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For the sake of blogging and self-exploration and contemplation, I answer a question a day off of this list.
Today’s question : To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
Do I go with my personal opinions and experience-based perceptions with this question, or do I go with documented psychology? Psychology says we actually have very little “choice” we are driven by electrical impulses in our brains and how they are wired which is a complicated mix of biological make-up and experienced-based conditioning.
But I’ll steer away from the technical “I know this as a psychological fact” route and go with my personal experiences. “Choice” is a tough word. I choose what to wear every morning. I choose to not consume dairy (except, admittedly, an occasional weakness for cheese.) Right now, I’m trying to choose whether to write to someone I am deciding to leave behind in order to feel like I provided closure, or whether it’s best to walk away from them and say nothing.
But, sometimes “choice” is a huge struggle. Sometimes impulse fights with choice. Sometimes when I am hurt my mind is clouded with “how do I make this stop hurting” rather than seeing the best course of action in the long-run. Sometimes there are things I know I am just not capable of because of past trauma, uncomfortable places I am not yet willing to explore. I suppose choice is always there, but when it comes to the big things, choice is not easy.
When you’re a child, you don’t have a say in what happens to you more often than not. Sure, you can blame yourself if you get in a van with a stranger or if someone does something inappropriate with/to you, but what if you were threatened and too frightened to tell? As a child, are you capable of making the “rational” choice that is in your best interest? Psychology often says no, and although I agree, it’s sometimes hard to truly believe it deep down in my core.
As an adult you have choices, but you are also impulsively driven by your past experiences. I’ve been able to take a step back and truly look at things from an angle of what is in my best interest, but it’s still difficult to separate that from my emotions sometimes. Is “choice” really an illusion? Where is the line between the electric/chemical reactions in our brains, and the theory of us actually making real choices? I don’t know.
All I know for sure is that right now I’m in a good place, and although I do attribute a lot of it to “luck” (or more accurately, overdue karma) I know that it’s also partly because I look after my best interest first and foremost and I don’t allow people to treat me poorly and remain a part of my life. I guess I think it’s a pretty good mix of fate and choice that has lead me down my current path in life. And I’m okay with that.