What do we mean by Choice?

How much Choice do you believe you have in your life?

How often do you exercise your right to Choose?

You arrived on this earth as an individual.

You will depart this earth as an individual,

For everything in between, whether you realize it or not, whether you believe it or not – you have a Choice – I am certain of this!

Choice is the foundation for the happy, healthy, wealthy, successful fulfilling & rewarding life that you would chose for yourself- or not – depending on how and if you choose.

If I were to ask you to consider the word CHOICE and what it means to you, (please think about it for a moment), how will you answer?

You may say something along the lines of; ‘It means having a number of options available to me‘ or choice is the ‘ability to decide on a preference’.

Regardless of whether you are in a relationship or not, whether you have a family or not, when you first consider a question of choice, the first thought tends to be about you as an individual and your own preferences; and it should be because that’s the question being asked; ‘what does choice mean to YOU‘ – ‘Choice refers to MY preferences as an individual‘, the things ‘I’ choose for me – ‘what I like’ based on my opinions, whereas the ‘What is your choice’; what do you prefer, consideration for others comes later on.

To give you an example of this; my husband Andy and I went shopping for a new microwave recently. The shelf at our chosen electrical store was choc-a-block with options in a variety of colour’s, shapes and sizes, from simple ovens to new age ‘fandango’s that neither of us would know how to switch on, let alone know how to use.

As the two of us scoured the aisle with our empty trolley, mentally ticking and crossing off our preferences, we eventually decided on two options, dismissing as we went.

I like to say – luckily, (although it has absolutely nothing to do with luck), that Andy and I are very similar in nature, we like the same things, we think alike. It was no coincidence that when we had eliminated the ovens we didn’t like, our shortlists contained the same two remaining options.

When I had done my choosing and pointed with; ‘I like this one and I like this one‘ as though auditioning for a low cost supermarket advert, the response from Andy was ‘great!,so do I’! Although, we had reached our decisions as individuals in very different ways.

We hadn’t discussed Microwave options prior to going shopping – one of us had said ‘We could do with a new Microwave, and the other had agreed, which is how it usually works in our house. On arrival at the electrical store, Andy’s list of priorities appeared to be; Ease of Use, Power Outage, Size, Cost & Value for money, Colour, Ease of Cleaning; I know this to be correct because I asked him while I was writing this blog entry.

My list of priorities on the other hand were; Colour first and foremost, (ensuring the colour matches the other kitchen appliances), Ease of Cleaning, Size – will it fit where I want it to go, Cost & Value for Money, and finally – Ease of Use.

Although we managed to reach the same conclusions in the end naturally with little or no debate, our preferences in order of ‘what is important to me in making this choice’, were really quite different. We are similar in nature, neither of us so fixed in our opinions on microwaves that we would care to argue if the other insisted on a particular one – which I am grateful for everyday – (can you imagine if Andy had insisted on a lime green one! – this would be a very different story!)

I am grateful because I have encountered relationships where ‘Choice’ never really moved on from that initial ‘About Me‘ thought, but remained entirely one sided, every time, on every decision for the duration of the relationship. It is never a pleasant experience; having your choices over-ridden, dismissed or disregarded by another – but it happens because of a choice that you made! It happens because you are choosing to accept it and it will continue for as long as you choose to accept it.

It is important to recognise this if you want to alter the outcome and live a better quality of life. Your Choices, Your opinions, what you think and feel, matters, even when its something as mundane as choosing a microwave!

After lots of moaning and feeling sorry for myself whilst living this one sided, over-ridden, less than happy version of my own life, I eventually came to realise that these kind of unhappy/unhealthy, one-sided relationships; which I once believed I had absolutely no choice or control over, without exception had been ‘chosen’ by me.

While I hadn’t chosen the partner in the relationship, – on every occasion, they had approached me, I had chosen not to question that, going along with their choices; as if I was so grateful to be chosen and what I thought or felt wasn’t important which I recognise now on reflection to be a lack of self worth.

I could have said, no – I could have said, ‘we think very differently, we want, like, believe, behave – differently or ‘we want very different microwaves’ – I hadn’t said that, essentially, I had gone along with someone else’s choice without questioning beyond that and as a result I had ‘chosen’ to accept all of the consequences that came along with that choice.

Basically, I had chosen not to choose.

It is a fact, that you get what you are willing to accept in life and by default, that is the choice that you are making.

If you ‘choose’ to go along with someone else’s choices without question, whether that’s because you feel obligated, or because you are worried that person will no longer like you if you dare to refuse, because you are afraid of being alone, or lonely, because you believe it may improve your financial situation, because you are a ‘people-pleaser’ or some other reason entirely – then you are making a choice and you will live a life that reflects that choice. There is no secret to it, no mystery – you live by the choices you make or accept.

Despite going along with the choice, you may very quickly feel unhappy with it, initially moaning about certain aspects of it to those closest to you, feeling put on, used, disrespected – a whole range of negative emotions as a result. It will undoubtedly begin to wear you down, until eventually, when the consequences of that choice become unbearable, as it did in my case – you will say ‘enough is enough’ and you will make the choice to move on from it – instantly feeling relief that you no longer have to suffer the consequences of that choice – whatever those consequences may have been.

This process is relevant in every aspect of your life; your relationships, in your job, with your health, money, its your life – your choice – if you don’t like it, choose to do something differently or live the consequences of your choices forever.

If you are fortunate, you will come to realize by process of elimination that you do not like being treated badly, being over-ridden, dismissed, ignored, let down, beaten, abused, depressed, lonely, skint, unhappy, exhausted, undervalued,; whatever consequences your life choices have led you to – and you will begin to choose differently for yourself – and there in lies the answer –YOU, WILL CHOOSE for YOURSELF, just as I chose to marry my husband and he chose to marry me, and together we chose the Microwave for the new home that we chose together.

We may not always connect the negative areas of our life as being due to our own ‘choice’ or lack of it. We convince ourselves that we didn’t have a choice, that the situation was beyond our control. We let ourselves it’s just the cards that life had dealt us. Then we justify our actions with sentences like; ‘you know me, ‘Anything for a quiet life’ or with the ‘whatever you say’ whatever pleases you and keeps you happy/calm/not angry option’.

If you want to see positive change in your life, you first need to accept that making ‘no choice’ is still a choice that you are making and you can always CHOOSE to choose differently.

This is your life. You have a choice. Choose carefully, and most importantly, choose intentionally.

If you would like support in learning how to assert your choices or in making different choices for yourself. Choose to get in-touch!