Making Better Choices…

We all make decisions we later regret. For many of us, myself included, this happens much more frequently than we like to admit.  In fact, I think we generally waste a lot of valuable time and effort NOT admitting our mistakes. Our culture supports, defends, even molds this behavior by holding up in our face, through media, advertising, etc., the concept that mistakes are bad, that indeed, idealistic perfection exists, and we can all have it if we all look just like the emaciated models, buy the right car, have the right job and friends, live in the right neighborhood. Most of us know that this is myth and marketing deception, but we get ourselves wrapped up in it to some degree anyway.


It is, in my opinion, when we can loosen our tight grip and angst for perfection, when we can start admitting our mistakes to ourselves and others, that we can then have the freedom to make better choices. Not only can we learn from our mistakes, we can clear out the emotional space to be more able to make more rational choices. When we are able to clear out shame, guilt and overburdened regret, then we have potential for self-forgiveness, acceptance and confident humility.


Now, you ask, “what about making those better choices?” The next step is believing in choice itself, that is, believing in the possibility of good choices with positive outcomes. I am not proponent of magical thinking, “just think it hard enough and it will come true,” as some current pop psychologies would suggest. This is a real set up for failure if not followed by thought out, responsible action.  But, as Norman Vincent Peale put it so well many years ago, there is a lot of power in positive thinking.


Giving credence to positive possibility in our lives opens the door enormously to making better choices. Are we going to continue to make mistakes? Absolutely. Embrace them, learn from them, use them wisely in the future. Short of mistakes, there going to be many hard decisions, not necessarily labeled good or bad, which, unfortunately, involve sacrifice, pain and/or loss. But so is there much greater chance for real, sustainable and substantive joy and peace when we are willing to believe in ourselves enough to take risks, that are not completely calculated, but also based on our faith, sense of values, a daring expectation for good to come from it and, always, the willingness to attach responsible action behind it.


Only you can ultimately determine the value of your choices in your life and how they impact the world around you. The awareness of having choice is fundamental to intentional change. 

Source by Susannne Slay-Westbrook

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