We all assume that making choices is a simple process. We see
what's in front of us and we choose the best option. That's the way it goes in this choicemaking process.
But what if it were not that simple? Because, let's face it, people make the wrong choices everyday. The wrong girlfriend! The
wrong boyfriend! The wrong destination! The wrong colors, and
Choicemaking is not as simple as it may seem. Smokers continue
to smoke. Drinkers continue to drink. Drug users continue to abuse. If making choices was so simple, then none of the above problems would exist, would they?
Look at your own life for a few moments.
See if all your choices have been wise ones. Is there a
repeating choice occurring that still produces the same negative
result? Why are you still making it?
When it comes to Life Choices, then we see that this process is
not as simple as choosing the right candy, or movie, or other form of entertainment.
Truly FREE choicemaking is based on Personal Characteristics,
Prehistory and Personal Awareness.
How aware are you of your Prehistory to determine why you may be
making the same faulty choices over and over again?
Why does a woman continue to choose the same type of abusive man?
Why does a man continually succomb to the definitions and desires of others? There's no choice in such examples, only repeating patterns!
But the fact is: "There is choice!"
Choicemaking still goes on, even if it's outside our conscious awareness. A part of us is making choices based on - prehistory, old patterns or a familiar expectation like "I never get what I want" or, something similar.
These are some of the common denominators of Prehistory.
As a child you React to your environment. You adopt the Status Quo, that is, how things work in your family of origin. You make unconscious choices based on Survival Value. "If my dad always yells at me when I need something, then I won't "need" and won't ask anymore."
And you give up trying to get that Need Met! Repeat this a few dozen times and see how many things you have given up. And worse, you start convincing yourself "you don't really need it!"
The more dysfunctional your Family of Origin is, the more Reactive and Unconscious your choices tend to be. And this is the root of all negative choices.
Very few people would Consciously choose a situation or pattern
with a guaranteed negative outcome. So called "common sense"
is about hindsight and stating the obvious. The fact that so many
choices are made at a subconscious level, cancels out any so-called fruitful effects of "common sense." Common Sense isn't so common after all.
Patterns return. Familiarity seems safer. Only because these
Making a choice for a better Life is tatamount to a Crisis. It certainly is a Crisis for the Part of You that makes your unconscious choices! Some call this part your "survival side" or your "inner tyrant."
He, she, or It, has a big investment in maintaining Control. So you "doze off" or "go numb" when an important Critical Choice has to be made. You are still making a choice, only you are "choosing not to choose." And the necessary choice is relegated to your Unconscious Self.
You "allow" this unconscious "protector/controller" self to make the choice for you. And then, you see the Same Old Negative Result. Once again confirming "You Are the Victim of Forces Beyond Your Control!"
What has to happen on a conscious level for this pattern to
"Know Thyself" is the key phrase here. And this is no small order. Even well trained Psychologists can have a tyrannical unconscious self to deal with.
It is critical to get to the bottom of this though. One has to see that those unconscious choices: a) exist and; b) no longer work. What once had survival value, during childhood, has now become a detriment to your healthy development as an adult.
We've all had occasion to say: "he's acting like a child again." Or, "I felt like a child who needed her mother." These are common enough experiences for all of us to relate to.
The Primary Sign of True Adult Development is Emotional
This includes the ability to make choices based on the evidence at hand, and not the "programs" from one's prehistory. True Freedom comes when one's childhood, hurtful past is laid to rest.
Freedom comes when we take hold of ourselves and declare: "I'm
making the decisions from now on - not my old Childhood Self -
not my Abused and Frightened Self - not my Victim Self, or any part of me that came into being before I could make conscious choices.
In a safe environment we grow up capable of making informed
choices. We are allowed to be ourselves.
In Dysfunctional Environments, Conscious Choicemaking is
We react. We resist. We counterattack. And we become passive-
aggressive. We identify ourselves as victims, because we feel
victimized. And we make limited, uninformed choices based on
these stressful circumstances.
There's no such thing as a Free Choice here. Survival takes
precendence. "What do I need do to survive this stress?" replaces "What choice would I like to make at this time?"
We come to believe that: "we are what is happening to us" - The
Victim - The Abused One - The Abandonned One, and so on.
Name your Poisonous Identity.
These are factual results of various types of domestic tyranny.
There are hundreds of self-help books addressing each one of
How do You Change a Reactive Choice to a Free Choice?
You become aware of who you are. Of what happened to you as
a child, and what you need now to correct this.
You make Conscious Choices to better your life. You seek out
resources that will help you untie all these psychological and
emotional knots. You Choose to open yourself up to the Inner You, the person you are, or could be, had none of the above happened.
You choose to get in touch with your full potential, and to clean
out all the garbage that no longer belongs. You are choosing
This Could Be A Long Process Indeed.
What's your alternative? To live out your life as a pattern
of prepackaged reactions that were triggered by others? Or,
to live your life as it could be, given what you now know about
cleaning up messes?
I made my commitment 40 years ago, and I still work at it.
But it's not so hard anymore, and I have had some fun along
the way. I actually enjoyed untangling those knots.
As I needed certain things, they came along in one form or
another, a good Counselor, a Friend, many Great Books, an Inspiring Movie, and so on. As I learned to take responsibility and own my feelings, things improved. I improved. I got stronger. I benefitted from these conscious choices.
As I learned to overcome defeat and curtail negative self-
references, I gained self-esteem.
As I realized that a part of me ( the tyrant) seemed programmed
to harm me, I took away its power and claimed it for myself.
This Is The Hero's Journey From Mythology.
Into the Heart of Darkness we go, past the Guard Dog "Cerebus"
(inner tyrant) to recover our Essential Self (innocent inner child), and become what we can be.
It is a long and difficult journey at times, but well worth it in the end. I wouldn't trade my journey for any other experience.
That's the level of my commitment and the rewards that come
Whatever it takes. Wherever I need to go. I'll do it.
Because, I am worth it. AND SO ARE YOU!!!
Are you ready to commit to the Full Expression of your
Being? Then Let's Get Moving!
Maurice Turmel has a PHD in Counseling Psychology and was a practicing therapist for nearly 25 years. Self-Help issues are dealt with regularly in his monthly Ezine "The Self-Help Advisor." Dr. Turmel likes to use parable stories to illustrate important points. He has authored 3 books and is also a performing songwriter. He can be reached through his Website at: http://www.mauriceturmel.com