28 Jun The Role of Choices and Free Will in Forming Your True Identity
By Cindy Harley
Hello Spiritual Seekers,
I have been debating on a topic for this post. I would start out with something and then something else (the bright, shiny object) would take my attention away. Can you relate?
I recently watched the movie Jungle Cruise. Other than loving the puns that were delivered by the riverboat captain and how richly they used some of the dialogue from the Disney ride, Jungle Cruise is a wonderful story. It is a story about making decisions and the consequences of those decisions, and changing what you thought was your decision.
Now it may not have been the main theme of the movie (or the ride), one of the things that I have noted is a person’s ability to use choice. I’m not going to give away the story, but each of the characters had the ability to make a choice about their life and once made, it led to other choices and consequences (both good and bad).
In this world, we are always making choices.
I made a choice to start writing this blog post.
I am choosing to sit at my desk.
I’m choosing to ignore my kitties as they play at my feet.
I chose to get up at a certain time.
I chose what I wanted for lunch.
I chose what I wore today.
I even chose the font for the Word doc which became this article.
How many choices do we make a day? According to UNC-TV Science writer Frank Graff, we make approximately 35,000 choices a day.
Decision-Making Styles and Strategies
On our path to becoming more fully ourselves, we have to be aware of the choices we make and not let our conditioning make them for us.
According to Frank Gaff, we use certain strategies when making a choice, and certain decision making styles and strategies guide the process:
- Impulsiveness: Leverage the first option you are given and be done.
- Compliance: Choosing with the most pleasing, comfortable and popular option as it pertains to those impacted.
- Delegating: Not making the decision yourself, but pushing it off to trusted others.
- Avoidance/deflection: Either avoiding or ignoring decisions in an effort to avoid responsibility for their impact or just simply preventing them from overwhelming you.
- Balancing: Weighing the factors involved, studying them, and then using the information to render the best decision in the moment.
- Prioritizing and Reflecting: Putting the most energy, thought, and effort into those decisions that will have the greatest impact.
As I reflect on some of the conscious choices I made just this morning, I believe many of my choices were habits which I would put in the compliance category. Although, I often make impulsive choices on what to wear.
I will often delegate choices to my loved ones. For example, when we are deciding where to go out to eat, we almost get in an argument trying to push that decision off on each other.
There are many decisions that I have avoided or keep putting off. I may know I have to decide. And if I am being truthful to myself, I may have made the decision but am avoiding letting that decision be known for fear of the consequences.
My Sun sign is Libra, so I was born weighing and balancing factors. Have you ever made a Pros and Cons list? Here is one of my tricks: I will weigh what is on each side and then make a decision based on what I value or want in the moment.
Making Choices and Our Identities
Our choices may determine our identity, or our “identity” may determine our choices. Here’s a personal example: I love the movie Encanto. Maribel Madrigal’s magical family is all about making the right choices—how they act, what they decide to show to the world—to preserve their family’s identity. Her family then feels stuck in that identity and only makes choices that perpetuate that identity.
Why is making a choice or a decision so hard?
Choice may also be a different form of “Free Will.” We have free will. What an awe-inspiring revelation. And just because we choose a thing one day, we don’t have to let our choice define the rest of our lives. We often think that we are stuck with the choice we made. I chose to be an actress. I may have loved acting to start out with, but now I don’t even like it. But I have had some success, fame, and credibility as an actress. How could I walk away? Staying with something you no longer love is also a choice. The wonderful thing about free will is that you get to choose anew; you do not have to be defined by previous decisions. You can change and grow through Free Will.
I recently read or heard someone say that they make a conscious choice to stay with the ones they love. And thanks to Google search, here’s a quote from Kiersten White’s book The Chaos of Stars that describes that: “And I’d choose you; in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I’d find and I’d choose you.”
That is a great quote for a romantic relationship, but it is also a great quote for choosing yourself. We have to choose to be ourselves.
In the movie The Princess Diaries 2, there is a scene when Princess Mia is supposed to be sitting in the royal carriage for the parade and waving. She sees some older boys being mean to a young girl, stops the parade, and jumps out of the carriage. She made a choice. She also chooses to make all the orphans Princesses and Princes and walks with them in the parade to the Kelly Clarkson song “Breakaway.”
Sometimes (or all the time) you should make your choices based on your true being, not an identity or role people have chosen for you.
Choosing Joy and Contentment as You Grow
As I have grown older, I find it harder to find what my true role or identity should be. But what if that is not the point? Each second, I get to choose. And I am trying to remember to choose what brings me joy and contentment.
I know we sometimes need help to find our center. Birchlight Energy has many meditation videos that can help us refind our center and make a choice for what is right for the you of right now (not last year or 10 years ago).
Here is a great one on just Being… “To Be a Sugar Snap Pea.”
May you lead with your heart and feel the love of all.
Birchlight Energy | BE–Shine Bright