I'm not talking about choices that include guns, knives or drugs either. I'm talking about simple choices, like taking a walk. Maybe riding a bike. Choosing to take one road as opposed to another on your way to work. Deciding you have the time to squeeze in one last errand. Though we never think much beyond the fact that we're making a choice out of pure convenience, that choice still has gravity. Sadly, humans have a way of taking things like gravity for granted....
If we take the very thing that prevents us from floating off into the endless chasm of space for granted, what else are we not appreciating? The list is as infinite as the possibilities that come from making a single choice.
The thought that a single choice can change everything is practically paralyzing. How do you move after learning that lesson? Think? Breathe???
You don't. You feel stuck. You feel pain. You feel frustrated. And then, after enough time passes, you feel nothing.
Have you ever felt it? Nothingness? It's beyond frightening. Because, when you feel nothing, nothing matters. Not even you.
One choice can make all the difference. But, despite the enormity of what may come from that single choice, you still have to make it. By the way, not making a choice is also a choice. It communicates fear and insecurity. You see, you're not afraid to change your life, you're afraid to take responsibility for the change that inevitably follows every and any choice you make. You believe that if your choices are dictated by circumstances, and not you, that it somehow absolves you of your responsibility. But, it doesn't. Choosing to be reactive instead of proactive is also choosing to push the responsibility of your own decisions onto others. Something to remember when faced with those who make unilateral decisions or abrupt changes. When an individual chooses to see problems instead of solutions, uses judgment instead of compassion, or cruelty instead of kindness, that individual is reactive--or, toxic.
Fear is always at the root of toxicity, or the negatives that form obstacles to forward momentum. Mindfulness is the only way to combat fear...however, when you are afraid, it's easy to lose your balance. This is something I physically have to deal with every time I take a step. Despite multiple forms of equipment to help me walk, when a sudden change in the environment occurs, it distracts my focus. When that happens, I'm less balanced. Literally. And, when I feel unbalanced, fear of falling kicks in. It's one of the fears we are all born with. The only way for me to regain my focus--my balance--is if I look at the ground in front of me. Be in the present moment. Not worry about what is happening to my left or right...just see the next one or two steps ahead. Even when I walk with my 6'4" angel--a wall of a man--fear can creep up. Until I remember I have my own set of wings, then, I practically fly...it's the same for each of you, too.
You may choose to take one road over another, and end up regretting it. That's just part of living physical life. But you can stop regret dead in its tracks by living with deliberation. In other words, making honest, ethical choices and sticking to them. You honor yourself and those you care about when you do. Committing to any choice--no matter the outcome--feels good. Because, commitment means you believe in yourself. It means you have faith. We all need faith--or, purpose--to move forward.
Choices tend to go awry when we question ourselves, or, lose faith in our purpose. If you can't even stick up for yourself and your decisions, nothing you do will ever work out. Nothing will ever make you happy either. Yes, there is implied risk in every choice we make. But committing to that choice, that decision??? That's living.
Making a choice and acting on it is part of adult life. Changing your mind about your own decisions is something only the inexperienced do. Or, children. Those who are mentally unstable are also prone to making abrupt change. As an adult, you may change your mind about any number of things, but in general terms, you only commit to those choices you are sure of. It still does not mean that the outcome of a given decision will be what you expect. No matter what happens, you are confident enough in yourself to know you can handle whatever that outcome may be.
Sure, you can still be surprised. Taken aback. Shocked. Even horrified. But previous life-experience informs your confidence, or, how secure you feel in your ability to make decisions. No one can make a confident, experienced adult feel badly about any choice--regardless of the outcome. The reason why? A confident, experienced adult understands their own context. Part of that confidence is being aware of who you are and why you make the choices you make.
Being self-aware and self-responsible doesn't mean you don't make mistakes. But it does mean the only mistake you make is putting trust in people who are too immature, inexperienced, and/ or mentally-compromised to commit to their own choices--choices that effect others as well. That's the caveat with every choice we make--it doesn't just create change in the life of the chooser, it also creates change for anyone connected to the chooser's life.
Perhaps that is the biggest, scariest thing we humans take for granted...the fact that the people around us aren't always capable. Meaning, we have to live with the consequences of not only our own choices, but the choices of others, too.
You do not have to martyr yourself to be honorable, ethical or honest. You just have to remember that every decision you make can (and will) irreparably effect the lives of others, too.