What if everything that we did in our lives was just a choice? Neither right nor wrong. Just a choice.
What if we were to look at everything that happened in our lives also as just choices that people made? Of course, we might not like certain choices that certain people made. Yes, we might have loved for some people to have made different choices. But choices are just choices.
We might not have liked the fact that our parents fought everyday as we grew up. But can we look at that as a choice that they made then? Just a choice to stay in a state of conflict.
We might not like someone having an extramarital affair and “ruining” his/her life. But can we look at that also as a choice that he/she makes? Just a choice to have a secret in their life.
We might not like our siblings being a certain way. Can we look at that also as a choice that they have made? Just a choice to be different from us (their sibling).
We might pity the friend who is always drunk, smoking and not fully present in the reality of his life. Can we look at that also just as a choice – a choice to stay disconnected from reality?
We might hate certain aspects about our spouse; and we could fight all day about it without getting anywhere. But can we learn to accept that even our spouse is a unique individual who has at some point just made the choice to be a certain way?
In reality, you cannot change any of these people’s choices, unless he/she wants to change. And the only choice that you have at each of these encounters, is to accept their choice as perfect for them; to accept that their choice fits into their perception of how their life has been and how they need to deal with Life. (OMG!! How is that even fair??!!)
Learning to accept somebody’s choice does not mean that you endorse the choice or that you would also have to make the same choice when encountered with a similar situation. But you could still respect somebody else’s choice, and make the choice to ‘see them’ for who they are. And if somebody’s choice affects you and impairs you personally (say they are violent with you), you definitely do not have to succumb & resign to their choice; you can make another choice, after they have made theirs!
One of the quickest ways to experience freedom & happiness is to ‘see’ people (your loved ones) for who they are, and not be constantly disappointed because they are not who you think they should be. I call this a “State of Agreement”.
Check out this other post called “How can I accept that?“. There’s another perspective on Acceptance there.
In the end, happiness is just a choice. And so is misery. Each of us get to make our choices every single day. And no matter what we choose, it is just a choice!
Your surroundings are not merely a matter of your individual choice. They are there as a matter of course; and you should rise above them and not get yourself entangled in them.
Sri Ramana Maharishi
(Maharishi’s Gospel, Book 1)