I have the option to choose to do what I want!
This is a juicy thought in our society.
I will at this point say that not exploring, considering, or reflecting is also a choice, even if it is unconscious.
When I first started to consider the possibility that I had a choice, I recall thinking how arrogant, selfish, and wrong this statement seemed to me. I grew up without many options, so to realise as an adult that I could decide my future was a foreign, scary, and confronting concept.
On reflection, my judgement wasn’t mine. Our judgements rarely are, until we take the time, effort, and compassion to consider our past—in order to create a different future. As I learned, I healed, and I considered a life that created passion, lit me up, and which I appreciate a lot more.
This year’s global experiences have tipped so many different ideas and perceptions on their side. Many people are questioning how fulfilling their life is. What has real meaning? And how much choice does one actually have? I think this is a good thing, for an un-reflected life is likely everyone else’s life lived through you.
What I mean by this is that until one examines their values, beliefs, and deep callings, we live from the ideals, rules, assumptions, and expectations handed to us in our early years, such as the need to fit in, be accepted, feel safe, and stay under the radar of abuse.
Yes, our childhood, schooling, family, and experiences unconsciously dictate our thoughts about ourselves and others—what we should and shouldn’t do in life, and our view of other people, groups, and social classes. Our interactions early in life drill these rules into us, or we absorb them over time.
“The minute you begin to do what you really want to do, it’s really a different kind of life.” ~ R. Buckminster Fuller
Awareness is always the first step toward any change, and in this case, moving toward what we would like to be doing instead.
This is my take on the topic.
Working through this exercise you might literally need permission from your adult self to play with the idea. Test it, ask yourself, “If responsibility wasn’t a barrier, what do I want to be doing?”
What ideas came up? What was the first impulse or thought behind it?
At a guess, the ideas included play or doing something pleasurable, either relaxing or stimulating. I am also going to guess the next thought was along the lines of, “I can’t do that, because I can’t do this, or I have to do that.”
If my guess is close, there is an opportunity to dive deeper into what you would like to be doing, and explore the limiting beliefs as to why you can’t, shouldn’t, or mustn’t.
I’m not suggesting you stop doing everything and live entirely for yourself, what I am suggesting is to explore your insights, and make changes as possible and practical by choice.
Only you can decide what is suitable for you, according to your life stage, responsibilities, circumstances, and character values. I am suggesting exploring the idea, the rationale behind it, and then consciously choosing a healthier way than knee jerk, unconscious doing. We take back and increase our power when we consciously choose a thought, action, and process.
How do we create such awareness though?
>> Work through the daily questions in an awareness and accountability journal.
>> Complete a wheel of life activity.
>> Journal or at least objectively daydream what your ideal day, week, or month would look, feel, and be like. Objectively, as in, permit yourself to dream mindfully without judgement or blocking thoughts—allow all ideas to be present.
>> Create a vision or dream board, and again, permit yourself to add anything. The things you add may happen, or they may not. This can be an exercise of brainstorming and idea building. Precise details of your life can be added later if you choose to become more specific.
>> Now that you have ideas, emotions and objections will arrive with them. You can explore the beliefs and rules that say why you can’t. Contemplate why you couldn’t, shouldn’t, or mustn’t do these things. Who said no? A parent, sibling, peer, friend, religion, school, workplace, or the government? Why did they say no? Their beliefs? The rules they were following at the time? Their fears?
>> What is important to you now? Are the no’s relevant to you now, at your stage of life, and the lifestyle you dream of creating?
>> Could you include some of your dreams if you permitted yourself, expanded your boundaries, tested your pleasure and comfort zone to match your choices, values, and the character you choose to become? What is the best and worst-case scenario of choosing?
This is the exact process I go through when I feel envy, or see something I think I might like to do—such as when challenged to travel to Europe, buy a house, go on a date, spoil myself, throw out “things,” or move away from people. Whenever I feel a tug stop me from doing, thinking, or feeling different, I ask myself why and why not? Sometimes, I am okay and agree with the caution. Other times, I will test the boundary and make a conscious choice from there.
Ultimately, the only wrong way to live life is to go against the universal and Godly laws. Everything else is a human judgement. Originally, most of the rules were to protect from human judgement, pain, inconvenience, and accidental misfortune.
As stated in the beginning, this article was one of exploration—there is no right or wrong answer.
The only people we are obligated to are ourselves and those we have committed to, yet, all of us can change. Remember, not to, is a decision in its own right, which is perfectly okay.
But, an unexplored life is potentially stifling.