Making Bad Choices Can Promote Greater Healing and Development – At What Cost?
We all make bad choices. It is true – we can learn from our mistakes – but what do our mistakes cost us?
It is also true, spiritually speaking, that we are here to heal and develop. There is always tremendous opportunity to not only critically learn from our mistakes, but to much more significantly offer to the world what we learned from our mistakes.
Can We Learn to Make Better Choices For Less Suffering and Loss?
But what about the suffering, loss and prevention of living a free, satisfying life, as well as interfering with our right and need to experience good outcomes, that bad choices produce? I’ve been watching the Ken Burns PBS series on The Civil War this past week, which I haven’t seen since the nineties. As a major history buff with a particular interest in American history, and even more particularly, the Civil War, I experienced again the overwhelming sense of terrible cost that occurred through enduring this worst war in our national experience, all due to the compounded and hugely bad choices which produced that war.
I found myself then reflecting on my own life, as well as my work, regarding how we choose, what separates a good from a bad choice, and what the core elements of each are. If healing and developing is our primary directive, then it seems we can heal and grow from all experience, all choices, all environments. As we can learn how to better steer ourselves toward making good rather than bad choices, we – and whoever we’re most intimately connected to – gain.
The Elements of “Good” Versus “Bad Choices
This consistently becomes a central focus of my work with clients. I’ve come to think the real meaning of the word “karma” is the larger force that is unleashed through all the choices we make, good or bad; and that the karma from bad choices demands that we face the same challenge to choose better on a different life “stage”. Speaking of history, as the saying goes, it repeats itself.
Good choices come from:
Self-love, higher awareness, personal power, freedom, self-responsibility, intact and integrated ethics, fundamental and operative consideration, a desire to become better and support the greater good, inner security, independence, willingness and a spiritual desire to create
Bad choices come from:
Unhealed/unexpressed grief, power struggles, victimization, inadequacy, lack, fear, powerlessness, unawareness, magical thinking, projection/transference, a sense of lack, blame and resentment, a compulsion to “fix”, denial, a desire to escape, abuse
A Life Review of Choices is Critical for Prevention
All of the qualities listed above are within our full human range of feeling and thought which produce action. We cannot change what we can’t acknowledge. That is why a life review of how we have chosen and the results our choices have produced is critical to stop making bad choices.
Equally critical is finding our way to forgiveness, which can only occur through developing self-responsibility, healing loss through fully experiencing/processing the stages of grief as they occur, and enlarging our capacity to more greatly understand who, what, where, when, why and how these resultant life experiences have occurred – as well as the critical part we played in co-creating them. Forgiveness, which comes from experiencing the organic progression toward healing and development, is the emotional and spiritual act of completion and transformation; and centrally supports enlightenment.
Learn to Let Go and Let Be at Your Core
Sometimes we continue to make bad choices because, as Mark Twain’s definition of craziness as continuing to behave in the same way, expecting different results, defines, we get stuck and addicted to perpetuate this “broken record” response. When we let go and let be within our core, we create higher space and power to help us see and “connect the dots” on what we’re really doing, which automatically engages our will to choose differently to become better.
When this occurs, sometimes for a while we continue behaving in the same way anyways, but such tension is generated that predictably we end up accomplishing a different choice because we see things differently at our core. We are, it has been said, our choices.