The Candid Cuppa
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The Candid Cuppa

Burdens of Freedom of Choice

3 ways to avoid disempowering possibilities of our choice

Photo by Afif Kusuma on Unsplash

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” — J.K. Rowling

When the soft breeze blows, rustling leaves joyously and shyly play with it. But when the breeze turns into the wind, leaves seem helpless — as they lose their track amid the stormy winds.

The same breeze caressing leaves when robs them of a choice — the leaves appear weak and defenseless.

Unlike leaves, we inherently are free to choose from what life has to offer. It’s up to us to make lemonade with lemons or eat them as they are.

We’re bestowed with a unique canvas and colors to create the life we want. And because of this canvas, we are all unique.

Each morning we wake up with forethoughts of errands left to run. Despite our routines, we always have a choice — to choose a comfortable way to spend our day or a difficult one.

Choices normally work in two ways. Oftentimes we make the right choice by luck or ingenuity. Other times, we work on a not-so-right choice to make it right for us. Either way, we use and value our free will.

However, freedom of choice, in essence, isn’t as luxurious as it seems.

We’re free to choose, but we’re chained by the responsibility of our choice.

Life isn't about seeking perfect choices. But sometimes only one road leads to our destination. Choosing that road is the only best choice.

Vaccinations, for instance, are a matter of choice. You and I have an option to choose whatever we consider best. But are we free of the burdens of that choice? Can we blame someone else for the consequences?

The frustrations and loneliness that surround life after the worst choice are not easy to handle — and we have only ourselves to blame.

Self-blaming if not handled decently, leads to depressive thoughts — that paralyze our minds and lives.

There’s a burdensome word — regret that finds a way to enter our world, never to leave it. Even though we find a way to move on — to forgive ourselves, but can we forget it? If let’s say we forget it, can we fill that void? Deep down, we always wish we had done something different.

“We are a product of the choices we make, not the circumstances that we face.” -Roger Crawford

It’s an illusion to think we’re completely free to choose as our inclinations in many ways are based on ideals set by society — by other beings. But the choice is always ours. And, so is responsibility.

There’s no time-turner to step back in history to make amends; we only have one option — of looking forward.

But the road ahead of us would never support us in lifting the burdens of yesterday’s choices.

I, for instance, once made a horrible choice, and even though I buried that stuff in a coffin, it scratches a way out to remind me of its cruelty — to define me by poor choice.

The point is, we can learn from our mistakes but cannot always rewind our clock.

When our one choice makes it difficult to choose the next one, we are as disempowered as tiny leaves.

We limit our possibilities of the future — in many ways we keep ourselves from a fairer life — without even knowing it.

The problem is that we as humans can decipher limited puzzles of life. When life brings us to crossroads, we cannot see whether we are going into a terrible abyss or in a peaceful alley.

But as I said above, the choices of now will increase or decrease the likelihood of a better future. It’s our present that matters now and will continue to matter in the years to come.

Despite our limited perception — there’s always a way — and there’s always a way to find it.

“If you can choose your way into a cage, you can choose your way out.” — Beth Kempton, Freedom Seeker

Photo by Linus Mimietz on Unsplash

There’s no sure way to handle abundant choices and use our right of choice rightly — as it depends upon us and our options, our preferences.

After analyzing and taking several self-help approaches, I find these ways helpful.

1. Being grounded in the present

When we’ve got to choose some way, we’ll look at how it’s going to change our future. But the future is hazy; we cannot see anything clearly.

Rather than anticipating things that never were (and perhaps nor will be), we can choose to stay in this moment — to focus on the pros and cons of the current step.

This way we give enough time and guidance to our instincts to guide us better to own and control our choice.

And, sharpened instincts are usually right.

2. Decluttering mind very often

Little raindrops grow into heavy downpours. Similarly, little by little our thoughts enter in confusion zone. And in that zone, we don’t even know from where to start decluttering. Our minds sink under the burden of many thoughts.

We need to clean out the cache of unnecessary files from our minds to think well — which is difficult with a too cluttered mind.

In life things, (usually) don’t happen out of the blue. They take time to grow into problems. Decluttering often is easier as it draws a line to check on our thoughts, and preferred choices.

To make a better choice, tuning our habitual thinking works too well.

3. Categorizing choices to lessen them

“We’re less likely to feel secure with our choices when we haven’t resolved our own internal conflicts about them,”

Carmichael

Even after decluttering our minds, (sometimes) there are more options than we’d like to have.

Having so many choices is another form of being choiceless — as they steal time and drain our energy.

There are many ways to categorize available options. I’m sure you know these oft-repeated self-help practices, like analyzing choices by writing (the most helpful one), getting help from the subconscious mind by sleeping on them or discussing choices with others.

This way we prioritize and thus lessen our choices — and it's easier to choose when we have fewer but best possible options.

These approaches work well (as they make us well-aware of ourselves and of the matter at hand) — when things happen at a measured pace.

Sometimes, we just have to decide at the spur of the moment. There remains little time to fetch paper or take a nap.

At that point, the least (and best) we can do is to define our reason (behind preferred choice) and the worth of that reason.

This little question can do our work too well,

Is this reason enough to spare self-blaming and regret?

It’s never too late to live the life of our choice as life hardly ends on one choice. However, to empower ourselves with more possibilities of a better future, our present choices matter. A careful stride can spare us from making amends for a poor choice.

As Lailah Gifty Akita has said,

“Your choices are your only freedom.”

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Fiza Ameen

Fiza Ameen

A nyctophile, truth-seeker gravitating towards human nature| Writing is my way of unlearning the patterns.

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