How do you feel about YOUR life choices?
If you’re unhappy with yours, but don’t know how to make better ones, find out here why they matter and how a Counselling Psychologist/Psychotherapist can support you.
In last week’s post, I discussed…
How one part of taking on responsibility for changing the outcome of your life is about being really honest with yourself.
And how a Counselling Psychologist/Psychotherapist can support you in doing so, if you know you struggle with this or your unsure if you struggle with this.
So if you missed it, check it out here Part 1: How to take on responsibility for changing the outcome of your life?
In this post, however (and as promised), I’m talking about the second part of how to take on responsibility for changing the outcome of your life.
And that is, life choices.
So, let’s dive in.
What life choices are?
Life choices are really another way of saying making decisions in your life.
But it’s not the meaning or which terminology itself you use, which matters.
It’s how you go about making life choices (a.k.a decisions) in your life, which matters.
And whether you are conscious of the decisions you are making in every moment…
Are unconscious to them.
Why you need to take on responsibility for your life choices when changing the outcome of your life?
Yes, your life choices matter because they ultimately add up to what your life is (i.e. the outcome of your life).
However, like starting to put yourself first, saying you’re going to make different life choices from the ones you have been making, isn’t as easy as saying you’re going to do it and doing it.
Because your emotions, almost certainly will ALWAYS get in the way of your life choices.
In particular, shame, fear, doubt and guilt.
So, throw out any ideas you have about making decisions based on reason and not emotion.
Because one thing is for certain, that is impossible to do.
Even when you think your emotions aren’t getting in the way of your decisions
Except they’re not always as overt.
Depending on the situation, sometimes we have more control over them than others.
The reason for this is we are living, breathing, emotion driven beings.
So we cannot just take our emotions out of the equation.
They have to be the focus of our lives in every moment.
Because it’s our emotions, which signal information to us about what we do and don’t want in our life.
And, what actions we need to take to get what we want.
But when we’re blocked to our emotions…
We’re blocked to the wisdom within our bodies and to what it is we’re meant to be doing with our lives.
Therefore, leaving us feeling confused, uncertain and hesitant about taking any action, for fear it is the wrong action to take.
And ultimately dissatisfied and unfilled with who we are and what our lives have become.
Working with a Counselling Psychologist/Psychotherapist
It is, therefore, for this reason why working with a Counselling Psychologist/Psychotherapist is so important.
As they provide you with the confidence needed to be able to better listen to your emotions and what they are signaling to you.
And ultimately to trust yourself when making life choices so you can take steps to make life better, instead of running away from them.
Not what other people expect or want for you.
In addition, a Counselling Psychologist/Psychotherapist can support you in balancing your emotions.
Especially if you find your emotions are more to one end of the spectrum than the other, like mine were.
And, it’s this balancing of your emotions, which can ultimately support you in making better life choices and changing the outcome of your life.
Sure it will take time for you to get to this stage.
But, if you implement the qualities I discuss in my post on how to make the most of your therapy sessions, alongside any tools your therapist provides you with…
You will get there eventually.
The consequence of being unconscious to your life choices
Regardless of whether you’re conscious or unconscious to your life choices…
You are always making a significant life choice in every moment.
Whether you realize the choice you’re making or not.
And it is in fact, the indecision…
(i.e. the decision not to make any choice at all or to take any action toward a situation in your life, causing you distress, unhappiness and dissatisfaction for fear it is the wrong one, or it will not work/make any difference).
Which is keeping you stuck and repeating a certain negative pattern/cycle within your life.
As a result, why it is extreeeemely important you are conscious of your choices in every moment.
And equally, what it is you are not choosing/are sacrificing by making the choice you are making in any specific moment.
And if you are not currently conscious of them, becoming conscious of them with the support of a Counselling Psychologist/Psychotherapist.
Because if your unconscious to the choices you are making in any given moment and what it is you are sacrificing when making a particular choice…
You are most likely to end up with what you do NOT want, and you will categorically not be able to change the outcome of your life.
Hence, why you may now find yourself unhappy with the life choices you have made and your life as it is.
Because when you’re conscious to your choices…
(i.e. what you think, feel and believe and the actions you’re going to take based on that information)…
You are better able to decide whether to keep going on the path/trajectory you are on;
To stop, pause and make a different life choice to the one you have been making.
So you can ultimately change the repetitive negative pattern/cycle you find yourself in and the path/trajectory you are on.
And can avoid the guilt and regret that often follows when you are making certain choices that are not in alignment with what you want, think, feel and believe.
Estrangement from family members: An example of when my lack of life choices kept me stuck
As with everyone…
Covid-19 has forced me to look at the relationships in my life, including my family relationships and how they make me feel.
And, in particular, to make two significant life choice’s regarding two family members.
My father and a sibling, which in short (and as the title suggests), has resulted in estrangement from the two of them.
Although, I do live with my sibling I no longer speak to, so we’re not exactly estranged.
As I say that, you might be thinking, how can we live together and not speak to each other?
Well, I am now able to recognize my emotions are no longer in control of me.
I am in control of my emotions, my body and my subconscious mind.
As a result, I am also in control of my life choices and my reactions.
Mind you, I’m not perfect, no-one is.
But more often than not, I am the one in control of me, nobody else.
I raise this because most people think they have to wait until a certain point before they can make a decision.
For instance, in my case, waiting until I was moved out to make the decision.
But, as I mentioned above by emotionally detaching from these relationships with support…
I was better able to make this decision at the right time for me.
Rather than waiting for something to change in my external environment before making the decision.
I also found, somehow by seeing a Counselling Psychologist/Psychotherapist…
Things fell into place in my life (and the lives of those around me) at the right time and moment.
What stopped me from making these life-choices sooner?
What stopped me, as therapists like to call it, is I settled into ‘relationship patterns’/’relationship dynamics’ with my father and sibling.
Patterns/dynamics which were decided and formed by my Mum (a single mother) out of necessity, in my childhood.
But as I was getting older, were no longer relevant to me or my life.
As I was now able to take on responsibility for my own life and ultimately the outcome of it.
Through making my own decisions based on what I wanted and desired for my life.
And, through choosing and standing up for what I believed, thought and felt.
Lack of sense of self and building confidence
However, I felt limited in my ability to do the above, as I’d not developed a strong sense of self like I have as a result of seeing a Counselling Psychologist/Psychotherapist.
So, instead I unknowingly chose to go along with what was already decided for me.
This is because firstly (I now realize), these relationships offered me a false sense of safety and security as they were familiar to me;
Secondly, because I felt shame, guilt, fear and doubt of making a different decision to the one decided for me (more on that in a bit)…
Which left me feeling the easiest option, was to go along with it to keep the peace, not knowing or realizing I needed to question these relationships.
Since every choice I made, I interpreted as being “wrong” as it was often met with disapproval from friends and family.
As a result, what has been most transformative in my Counselling Psychotherapist/Psychologist journey.
As I have gained confidence in my own choices and validating my own ideas, so I can make the life choices that are right for me.
And how I was able to feel confident in my choice to stop speaking to my father and sibling.
Although, the encouragement and support from my therapist, once I had told her about my decision/action…
Also, gave me the strength to know this was the right life choice for me.
Why I felt ashamed of making different life choices?
Specifically, I felt ashamed because often, we’re taught to believe ‘family is everything’ or that ‘family stick together’.
And that we’re bad people if we stop talking to certain family members.
But family members are just like any other person we come across in our day-to-day lives.
They are no better or worse.
But because they’re given the label of “family”…
It’s almost like we feel an obligation to speak to them regardless of how they treat us.
Which isn’t the case and often is an illusion of the mind, which seeks to…
- Keep family members close; and
- Stop family members from taking on responsibility for changing the outcome of their lives
Because both sides consciously or subconsciously are afraid of what would happen were they to take responsibility for their lives.
In particular, what it would mean for them and the other person/people involved.
Dependency in relationships
And it is this, which is referred to as dependency in relationships.
As one or more parties, lean on the other for their own happiness.
Why I felt guilty of making a different life choice?
Therefore, leaving each party feeling guilty towards the other as they feel responsible for each other’s happiness.
Giving both parties, a false sense of meaning and purpose as they believe ‘this person needs them and without them where would they be’?
And without that belief, us and them wouldn’t have a meaning and a purpose for our lives.
Therefore, leaving us feeling lost.
Therapy, however, is what supported me in finding my meaning and purpose from within rather than from the outside.
Why I felt afraid of making different life choices?
Finally, fear seeped in as I feared the reactions of family members were I to decide to stop speaking to them earlier.
So, the easiest option, was to make no decision at all and to keep things as they were.
But these relationships reinforced my feelings of unworthiness and unhappiness with myself and my life.
And by me, not being honest with myself about how these relationships made me feel…
Instead, making excuses for their behaviour toward me, I wasn’t being true to myself.
So, these relationships brought similar people into my life, which reinforced the same relationship patterns and dynamics.
What happened after I made these life choices?
The truth is I’m still in the process of seeing the impact of these two life choices.
But I can say, I feel free-er and happier without them in my life as I have now been able to witness other relationships in my life that do not work for me either.
And have also stopped communication with them too, so I can work to build happier and healthier relationships going forward.
I have also started making myself a priority in my own life, which has resulted in me now being ready to make someone else in my life a priority too.
As to my father and sister, I can foresee that both parties will also have the opportunity to grow and to take responsibility for all areas of their own lives.
So, they can see what is working for them and what isn’t working for them.
Therefore, relinquishing any responsibility on the other to provide them with what they need.
Therefore, allowing all of us to carve out our own paths, rather than being dependent on the people around us.
As we each find our own inner strength.
Word of caution if you are considering estrangement from family members
If you resonate with any of the above relationship dynamics I’ve mentioned.
And are reading this thinking, I have some family relationships in my life I’d like cut out of my life…
Steady on there.
I’m not saying you immediately go and cut these relationships out of your life.
Because as I say, it’s never that easy. Ever.
As your emotions will get in the way of your decision.
And regret, is a very real thing.
Therefore, why I suggest you find a Counselling Psychologist/Psychotherapy.
So you can understand yourself better and your role in the relationships you are unhappy with.
And what it is you can do to resolve the struggles you’re facing.
But be prepared, this is a process.
You start with sharing what you’re thinking and feeling in relation to the situations taking place in your life…
Week in week, out over a period of one or more years.
Also implementing the 3 tools to grow outside of therapy I discuss.
And as you do this, you’ll begin to start making different life choices to the ones you were making before.
Therefore, finding yourself in a place you never could have predicted you’ll be in, a year or two from them.
- How Psychotherapy can help you to change your life for the better
- Review your year: Stationery you need to complete a Year in Review
Reassurance if you’re ready to make changes in your relationships
On the other hand, if you have been contemplating this decision for a while, and you need some reassurance.
Know that in the end, you and they will be okay, and you’ll both find you’re feet.
And actually, you would be doing both them and you a favour.
You might not feel like it at the time.
But over time you will realize your decision is the best life choice for you and them.
Otherwise, you both harbour resentment towards the other, and you stay stagnant.
Not only in that relationship but in all your relationships.
As you find the universe, feels your vibration towards that relationship, and it gives you more of what you are already feeling and don’t want.
Which in this case, are relationships which make you unhappy and unsatisfied with your life.
Questions to ask yourself if you feel stuck in your life choices?
Lastly, if you’re someone who’s unsure about your relationships and whether they are keeping you feeling stuck…
Firstly, recognize feeling stuck is necessary for you to be able to change the outcome of your life.
And secondly, ask yourself the following questions:
- Going through each and every person and activity in your life (family, friends, colleagues, work etc.) – How does this person/activity make me feel? and write down as honestly as you can (no excuses) how they make you feel.
- If you find, any people or activities in your life, which make you unhappy – Ask, why do I continue to engage with them (i.e. speak to them, participate in any activities with them etc.)
- And if you find, the reason you continue to engage in these relationships is because of shame, guilt, fear or tradition, seek professional support from a Counselling Psychotherapist/Psychologist.
If you would like to change the outcome of your life…
Then you might be doing what I did and choosing the easy option.
Relinquishing taking on responsibility, by not making any life choices, which are going to change the way you think and feel.
So, join me on this journey.
Go find a Counselling Psychotherapist/Psychologist to work with and you will not be disappointed I promise.
If you’re based in the UK and want to know how I found a Counselling Psychotherapist/Psychologist to work with…
Scroll down to the bottom of my post on Why you need to engage with therapy to change your destiny…
To discover the process I took.
And once you’ve been working with a Counselling Psychotherapist/Pschologist for a few months…
Come on over to my Facebook group here to be part of a supportive community of Counselling Psychotherapy goers (please note .
And remember: If I can do this and I am no stronger or weaker than you, SO CAN YOU.
So, there it goes, another day, another blog post finished.
But this time on how taking responsibility for your life choices is part of changing the outcome of your life.
And, how a Counselling Psychologist/Psychotherapist can support you in making better life choices.
Now I’d love to hear from you, has my post supported you in thinking differently about a situation in your life and what will you differently (if anything) from reading my post?