The Freedom of Choice
THE FREEDOM OF CHOICE
A good friend and colleague of mine named Draa would often say the following, “choose your losses or lose your choices.” I had to chew on this concept for a while but finally came to some conclusions about what I thought this meant. With every choice we make, we suffer some type of loss. Often people are afraid to make choices, because they unconsciously know they will have to give up something.
When we take the power of the choice in our hands, we get to decide what the loss will be. If we do not take that choice into our hands, we will lose that choice to someone or something else. We all have the ability of choice. When we declare that someone “made” us do something or that “we had no choice”, we are really saying that we surrendered to that person the power of our own choice. No one can make us do something that we do not choose, unless we give them our consent (or unless they have a gun to our heads). So if we say “yes” when we really want to say “no”, we lose our choice, because we do not want to suffer the loss involved in saying “no.”
I know someone who I would consider “loss phobic.” She will not tell anyone “no” because if she does, she fears she will miss something or “hurt someone’s feelings.” As a result, she spreads herself so thin, that she can only give so much to anyone. It is also hard to trust that her yes means yes, because she doesn’t say no.
Part of living an authentic life is making truthful choices. Part of the balance of life is realizing that we all will suffer losses by the choices we make. The other side of the equation is that when we make our own choices, we experience more freedom in our lives. We are not ruled by the control of another, but instead create our own lives based on what we decide. There is great freedom in choice. The truth (our truth) will indeed set us free.
What comes from the practice of choice is a more honest and genuine self. We become more trustworthy because our “yes means yes and our no means no.” Others will believe our efforts and acts of love towards them as being more real when they come out of choice instead of a compelled anxiety. (Compelled anxiety is the “shoulds”, “have to’s” and “oughts” that can control our choice making.) We all know what it feels like when we receive any kind of gift from another because they chose to give it rather that feeling like they had to give it.
The freedom of choice is a gift. It builds character and defines self. When we live in freedom, we are more able to allow others freedom to be themselves. So choose your losses, so you will not lose your choices and so you will live free.