“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Some people long for the meaning of life – a complex question I’m unsure any human being can answer with great accuracy.
But what I can answer for you is what life is often comprised of – a series of choices.
Each and every day we’re bombarded with a series of circumstances, from varying environments, and it’s solely up to us to decide how best to respond.
After 41 years of experience, I can tell you with great honesty that I haven’t always made the best choices. I believe some people possess the skill to logically look at a situation, extract the emotion, and make a decision which best represents a positive outcome.
But some of us are hard learners. The emotional scars I’ve reaped over the years have taught me invaluable lessons – but they’ve also left me with wounds, which never fully go away.
Perhaps what can often complicate the decision making process is a long list of responsibilities (to our spouse, our children, our parents, our friends), which require unselfish behaviors from those possessing a strong moral character.
What does that mean exactly? It’s simple – many times making a sound choice is not about what’s convenient for you, but what’s right for others.
I consider this to be the fundamental reason why so many relationships crumble. Relationships are about compassion, trust, compromise, care and perhaps most importantly the ability to think about someone else’s needs before your own.
That’s no easy task. As human beings, it’s natural to struggle with being more considerate of others needs and feelings. But it’s not impossible to achieve.
As long as you truly and unconditionally love, respect and appreciate the other party in the relationship, making concessions for them is not a chore. It’s just what you do for someone who provides your life with incredible meaning.
Jim Rohn once remarked, “You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself.”
There’s no arguing that life is a series of choices.
But if the people in our lives mean anything at all to us, we need to set aside our own agenda and consider how our choices will impact them. Ask yourself:
- Does doing something you want to do, supersede your commitment and responsibilities towards a spouse, your children or your parents?
- Do you prioritize hobbies and recreational activities above your personal and enduring responsibilities?
- Do you make choices, which satisfy your inner desires, knowing there’s someone else more humble who will handle your responsibilities for you?
“Choices may be unbelievably hard but they’re never impossible. To say you have no choice is to release yourself from responsibility and that’s not how a person with integrity acts.” (Patrick Ness)
What kind of person are you?