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It’s Your Choice

October 18, 2010

Choices. A lot people take for granted the meaning of that word, sometimes using it an excuse for bad behavior or a way to excuse themselves  from their own mistakes in life. With the old excuse of, “I didn’t have any other choice!”, rarely is this statement true. It is only a truth, if a person is held at gun-point or their loved ones are. Or if a person is in imminent danger. Not perceived danger or trying to counteract an thought that they are in danger. This may sound harsh and stone-hearted opinion, but as a person who often gets paranoid (if not develop phobias over my own paranoia) over the “what ifs” and “they’re after me” thoughts, I have to admit that 90% of the time I am WRONG. No one was after me and the choices I did to counteract some “bogeyman” in my mind, was my own choice and mistake, not a matter of “I HAD to do it! I was forced!”. :-/

My point is, unless the reason is dire and another person has  a weapon against you, everything that one does is simply their own choice. The things that we can not choose in life is our relatives, our race and skin color, or sexuality, the actions and reactions of others, which fatal diseases we or our loved ones get (like cancer), and who we fall in love with (sometimes). But everything else, unless we are helpless children, we do have a choice in it. Like it or not.

We choose our religion, based on what we want and feel, not on how we are raised. It’s very easy to say that you are of a religion, because that was the way you were raised. Well it’s true that you didn’t have that choice as a child, as you had to do what your parents tell you to do and believe in. But, eventually you do grow up, move out of the house, and have the ability to make the choice yourself. It’s what growing up is all about after-all, the time in your life that you get to make your choices, without having to follow exactly the choices of your parents. For example, I was raised Christian, but when I became an adult I was more aware of my own individual self. I was old enough to make my own choices and to make up my own mind about religion. And I realized that the old religion didn’t fit me anymore. I made the choice to become Pagan and I’ve been happy with my choice, ever since. :-)

So, if you are of a religion as an adult, raised under it or not, it’s your choice to be. Either you have chosen a new religion or have chosen to stick with the religion that your parents taught you. And either choice is fine, so there’s no reason to excuse it in the first place.

What a person wears, their style, is also ones choice. The way your hair is styled, is your choice. What you decide to eat for dinner is your choice. What you watch on tv or what kind of music you enjoy, is your choice. What you fight for and believe in, is your choice. And everyone is free to make their own choices, but to also suffer the consequences of their choice  (if any are to be had).

In the case of making bad decisions and horrible choices in life, I personally can’t stand it when others want to blame their environment, their upbringing, or the old cop-out of, “I didn’t have a choice! THEY made me do it!” My childhood was far from perfect. I grew up in a home surrounded by thieves, drug addicts, prostitutes, cheaters, and con artists. Only one of these persons were related to me, my birth father, but the rest were non-related people that my parents called “friends”. By the standard of this excuse, I could have became a thief, a prostitute, a cheater, a drug addict, or a con artist, because it was all I’ve seen and known for most of my childhood. I didn’t began to experience being around decent people, until my late teens.  If I had made the same bad mistakes as the others around me, I could have yelled like so many who make mistakes seem to do, “It’s not my fault! How else could I have turn out, with all the bad influence around me growing up!? I didn’t have a choice!”

But… I did have a choice. I always have a choice. And even as a small child, without any adults telling me to not follow in the examples of those who were making their mistake around me and my siblings, I had made a choice on my own to not follow those bad influences. If a six year old girl has that right and power to choose, to not let her environment determine what kind of woman she grows up to be, how could a fully functional adult not have that same choice? :-/

I have never stolen anything in my life, even when I had nothing. I have never done any illegal drugs or popped prescriptions, not even to experiment. I have never prostituted myself and never will. I have never cheated on anyone, in any relationship that I were in, and highly doubt that I ever would. I have never ran a con or lied at whim to others. I have lied, as everyone does, but not to deceive or to put out false advertisement of myself, in order to manipulate or to take advantage of others.

Don’t get me wrong, people make mistakes. I’ve made so many other bad mistakes, in my short years on this earth, too many to count! But the fact is, I made a choice to make those past mistakes, whether I was ill-informed or was highly aware of the mistake that I was making at the time. And it’s no one’s else fault for my mistakes,  and it’s consequences, but my own. I can’t blame my upbringing or my parents for my mistakes. I can’t blame my crappy (and sometimes dangerous) friends of the past for my choices. I can’t blame society and the adults who let me down when I needed help the most in my life. I can only blame myself, because I’m the one who made the choices, no one forced me to do the stupid things I’ve done. And I’ve had to suffer the consequences of my bad choices, also.

The excuse of, “I didn’t have a choice”, is an poor one. It’s the obviously scapegoat away from really owning up to what a person has chosen to do. It’s easier to blame others, than to admit, “Wow, I did something really stupid here. I regret it. And now I have to fix it.” Yet, excusing your own mistake, rather than to face it and to fix it (if it can be fixed), is also an choice in itself. We may not be in the “driver’s seat” for all things in life, but for most of what you do personally, for yourself and toward others, you DO have a choice. You always have a choice.

-D

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4 comments

  1. I am inclined to agree with you.
    Too many people fail to take responsibility for their actions or even inaction even going as far to say it’s in their genes and that is it.
    That forgets somewhat conveniently that humankind has had centuries of exercising self discipline which enabled it’s very survival in adverse circumstances.
    Sometimes we allow a space for Fear to develop taking a hold over us and allowing others to manipulate that for own ends (not wanting to be seen as ‘chicken’). Those of us with self esteem issues certainly need help and support but when we do slip up we need rather more ‘tough love’ than a rationalizing “Don’t worry, it’s all right as it’s just your condition” approach.

    Caroline.


  2. So true, Caroline! :-)
    When there is an excuse for bad behavior or mistakes, then the mistake is doomed to be repeated over and over again. :-/

    My father is an drug addict… therefore people could argue that it’s in my genes to become an addict also. But they can argue the idea, all that they want. The truth is, I’m not an addict now and I don’t HAVE TO be one. I have quit smoking cigarettes for many months now and I’m making the choice to stay that way. If I slip, I do so on my own choice or craving, not because of some excuse like “genes made me do it”. ;-)


  3. Personal responsibility seems to be at an all time low these days. Everyone wants to blame someone else for there problems. It’s sad that it has become acceptable to blame others for your problems. I think if more people took responsibility for their mistakes then they could move on and grow as a person. If you are never held accountable for your mistakes you’ll always think that you are right and never learn from it. It’s unfortunate. I believe that your environment can effect you, but there is always a choice. It’s the old nature vs. nurture argument. We all seem predisposed to some behaviors and personality traits, but for example just because you have a bad temper doesn’t give you the right to be mad and mean to everyone. You can control it if you want to. I feel that if you haven’t realized that you always have a choice then you haven’t finished growing up. This is part of the reason that my mom drives me nuts. She sometimes acts like the things that went wrong in her life were totally out of her control when that’s far from the truth. I know I messed up sometimes, but everybody does. As long as you own up to it then you can move on and do better next time. It’s a struggle sometimes, but then again life is never really easy.


  4. So true, thehooded! :-)
    God knows I’ve made so many mistakes in my life and some were downright horrific and dangerous mistakes. But, if I decide to point the finger at others for my choices all the time, I would never learn from those mistakes nor try not to repeat those mistakes again. You’re quite right… those who haven’t realized that they have a choice, they still have some growing up to do. ;-)



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