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Making Peace With Life Choices

Updated on November 7, 2012

Philosophical Considerations

I have yet to meet a human being who does not question their choices in life. The 'human condition' is something we all must contend with, a sense that what we have decided upon may or may not reflect who we have become. Such questioning is a critical part of ourselves that we must address if we are to achieve a true sense of self.

The self is a troublesome concept since it includes those choices we have made in the past, whether good or bad. Drug use, loving toxic people, self-hatred, etc., can undermine our being; if and only if we allow such former choices unwarranted power. Self-Examination is necessary to alleviate this power, so that we may give power back to our current self.

This quote attributed to Socrates (470-399 B.C.) has survived over a millennium:


"The unexamined life is not worth living."


Consider This-Regretting a Tattoo

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood

And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

The Scream


On to the Individual...

So what is it I'm getting at? I imagine I am trying to say that there are people who think about life and there are people who don't. Those who do tend to feel guilt and regret-if they are indeed honest-and there exist those who don't indulge in reflection. They don't seem to feel the need to do so.

No one can persuade me of human perfection! Of course I am showing my glaring bias that every single individual on the planet has made errors of one sort or another-and know this...somewhere within his being, her soul.

Yes, I do sit in judgement of the supposedly blessed, but I'm not sure I find this as ignorant but amazingly lucky.

When Do We Ever Stop Asking This Question?

Who Was I?

When reflecting on our past life choices, we must consider the person we used to be. How we decided to engage in certain activities, love certain people, or in essence, follow our hearts at a specific time in our lives, should be taken into account when we sometimes fall into the tendency to over-think the past, wondering at our sometimes good, sometimes regrettable choices.

Were we making inevitable decisions based on childhood dreams and desires? Then we were, as those so very immature, not responsible. Such choices are rarely life-altering, since we are at the mercy of adults in most situations.

When in our teens, personal responsibility for our choices comes into play-we are now almost of age, almost adults. Our behavior may be questionable, however, because we are in the throes of adolescent hormones as well as being influenced by the pressure of our peers. Often the influence of the family, the church, and other social institutions take a back seat to our friends-we so want to 'fit in'. Our adult identity is forming through many societal networks, and which ones we choose is up to the individual.

Once we achieve adulthood, we are totally responsible for our choices, whether positive or negative, and we must live with these choices. Whether or not we operate from false premises is problematic, but this is the time to examine these ideas. We may find that since we decided as teenagers we were, say, poor judges of character, we may now as adults not able to fully trust our choices in friends and/or lovers. Making peace with such a false premise allows us to be able finally to recognize our former wrong thinking and open up to the possibility that we are indeed able to accurately judge people and believe in ourselves.

Self-Concept and Change

Whether we have made poor or good decisions in our lives, we are now, as adults, able to alter our perceptions of ourselves. Of our world. When, as younger people, we saw drugs, alcohol, gang activity, or any such activities as positive choices, we are now able in retrospect to perceive that these choices may not have been in our best interests. Unfortunately, we often feel trapped in such wrong thinking-we feel that we are forever identified with these former decisions. Yes, others may see us-remember us-as failures, misguided souls, or people bound for hell, but such attitudes are those of the other, not yours.

Freeing yourself from your past can lead to immense self-improvement, and embracing your former questionable judgements and choices often releases you from their power.

For freedom from self-doubt and regret can lead us all to bigger and better things.



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