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Making Peace With Life Choices

Updated on November 7, 2012
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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:

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"The unexamined life is not worth living."

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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

Source

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.

Freedom

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    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      5 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      HoneyBB and Vern, thanks so much for coming by with your personal wisdom! Sorry it's taken me so long to respond, but I've taken a sort of sabbatical from the Internet recently...

      Take great care,

      Laurel

    • vrbmft profile image

      Vernon Bradley 

      5 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Thanks again for sharing so much of your personal experience. A book that has been very influential in my life over the last six months is THE TRAVELER'S GIFT. It is all about making decisions and it says in there some place, God gave us the ability to make decisions, not necessarily the right decision, but God did give us the ability to make any decision right, if necessary! Kind of interesting. Anyhow, it is an easy read and filled with wisdom. Check it out. And the 12 steps have become an essential part of my daily life and they are all about responsibility and accountability and staying connected to God. Anywho, THANKS AGAIN for sharing you, and you do it well. As far as editing goes, we can all benefit from "editing." LOL! What's nice about hubs is you can always go back. Just the other day, I went back to a poem I wrote two years ago here on hubpages, and made some phrasing and syntactical changes!! Anywho, Take care and I believe in the critical mass theory, so that every change any one of us makes at some point has a collective impact. So keep throwing the pebbles into the pond of life. I am!!

      HAPPY NEW YEAR

      Vern

    • HoneyBB profile image

      H Bee 

      5 years ago from Illinois

      So true! I think that we really should train our teens more in the ways of critical thinking. While some lessons can only be learned through experience, some experiences are best left undone. I feel this way because I think that had I been trained as a teen to look at the situations of others and think critically about how they could have improved their lots in life that I may not have went blindly into the choices or more appropriately the path that pulled me. Thanks for sharing.

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      5 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Hi old friend!! I'm so glad you came by and left some of your thoughts. I know that you of all readers have gone through some horrific personal experiences, and indeed know how to 'carry on'. I've always been amazed at your strength.

      Thanks so much for your kindness, Eddy! I hope your weekend is marvelous as well,

      L,

      L

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 

      5 years ago from Wales

      A great hub Laurel powerful and you are right a life which hasn't been doubted or examined is no true life.

      I have certainly made many wrong turns but I then get up dust myself down and learn from my mistakes. I have a theory that it is Ok for me to stay in the same place for a little while but to never ever retrace steps. Carry on forward and while we may take a peek back to those days gone we carry on upwards and onwards.

      This is a great hub Laurel which will help many more. I vote up an dshare.Have a wonderful weekend.

      Eddy.

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      5 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Great to see you, tlpoague-thanks for saying such kind things in your comment; I'm not sure I'd call my words 'wise', but thank you, nonetheless!

      I heard/read somewhere that our mistakes are what make us who we become, and without them, we are shallow beings, indeed. I so agree with that assessment.

      The toxic person you are dealing with sounds like many I have known, and I, like you, used to cater to these-and other-folks at my own expense. You mention bitterness was taking you over-in my personal language, I suppose, I call it resentment-resentment of people, of situations, of myself. Now THAT'S toxic! ;)

      It sounds like you're wise beyond your years, don't sell yourself short, ever!!!

      Thanks so much for coming by!

      Laurel

    • tlpoague profile image

      Tammy 

      5 years ago from USA

      I am one of those that have enjoyed your words of wisdom. I have been out of touch most of these last six months and now am trying to catch up on what I have missed. When I reflect on pass mistakes, I realize sometimes how they have helped me grow as an adult. I use to be one that tried to please everyone in my circle, until one morning I woke up and realized what a bitter person I was becoming. It was at that moment that I took a stand for myself. Right now I am facing a tough decision with a toxic person, but reminded myself that you can't help someone that doesn't want to help themself. This has helped me to not feel guilty with the decision I am faced with. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us younger folk. You never know when those words of wisdom may help someone to avoid a mistake.

      I have to agree with Ed, you are one tough girl! I will keep you in my prayers.

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      5 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      As to your 'confessions', Ed, I have clinical depression, anxiety, and Bi-Polar disorder! But I take my meds and seem to be okay. ;) I guess we're bro and sis psychologically. Oh dear, take good care of yourself and remember that worry never solves anything!!!!

      I try to remind myself daily "I'll be okay, I'll be okay". It seems to help.

      L,

      L

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 

      5 years ago

      Hip replacemeeemnt! On top of all else ! Your one tough girl , But I dont believe you're the other things on the list ! I have to admit something , in spite of my writings or everyones impressions of them , I am not Mr. calm cool collective , Anxiety and depression have taken their toll on me . I may have survived clinical depression but anxiety seems to be a nevr ending battle for me . Enough about me - Laurel you have all the makings of a wise woman ! I hope you heal well ! And please - keep writing ! Ed ................:-}

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      5 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Hi Dolores!

      Regret about the past is absurd and self-destructive, no? We are indeed powerless over our choices good or bad, so as you perfectly said, "...there is not a durn thing we can do about it."

      Love it!

      Laurel

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      5 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Thinking about our past choices is a popular topic for many people of a certain age. We look back and realize that we could have done things differently, better maybe. And while we can analyze what we did wrong, and what we did right, there is not a durn thing we can do about it. We must forge on, using our mistakes to inform us, but not tear our hearts out about past mistakes.

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      5 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      My lovely friend, thank you so much for your comment. Sometimes I feel jealous of those who feel life is a breeze, nothing to worry about. I know I DO experience my nutty special angst too much...but that's another story!

      "Ed" is your name? Thank God, it's sooo much shorter, though I'm not sure I'll recall it-I'm so used to calling you da other...;)

      Self indulgence, selfish, egocentric, self pitying....are you sure you're talking about yourself? That's me in a nutshell!

      I'll work on the mature conscience...some day. ;)

      With love,

      Laurel

      PS: I'll keep writing once I get over these hip replacements and my...gasp!...root canal! Nasty stuff. Pity, please. ;)

      Bye Bye

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 

      5 years ago

      Lorlie6 , I don't understand , I get it this perfectly , dear lady ! Perhaps we are all just a bit too self indulgent , I know I can be . Laurel I believe that some people go through life unphased by thier actions in different stages of developement of maturity , I have followed you enough to know that you have a conscience! And a worthy one at that , keep on writing Laurel .....Ed +++++=

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      5 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Thank you so much, KathrynLJ. Diogenes' comment did throw me a bit!

    • profile image

      Kathryn LJ 

      5 years ago

      I don't think this need editing at all. It's a thoughtful piece and because it is a reflective and dealing with the thinking process needs to be 'wordy'. I like it!

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      5 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      You are so right, denise. As they say, "Those who forget the past are bound to repeat it!" Makes one think...

      Thanks for the comment,

      Laurel

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      5 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I agree that as adults, we are able to re-define our past in terms of how it fits into our current identity. Remembering is different than re-living, as when we remember, we do so from the context of our present reality. It is possible, then, to get past our past, in other words, to get past the affects that it has on us in the present. If we don't we are bound to re-live the mistakes we made then.

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      5 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Absolutely, annerivendell! The future is personal choice.

      Thanks for taking a look,

      Laurel

    • annerivendell profile image

      annerivendell 

      5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      I agree with what you're saying, lorlie6. Our past choices need not define us, but our future ones can-it's our choice!

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      5 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Thanks for the input, Bob. I'll look it over again.

      Laurel

    • profile image

      diogenes 

      5 years ago

      Graet content...needs severe editing as is too wordy. The first sentence is incomprehensible to me.

      Bob

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