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When We Made Choices Like Children

By March 28, 2016August 29th, 2017Musings

young boy

There once was a time when choices were quite simple.

Do I want to watch The Flintstones or Popeye?

Do I want vanilla or chocolate ice cream?

Do I want to play tag or hide ‘n seek?

When we were children, we made simple, straightforward decisions about our preferences. Decision-making was quite clear for us. We didn’t allow our mind to be cluttered with things like:

Is this choice “appropriate”?

Will people approve of the choice I’m making?

Is it the “right” choice?

But somewhere along the way, mind chatter and external influence came into play, and we started to allow our choices to be shaded by the opinions of others. It became important that our choices were “acceptable”, proper, “right” (whatever “right” is) and conventional.

We doubted ourselves. We second-guessed. We stopped trusting our gut. We deferred to those who said things like “You don’t REALLY want that, do you?” or “Are you SURE?”.

And every time a voice crept into our head, questioning our choice, we lost a little bit of ourselves.

It is sad that so many people say they have no choice. They see external circumstances as dictating their lives, and allow can’ts and shouldn’ts to influence their decisions, and hence their actions. It’s like they’ve placed themselves within their own cage, locking the door behind them, and staying within the confines of externally dictated parameters. Life in a self-imposed cage is like a world built of locked fences without realizing that a fence can be crawled under or over or broken through.

I liken it to the way that elephants in captivity were once trained not to break free. As babies, the elephant’s leg is tied to a rope, secured in the ground that permits only a limited range of movement…the length of the rope. The baby elephant might try to break free, but the rope is too strong. By the time the elephant grows up, it could surely break the rope, but the early experiences and restrictions have conditioned the elephant to not even make the attempt.

We need to realize that we have the ability to make the choice. The choice to break the rope. The choice to choose. To live the life we are meant to live.

What will you choose today?

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