Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Power of a Decision

"You are the person who has to decide. Whether you'll do it or toss it aside, you are the person who makes up your mind. Whether you'll lead or will linger behind; whether you'll try for the goal that's afar, or just be contented to stay where you are." ~ Edgar A. Guest

If we were to sit down and think about how many decisions we make on top of a day, we would be astounded. Everything requires a decision - from the type of clothes we wear to greater choices which have the power to affect the course of our lives and that of others. Every accident, every situation, could have been different had we made a different decision.

A few days ago I was talking to a friend previously involved in relationship with a widower who has a teenage son. Since the very early days after they met, she and the boy never got along, as she felt the son was rude to her, and did things out of spite to break up her relationship with the father. After a few months of constant arguing, things got very tense for my friend and her partner. The animosity between her and the teenager continued to grow and evolved into a power struggle. Finally, rather than letting go of the hard feelings, my friend decided she was going to set her foot down and show her acquired son who was in charge. Within a few weeks her relationship with the father was defunct. Two months later, she has yet to let go of the anger sparked during the relationship. In her mind, the son was evil and the father spineless for giving in to his whims; what she always refused to see was that a lot of the friction was spawn by her own insecurities and choices. Certainly she had the right to voice her opinion and make it clear that she wasn’t happy about the father’s decisions, but by doing so she forfeited something else that was important to her – her relationship with the man she loved.

Every decision we make has the potential of being a double-edged sword, and before we indulge a certain choice or behavior we should be fully aware of what the consequences are going to be. If we feel that we are prepared to deal with those consequences because our sense of pride and self-righteousness is stronger than the loss that will ensue, then we are on the right path. If instead the relationship, or the job, is important to us – even if we feel we have the right to complain - we might need to take the time to evaluate the whole situation before we make a decision. Everything in life works on compromise; we forfeit what is less important in favor of what matters most. As we see often in the case of medication – fixing one thing while potentially hurting another – we need to weigh the pros and cons, and then decide what is best. Holding our peace may be hard, but in some instances it can be the only lifesaver if what we are protecting is dear to us. My friend’s decision was a balm for her pride and the executioner’s axe for her relationship at the same time. Did she do the right thing by standing her ground or should she have kept cool to safeguard her relationship?

Ultimately we can’t control the actions or the thoughts of others, but we do have carte blanche on how we will deal with the situations that arise. Depending on our decision, things will either turn in our favor or against us; we have the power of changing circumstances by making decisions that are based on wisdom rather than ego. The choice is up to us.

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