We tend to think of the choices we’ve made as either-or. Yes or no. Good or bad. I prefer to think of them in a different way: necessary.
That’s right. Every single choice we have ever made in our lives was a necessary one. Necessary does not mean good or bad. It does not mean positive or negative. And it does not remove your responsibility for making any of those choices.
But I believe that “responsibility” is what occurs on the other side of choices. Being responsible means working to learn about choices. Understanding why we made the choices we did and figuring out how to live with them. This is how we improve our choices and learn to make better choices next time.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Why We Make the Choices We Do… and Why They Should Be Respected
My job in helping you learn about choices is to get you to see how instinctual unconscious survival drives much of our life path. In other words, we make desperate, unconscious choices to withstand the dysfunctions and limitations of our childhoods or life stories. To preserve the dignity of our “selfhood” at the time. We make them out of life-saving necessity.
And because of this, I work hard to show people that they should not only respect those choices, but see how absolutely brilliant they were at that time in their development. The decisions were effortless — they were almost made for us by biological instincts and the impetus to live and persist. It’s truly miraculous how quickly and ably we move toward survival.
The Limitations of Instinct
Many of those instinctual choices pushed us into hiding. We entered secret caves and used brush to cover ourselves. We cowered to fit into these protective places — we couldn’t help it — and some of us found mud and rocks to fling back at the injustices fired at us.
Those choices saved us, but they also caused us suffering. They compromised our capacity to be free and live authentically.
Because of this, after we learn to rejoice about the efforts we made to save our own lives with those choices, the next step is to grieve their limitations. And learn how to recover ourselves and make even better decisions going forward.