been a choice already made for them by the provider of the service.
This is the case in most aspects of our life, including civic affairs and politics, where our choices can be biased or manipulated by others and might mean either too little or a lot in the great scheme of things.
To realise that the array of choices we have in life is limited brings desolation in our life. This process can shed some light on our frustration and unsettling feelings we have to face, but it also allows us appreciation for the choices we can really make.
Let your dreams be your future
I am sure you can think of at least one time when you wanted to make a choice, but that was limited or restricted so what you wanted to gain from your choice came out partially or unsatisfactory. You must remember how that made you feel. Maybe you embraced awareness, understood your circumstances and connected with your feelings, or perhaps you blocked those feelings and buried them deep inside. You can always go back to those events and grieve your loses. And you can choose to grow acceptance of the things that cannot be changed in your life and focus your attention on what can actually be changed.
You might have been deprived from important choices in your life, but you have one of the most important choice available to you. You can choose what to think and how to behave and you can make a conscious choice to be who you want to be in your life. You can choose to live your life the way you want, maybe more at peace and in harmony with yourselves, others and the universe around you, maybe in a different place or in a different company, or perhaps doing other things and putting your attention into what interests you and what brings you joy. Whatever can be changed, trust yourselves and do it. Make the first step and start planning that change, believe in your dreams, follow them and let them be your future.