Your Everyday Choices
Revised From Journal Entry 1/10
In life we make decisions.
Some we are fully aware of and some are almost like reflexes. Reflexes we have spent our entire lives submitting to and/or cultivating.
Perhaps you flourish in selfishness because you were spoiled as a child, always given whatever you desired. Maybe you are mad at the world because you parents divorced when you were young or you felt like you were never good enough growing up. Or you find solace in the bottom of a bottle, drinking until nothing hurts, just as you saw your Dad do when you were little. A plethora of maladies to choose from with just as many excuses to attach to them.
Here's the thing though, no matter how you were raised or what you have been through, you make the choice to be the person you are.
You are selfish? Watch the news of the world and see what little some people have. Volunteer at your local homeless shelter and be humbled. Get to know the people around you that struggle. Choose to be aware of more than just you. Choose to NOT be selfish.
You drink yourself stupid? You drink yourself numb? ( I have unfortunately fallen into this category ) Now this one is tricky if alcoholism runs in your family…but at the end of the day YOU choose to take that drink, or not to take that drink. How about instead of ignoring and disregarding your problems, you face them! (said the pot to the kettle). Stop hiding behind a blurred depiction of what could have been or what should never have been, or what you wish would be, and choose to be stronger. Stronger than the drink. Stronger than the past. Stronger than the regrets.
You have no tolerance for people of a different race or culture than that of your own? Open your eyes. Do you think that as a human you are truly that different? Any woman holding her baby for the first time is a mother. Any man giving himself completely to another is in love. Pain, suffering, loss, joy, devotion, passion…these are things that are universal to people…regardless of the color of their skin or the God(s) they choose to, or choose not to pray to. Examine photographs of people in a different corner of the world than yours. The cloths and background may be unfamiliar, but a smile that conveys absolute delight, or tears falling down a devastated cheek are proof of a common reality. Gaze into their eyes and you will see a reflection of your own truths.
Each day we make decisions. We sit and ponder the really big ones…what to do in life, who to marry, when to start a family, how to let go of a loved one, where to live. But the small, almost insignificant decisions, are the ones that define who were are as a person. The “reflexive” choices we make, without even thinking, account for our moral character.
The car that cuts you off and nearly takes out your bumper – do you honk and whip them off while swearing? – do you glare at them out your window with a face of disgust and displeasure? – do you thank God there wasn’t an accident and let it go?
The homeless man sitting on a ragged, cardboard box on the sidewalk that asks you for change – do you ignore his presence and act like he doesn’t exist? – do you throw him a buck or two but never look him in they eye? – do you grab him a hot meal at the bakery on the corner, complete with coffee? – do you sit on the ground next to him and take it in from his point of view? – do you give the most valuable thing, your time?
The piece of trash that sits on the ground in the park – do you add to it and leave your gum wrapper / cigarette butt / McDonald’s bag alongside? – do you pick it up with a look of disdain at how inconsiderate people are? – do you pick it up, along with any other pieces you can find, and put them in the garbage can, knowing you have made a difference, no matter how small?
From what we buy at the grocery store to how we spend our free time, we make a million tiny decisions. We cannot decide where we came from or the family we came into at birth. We cannot decide the paths that others will take or how they will react to life.
We can, however, decide to be better.
Better than where you came from if that is what holds you down. Understand I am not so much talking about a place as a societal mind set.
Better than the family that taught you to be selfish or self conscious…that taught you to consume beyond what you need and feel like the world owes you a favor.
We each decide the path our life will take. Each step, misstep, back step, and turn will be a page in our autobiography, laced in our past decisions…blanketed in the emotions evoked by the consequences of those choices.
We decide how we react to others decisions as well. If they act in haste or hate to we reply in the same way? An eye for an eye? Or do we choose to act out of compassion and love? It’s easy to react to love with love and joy with joy. It’s easy to be kind to a person in tears. It’s easy to give hope when you feel fulfilled.
But try reacting to hate with love. Choose to be kind to the person who is rude or grumpy. Decide to give hope to others when you can’t find enough of it for yourself. Resolve to find joy through the pain, be it yours or some one else’s.
In life we make decisions. What will yours be?