Each and every moment, faster than a second, there is a choice to be made. How one’s posture is, how feet and hands are positioned as well as how fast or slow, deep or shallow you breathe, how and what you say. Being able to be aware of any and all thoughts, feelings, and actions at any given moment is available to all of us, it is only a matter of choice.
In order to make a beneficial choice, we must first understand what makes a choice beneficial, why we would want to do that, and what can keep us coming back to this drawing board as well as make these choices into positive habits.
- Whether or not a choice is beneficial is inherently subjective, although there is a universal rule that goes along with making choices that most, if not all have heard before at some point: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, or even simpler: “treat others as you wish to be treated”. This simple rule, is more than a rule, more than a universal law, it is how life operates, through cause and effect. Therefore it is very important to know what a beneficial choice is. For example, you may choose to thoroughly enjoy watching sitcoms while I thoroughly enjoy reading. Treating each other fairly, I would ask you to consider a few pages of a book, and you ask me to view a few minutes of the show. In relationships, whether it be spouses or family members, after a basis of what the others around you do and do not enjoy, the next step is knowing that a beneficial choice for you may not be the same for others.Therefore, it would be considerate of myself not to ask you to read a book if I knew you were opposed to reading, and for you to ask me to watch TV were I opposed to TV. On the flip side, it would be considerate of you to inform me that you may not care for books, and considerate of me to not push my activities on yourself. With this dynamic of relationships set in place, the flow of positive energy throughout the relationship may be beneficial for both parties. After being aware of each other’s likes and dislikes and respect of one’s boundaries, it will be easier for both to slowly assimilate into new perspectives or activities, whereas the attitude of no to anything that isn’t already enjoyed will contribute to very few new lifestyle choices.
- Why would I want to make a beneficial choice for myself, or for that matter others? This may seem quite obvious, but it is amazing how many people make beneficial choices for others before themselves. This creates an unequal balance of power in the relationship, outlining a hierarchy between people, such as a boss and employee, or a parent and a child. Making an honest, beneficial choice for myself will always result in a beneficial reaction for others, even if the results we are looking for are not seen right away. The reason for this is that after thousands of years of unbalanced dynamics of relationships, the universe must balance those equations out by adding more or subtracting more to both sides until they are equal.An example: A parent asks a child to perform a task for the first time, let us say washing the dishes. A beneficial choice(s) for the parent would be for them to do the dishes with their child, showing them to soak the dishes in warm water to make cleaning easier, using soap to remove bad bacteria, rinsing to remove the soap and drying in order to be used. A beneficial choice(s) for the child would be to follow along with the parent, asking questions if there is confusion, and being patient if there are mistakes.
This can turn into detrimental choices for both parties. On the end of the parent, these would be examples of detrimental choices (examples, actual scenarios may vary):expects the child to do the dishes without asking, and then reprimands the child for not doing what was expected. Telling the child they must do the dishes, with or without reasoning, instead of asking. The tone of voice and word choice used when telling the child, or asking the child (telling instead of asking can easily come off as commanding, which creates an unbalance of power).
Detrimental choices for the child may include ignoring the parent when asked, using a sarcastic or mean tone when responding to being asked, carrying out the task but doing so with complaint or a negative attitude, completing the task but not fully or to the best of their ability.Making beneficial choices brings both parties satisfaction, and is in fact easier to do than purposefully making choices that harm thyself or others. When digging a hole, it is important to place the loose soil far enough away from the whole so that it does not fall back in as the hole widens.
- How do I/We keep making beneficial choices and in turn make them second nature? It all starts with being aware of one’s actions. If you are aware of what you are thinking, you can be aware of your whole reality. It is not trying to be aware, it is simply being aware. If you try to be aware, all of your awareness will be on trying instead of being aware! You may say that you try to tie your shoes, but really you are simply tying your shoes. Yes, you can add in the statement, “I tried to do …..” or “I am trying to ….” or “I will try to do….”. But what does saying that, whether it be out loud or as a thought, do for you?
Just do the action, without needing to justify yourself or others.
Lao Tzu, writer of the Tao Te Ching once said that “he who knows does not speak [of it], and he who speaks [of it], does not know.”Be patient, be aware of your breathing, how your body language and tone of voice is, and ask yourself before you act, “Is what I am doing or about to do helpful or harmful to the world around me?”
“How far does the effect of my choices reach?”