Most of us would like to believe that we pursue individual people and things that fit into our current and/or ideal lifestyle. Some of us know that we pursue only what we need when and how we do. It is in assuming that we know which one of these character types we are that the essay will explore, while suggesting that ultimately, what we do signifies who we are, more so than any belief about ourselves we would like to entertain.
For those who purchase without fully understanding their reasons for the acquisition of the material (it looked nice, it was on sale, it fit comfortably in my hand), the capitalist marketplace was designed for you. Research surveys, branding, packaging and promotion amongst other titanic industries, make it their business to tell you who you are and what you need.
You will walk into a store and buy the same outfit or piece of furniture as the person who walked in a few minutes or hours before you, because this is it, this is what is on sale, and what is right for you at this time. Decisions from type of cutlery to type of windowsill are not made because of the connection felt between buyer and product, rather, the status and/or feeling hoped from the acquisition of the product. Instant solutions and hence gratification becomes the order of the day, everyday.
You are not happy with your job, so you decide to look for another. An option to work in a “similar yet different” capacity becomes available to you, and so you grab it. You are not happy with your life, and in the middle of this, lose your job and house. You are offered the opportunity to start work immediately in a similar job with a house, and so you grab it. You are looking to leave or salvage a difficult relationship.
An option to start another relationship within your current circle opens itself up to you, and so you grab it. You are making difficult changes in how you think, speak, and act. An option to forgo a resolution and behave human “for once” opens itself up to you, and so you grab it. In these examples, one may posit that they are not options but opportunities and different ways of coping with one’s current life and/or reality.
This essay states that the decision point in your life offered the opportunity to make a difficult but life-worthy choice. You could have looked into what about the job and your mind, spirit and body do not co-exist, yet instead jumped into the same ditch at a different field. You have the opportunity to find what about life makes you happy, however, you make the choice to go back to the life you previously had, different setting.
You have the chance to learn about yourself without the definition of a wo/man, yet you start a new relationship, same baggage. You have the spiritual platform to win the fight against previous detrimental life choices, but degrade your own actions by insisting on “small” vices and habits, a lack of faith.
We would like to believe that we make our informed decisions, that we are not swayed, but allow ourselves to be convinced of a person, product, or situation. Listen carefully however, to the reasons you provide others and yourself about the every day decisions that you make. For example, ask yourself why you cook or clean the way you do. If the answer is because of what you watched and/or learned, ask yourself why you did not incorporate something else over the years.
If we are cooking a dish that we have observed a parent prepare over a long period, we may find ourselves saying, “I always forget to put in the cheese.” Despite good reviews on the dish, we may not be as accepting of this for we are mentally beating ourselves up for forgetting an important ingredient. What we fail to consider is that we do not really forget to put in the cheese; rather, we are not interested in putting in the cheese.
Human beings are created with different likes and dislikes that have nothing to do with genetics and/or upbringing. That one may like another’s recipe with or without a few ingredients in it, is a reflection of individuality, not a massacre of a meal or the spirit in which it is given.
Ask yourself the small questions, for they will reveal to you a lot of information about what informs your decisions. Why do you brush your teeth at the hour and time that you do, why do you sit the way that you do, why do you prepare to travel the way that you do. Why do you not fashion your own opinions about certain elements/aspects and instead devoutly hold onto what was told to you a long time ago.
If you find yourself deriving more taught lessons and observations, than personal preference, then you know you have been accepting the “easier “choices all along. It has been easier to give in, accept, acknowledge, identify, empathize, sympathize, and celebrate other people and things’ decisions into our lives, than it has to breathe life into our own innate preferences that have nothing to do with genetics or upbringing.
Consider too, that it is not in the major decisions that our character is revealed, rather in the in-betweens. An example is a person of faith who still participates in activities that are in direct violation of his/her faith, reflecting greed, a desire to walk right before the Lord, and fulfill human cravings, basically, having it all.
This person would like to believe that s/he is getting the major parts right, such as praise and worship, however, s/he knows that s/he has accepted the “easier” choice. Another example is a person who makes the decision to leave a cycle of bad relationship decisions by mouth, however in deed, is actively perpetuating the cycle.
The reflection in this instance is esteem, a lack of knowledge of oneself, basically, an emptiness of spirit. The person would like to believe s/he is making moves toward the right path however, s/he knows that s/he has accepted the “easier” choice.
Easier choices cease being options once we are in tune with ourselves, and ready to walk the talk. We stop making excuses, snatching the opportunities and options that keep us away from self-thought and awareness, perpetuating the lives we claim to want to end/change. It is not a coincidence that each time we try to make a good decision in our lives we are immediately offered a very different and sweet sounding option.
For example, the person of faith may make the decision in the morning to spend the evening fasting and praying, and before this time receive the chance to meet with people, s/he does not normally get the chance to see, or an event that s/he has always hoped to see. The person who makes the decision not to jump into a new liaison as soon as the previous is done will immediately receive the chance to be with someone else who is more nurturing and loving than the previous.
By making the “easier” choice, these individuals ensure that their lives will not be congruent to their innate desire to change and/or grow. By accepting the easier choices, we feed the demons within that are the only reason we are not where we are meant to be, in our examples, this being greed and emptiness. For every good choice to walk in the right direction in our lives the devil will offer an alternative that is too quick and good to be true.
We have said that our character is revealed in the little things, not the major decisions. If we are not in tune with ourselves and make the easier choices, then we are the ones who will always be at the party, when perhaps we should have been home working at a project. We are the ones who will stay in degrading relationships, when we should have been upgrading ourselves by walking away.
We are the ones who will keep our virtues, and hand them all over for a hope of love. We are the ones who will not look into ourselves to learn about our spirits and why we treat ourselves the way we do, we will keep perpetuating the life we claim to hate, so that it is not in our reality that our lives are created, but in the small every day decisions and choices that we make. If we make choices that are true to ourselves, we immediately have no need to explain ourselves, most importantly, to us.
If we make decisions that we begin to stand by, we inform ourselves that we are done taking the easier way, and that we are willing to put in some hard work for us. The key points here are that much the same way we are willing to work hard for our employer we should work no less on ourselves. Not on our external and material acquisition of life, but on the things that actually matter, these being; character, integrity, purpose, will, beliefs, and on the things that we impart and receive such as respect, reverence, loyalty etc.
We cannot hope not to be judged when what we say and what we do are in direct contradiction of each other. We cannot pretend to be sexually restrained when people constantly see us with a different sexual partner at each fun or family meet. We cannot pretend to be pious when we permanently hold a Bible in one hand and a joint in the other. We cannot pretend to empower others to make changes in their lives for the better when we refuse to deal with the demons in our dark.
We cannot pretend to be self-sacrificing when we claim to work hard to provide for our families and all others see are evidence of the days and nights of excess partying. We cannot lie to ourselves that we are being selective in what we are doing when we feed the elements in us that threaten our growth and success. For every decision that we make and do not see to fruition, every day, we simply inform others and ourselves that we cannot be bothered, we are accepting the easier choice; we will try again tomorrow, again.