Making a choice, many times, isn’t a simple process. We often must consider the potential benefits and drawbacks, how it will affect others around us, how it will affect our futures, and we often consider what choices someone else would make in our situation. While being empathetic and making decisions with multiple viewpoints in mind is a trait of an effective decision maker, allowing the opinions of others to quietly dictate our lives is a one way ticket to misery and regret.
Think of the last major decision you had to make recently in your life, maybe it was a career move, a change of majors in college, or a plan to relocate across the country to pursue a dream; whatever it was, just try to remember WHY you made the decision you did. At any point in the decision making process did the voices or concerns of family or friends influence your decision? Think hard about this, it may just help you break free from the limitations that you have allowed others to place on your life!
Often times the “caring” concerns of a friend or relative become deeply ingrained in our minds. A parent who constantly told us to get a masters degree or work in the medical field, though meaning well, may very well plant a seed of doubt that will silently grow into weeds and choke out our individual aspirations and dreams. Instead of following our dreams we allow someone else’s desires for our lives to become our life.
We have all been told by someone close to us at some point to “be realistic” or that our ideas are “crazy” or even “impossible. These “thoughtful” suggestions to keep it real, often turn into a sinister little voice that lives in our minds and influences our decisions. If you listen closely, you may still hear the voice of that person in your mind telling you to do something other than what you are doing.
While even well meaning people that care about us can detract from our ability to unlock our full potential, there are those around us that seek only to destroy our dreams and watch us sink into the failure they wished upon us. For those of us who were raised with parents who told us we weren’t good enough, for those of us in relationships where partners beat us or manipulated our self esteem to control us, for those of us who others bullied or made to feel small so that others could feel strong: we have much deeper scars, we have wounds that may still be fresh many years after the occurrence.
The voices of those who abused us, manipulated us, beat us, or took advantage of us may be the loudest of all the voices in our mind, and so it is even more pressing that we learn to silence our critics and prove to ourselves that we are what we decide to be, not what someone else tells us we are; we achieve what we choose to achieve not what others have predicted we will achieve; we are limited only by time and our own drive to achieve. The only things out of our reach are the things that we allow others to tell us are out of reach; the only weaknesses we have are the weaknesses we don’t believe we can improve; the only failures in our life are the times we gave up or didn’t even try.
Our past, the opinions of others, our experiences, and the thoughts in our mind shape us into who we become…until we wake up, until we decide to take control. When you become conscious, when you realize that everything in your life up to this point may have happened to you, it doesn’t have to be that way anymore you become free…now that you realize the wheel is in front of you all you have to do is take it a steer.
So really think about your next decision, hear the voices, concerns, doubts, and fears: step outside of your mind and observe them objectively; you may recognize the voices of others, and you may hear the words of people who have influenced your beliefs, but this time you hear the voices clearly; now you can choose to listen to YOUR heart and YOUR desires.
Do we really make our own choices? Are we in control of our destiny? There is no certain answer, it doesn’t come down to yes or no; however, we make our own decisions to the extent that we are conscious and believe that we are in control of our lives. As our belief in our own strength and influence increases, our influence and strength does increase.
Our limitations truly exist within our mind, and we are only limited by our own belief. We may make decisions, but do we make them for who we are, or do we make them for who we are told we are, who we have been told to be? So are you who you are, or are you who you have decided to be? Ask yourself this question and you’ll know if you make your own decisions. If you believe who you are is out of your control, left up to destiny and experience to decide, then you are not free, you do not make your own decisions. But, if you believe that you are who you decide to be and that you can make your own choices, you can be the master of your fate and the captain of your soul.