Do you hear them? The voices inside your mind. They whisper, chide, and sway. They influence every choice we make. Sometimes they are loud and impulsive, others are little more than the breath of a whisper. Do you hear them?
Sigmund Freud in 1923, believed the mind had three distinct parts. (i.e., tripartite), the id, ego and superego, all developing at different stages in our lives. These are systems, not parts of the brain, or in any way physical. According to Freud’s model of the psyche, the id is the primitive and instinctual part of the mind that contains aggressive drives and memories. The super-ego operates as a moral conscience, and the ego is the realistic part that mediates between the desires of the id and the super-ego. Although each part of the personality comprises unique features, they interact to form a whole, and each part makes a relative contribution to an individual’s behavior.
Many psychologists follow this model, it’s a complex way of saying these are different dynamics of the mind at play to form choices and behaviors. I subscribe to a slightly different belief. One that the emotional states of our mind, (fear, anger, love, etc.) are, in a way, voices we hear. We might have “Fear” chiming away loudly to run, to hide, or simply to give up. We have a depressive voice telling us the self-destructive thoughts. We might have our anger wanting to unleash a torrent of yelling and aggressive behavior. I see that we each have the various voices that try to make up our action. Influencing our very choices.
We’ve seen the angel and the devil sitting on shoulders in movies and television. How we’ve modified each to be a “good” or “bad” voice. We declare the conscience to be a voice as well, as portrayed by Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio. Still this reference displays both good and bad decisions. The trouble we all have is sometimes the choices aren’t so clearly defined by a nature of good or bad. If that is the case, which voice is telling us the good and which is the bad. Suddenly we’re in the game of Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the liar and truth.
Our complex lives leave much to the state of grey. So many things are not cut and dry, black or white. It’s complex and the choices are more so when you’re not dealing with the cut n’ dry of it. Financial matters, and many other decisions fall under this category, so how will we distinguish the truth from the various array of the voices and our own decision?
The first step is to step back and see the choice. Stepping back doesn’t mean physical, but mentally step away from things for even ten seconds. Consider your choice, by allowing even that ten seconds, you’re giving allowance for your time to consider and weigh your options. In bigger choices we tend to make the time even longer. However, we seem to forget we can do this even when it comes to a compelling choice such as buying, or other urges. Stepping back even for a moment will give that moment of consideration to the choice you’re about to make. Making a rash decision could hurt you, or others in ways you may not have thought about. Take time to consider your choices.
The second step is to reflect. Our choices have been made thousands, if not millions of times through out our lives. We have made so many that have paved our road and we’ve continued our paths because of them. By reflecting on the choice, we might see we’ve made similar choices. In those cases, look back and see what that choice’s consequences were. Were the consequences positive, or negative to your life? Have you been repeating the same circle of choices, and if so have they helped or hindered your path? Have you really considered the future consequences that the choice may provide, positive or negative?
The third is to weigh options versus consequences. The fabulous part about choice, is there is usually more than the two options. Especially in life we’re offered more than A, B, C, D, or E. We can create option F or option T, doesn’t really matter as long as it’s an alternative you didn’t consider till you made that option. Compromises usually are found in the unknown choices. The things you may not have considered are in play, and can be options. Consider those options, and weigh them versus the consequences. When we play it out sometimes we see answers we didn’t think about beforehand. We can consider the option versus the consequence and in our little playing it out we may find another option that can better suit your needs, and the situation you’re dealing with.
Fourth, accept your decision. Some have always blamed other parties for the actions of group, or self. Some have fallen victim to others, and continue to victimize themselves for the choice that wasn’t theirs. The truth you must always recognize is your own choice. What did you decide to do? What did you decide to do after? How did you decide to take that choice? You have so much power to decide things and one of the biggest truths is that we are responsible for our own choices. Regardless of whether we followed group mentality and were lead into a decision, or we rebelled against the choice and created conflict. The truth is you always had a choice to it. You are responsible for your choice, you can deny that responsibility, but the consequences will prove differently.
Accepting your decisions is an acknowledgement to the part you played. The acceptance of your responsibility to any action you make. Regardless of positive or negative, you had a choice. While I mentioned those, who were victimized, and their choice was taken away; you are responsible for the choices you make after. How you take it, how you decide to face your future after, or how you will shape yourself after being a victim. Those are choices you get to make after and regardless of your acknowledgement to those choices, they will affect you.
Accepting the decision is not always easy. It is when the choice is a positive impact, we want recognition for those kinds of things. However, can you accept the choices you made that we’re not so good? Can you recognize that you didn’t make the best decision, and learn from it? Can you accept that you will not always make the “right” decision, and that part of life is that beautiful learning curve that we all get to experience in our own ways. Accepting your choice is an acknowledgement to who you are and what you do as actions. We define who we are by these, not just to ourselves, but to the world around us.
Lastly, make your decision. As simple as this is, sometimes we sit on our fence for an extended length of time. We forego making a choice, and just hesitate, or withdraw from the decision entirely. Which ironically is a choice. However, these do not usually make the best choice. For example, a mother lets her sons stay at home (after 18yrs old) and they continue to exhibit bad behaviors (punching walls, breaking furniture, doing drugs, etc.) However, the mother in this scenario is tied up and bound to both sides of the decision.
By keeping them in, she has her sons, boys she raised and cared for with her and not suffering, or troubled. By letting them stay, she at least can monitor some of the bad behaviors and try to continue to change them. She continues to struggle in her heart and mind because she isn’t getting the assistance towards rent, or bills in the ways she needs, but she desperately loves her family.
While the opposition seems so unappealing, to let go of the burden she suffers through the lack of assistance, and the constant upsets of their behaviors. She lets go, and her boys suffer, her boys dwindle down, and blame her for her choice, and dislike (or hate) her. She lets go and they must endure homelessness, or the streets, and the weather. Or they make worse choices unhindered by her supervision and influence. She lets go and they suffer too.
The scenario offers no real positive outcome. While she may continue to wish for a change, or assistance to the choice. There is a continued cycle she continues to endure because she refused to decide. The choice continually revolves around as the cycle continues to repeat, but in her mind, she refuses to make a choice either way and so continues to suffer in a repetitious circle.
By deciding, it is the only way to resolve the conflict of that choice, to continue in a direction regardless of way. By sitting on a fence interminably you resign yourself to a continued repetitious cycle of the choice continued to plague your mind. Our lives only flow in one direction, and time offered no chances to take things back. Hence the reason to consider your choices to be important. It’s time to make a choice, to decide if you’re going to see those choices, reflect on past choices, weigh the options, and decide. Right now, you have the choice. You decide.