Choice. It is something that we engage in every moment of our lives. From the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep that night, we are constantly making choices. These could be simple choices such as what clothes we are going to wear and what route we are going to take to work. There are also more complex choices that we often face such as how we are going to deal with a ruthless boss or leave a long term relationship that no longer serves us.
The issue with choice is that we often make these unconsciously with no thought to their implications. There can be many reasons for this including being too busy and distracted to give our choices any meaningful thought, making choices which keep us locked in our comfort zone due to fear and following the lead of the majority.
Let’s demonstrate this with an example. Suppose you are in a long-term relationship that no longer serves you. There may not be any emotional or physical abuse but the spark that was once there has been lost and you’re not sure why. There could be many reasons for this including growing apart in your interests, becoming too busy in your careers and not communicating effectively or simply falling out of love.
Many people would continue in this situation and deal with it in ineffective ways. They may start spending time with their respective friends and less time with each other to compensate for the failing relationship. They may become more involved with their children’s lives to avoid dealing with their relationship issues. They may turn to addictive behaviours such as drinking. They may also seek out relationships with other people by having affairs.
These are all choices but many people would not make the most important choice which is to sit down with their partner and discuss why their relationship is faltering and how to effectively deal with this problem. The reason for this is that it is often difficult to face the truth and confront it head on. It is easier to sweep it under the rug.
There is no doubt that to respectfully confront your partner in a failing relationship to discuss why this is happening and what can be done about it is not easy. However, by doing anything else but this you are living an illusion of being happy. This is because deep down you now that there is something wrong but you are not doing what you need to to deal with it because this is not easy.
One of the keys to happiness is to be true to ourselves and in order to do this we must be willing to recognize what is the right choice to make in any given situation. There is a way to do this and this will be the topic of my next blog. In the meantime, please look at all of the important choices you have made in the last week and try to uncover where you have not been true to yourself in your choices.
Nauman Naeem MD