Everything in our lives is a choice. We choose words, actions, experiences, and relationships. Every moment of everyday is a series of small and large choices. There are three potential reasons why we make our choices in life.
1. Fear of repercussions- Society is chock full of guidelines, rules and associated repercussion at all levels. We are conditioned to adhere blindly to these when making choices at the cost of knowing and trusting our own inner guide for fear of the repercussions.
2. Desire for acceptance & love- Many choices are based in a desire for acceptance by others, someone in particular, a group, community, organization or society as a whole. Again at the cost of considering and turning to your inner self for guidance.
3. Intuitive knowing and guidance by your inner self- Only you know the right choice for you at any given moment during your constant evolutionary process of life. We all have the natural ability to love and trust ourselves and turn to our inner selves for guidance in life, we are just conditioned not to use it and have become out of practice.
For the most part, we are all conditioned and taught to automatically (subconsciously) make choices based on the first two reasons. Think about how heavily both sides of this coin are ingrained into us in every aspect of life from birth on. We are never taught about the self-love and self-acceptance that allows us the freedom to trust our own inner knowing. It’s just not taught and there are very few role models from which to learn it. In fact the opposite is true. Most of our experiences (especially during childhood when our behavioral patterns are being formed) reinforce the first and second choice making mindsets within us. And so we spend much of our lives giving up our inherent emotional/spiritual power and living in fear of punishment and a fear of not being loved and accepted should we follow our own true inner voice.
What does intuitive knowing and guidance look like?
In its ideal form you love and trust yourself. You look inward for split second guidance to make choices. Through the long evolutionary experience of life you will make choices that resonate positively with your inner self and those that do not. Because you love yourself you are able to access and adjust accordingly based on wherever and whoever you are at that particular moment in your life. Without labeling yourself and suppressing and internalizing fear and shame, you recognize an internally based desire to make a varying choice next time and move freely on to the next moment with this new self-directed insight. The concept of learning lessons from life is a valid but the notion of carrying it around like baggage for the rest of your life is weighing us down. The idea of learning lessons based on others or societies expectations of us at that very moment is dysfunctional. When you know and love yourself and are comfortable trusting your inner voice you are more able to accept that some choices did not serve you well without punishing or judging yourself. You are able to move on without that emotional burden and keep moving in the natural flow of your life.
The right thing is different for everyone, every day.
We are each unique and always evolving. The saying “you never step in the same river twice” is profoundly true. What you find to intuitively be the right choice for who you are at any given time will change. So again, you are not self-labeling. The long series of choices in your life do not become “who you are” they were simply made by whoever you were at the time that you made them. Your self- loving, self-trusting self is moving onward and always in the flow of the now without carrying shame. Since we experience and recognize this within ourselves we also become able to respect the same process going on for others. You might not have made the choice that someone else made but if they have truly made it based on reason #3 (again this is ideal, keep reading and you’ll see where I am going with this) you respect their choice and the importance that plays in their own evolutionary process, still holding them in high regard with love and respect.
I know what you’re going to say…
But Kristen, what about the heinous and stupid crap that people do to each other every day? How can you keep people from doing that if you don’t threaten them with repercussions or reward them with love and acceptance? I would say that we have cultivated this in individuals with the very system of teaching people to use reasons 1 & 2 to make decisions rather than teaching them the fundamentals of life such as self- love, intuition and knowing and trusting their inner selves. If everyone were fundamentally taught to love and trust themselves, to look inward and trust their own intuitive inner knowing to guide their choices in life we wouldn’t have all of the systemic issues in our society that foster the development of these behavioral patterns in the first place.
Wait! There is one more thing.
I know what else you’re probably thinking. “Great idea Kristen, I can see it, but it’s too late, our society is too much of a mess for this, what good is going to do if I start living and interacting with others based on this concept, society as whole would collapse if we got rid of behavioral motivators 1 & 2.” Well here is the thing (and I’d like to thank someone whom I think is awesome, for putting this reminder on my chalkboard wall) “be the change you wish to see in the world”! Live by example, teach the children, pebbles on the pile. By having the experience yourself of consciously making decisions based on the third reason/process, you will be forever changed. After a while the process will become subconscious and more automatic and you will find that it changes the way you perceive things. Others will learn by example which is exactly how we all ended up learning to adopt the decision making behavioral patterns of 1 & 2 in the first place.