Friday, December 11, 2015

C is for Choices and Courage

So I've been away this time due to...well, I needed a break to recalibrate my life. A lot people mistake me for an extrovert, however deep inside I'm really a very private and introverted person.

Like a good battery, we all need to recharge.

So I've gotten to conceptualise this post - inspired by the many thoughts I've had. Those who know me, understand that I'm a big advocate of making the right choices. It doesn't take a lot, simply moral courage to do the right thing.

So the next letter C in this relationships sequel is dedicated to Choice.

Choices creep up on us - the daily things, the mundane request for lunch, the everyday-tasks. We choose to arrive to work late or early. We choose whether we want to speak to that cute guy or girl in the lift. However choosing can be very tiring if it were done consciously, logically all the time.

So we also choose with our heart - we choose with what makes us feel good or repulsive. There's nothing wrong with it, after all that's how the great romances begin, why our parents decided to marry...sometimes the brain needs time to catch up to the decisions made with the heart.

Yet the heart is not all-knowing. We make impulsive choices - to have a one night stand despite having partners based on the heart (or other parts of the body). We then sink into depression over the mess we've made. Most of us will have to face the consequences of our actions, but not many will have the courage to respond.

For the record I have no issues with ONS, I have issues when it hurts people around you.

It all starts with saying No. It starts with standing up for a standard above our own. Those guidelines are not simply messages written on a wall, floating about in our conscience. It supports our weight when we go tumbling down the zip line. It holds us up because we can't simply be expected to do it ourselves. Ego tells us we can handle the aftermath, humility tells us we are human and make mistakes. Whichever bible or scripture you choose, to me, it stands for millennia of "I made this mistake, try not to do it too". The timelessness of regret, guilt and avoidable pain is applicable across centuries.

We are human. We make bad choices but at the same time, had every opportunity to make one that was better. It's not always clear whether we're about to commit with the devil, ultimately we never know at that the Y-fork of the road. We could only make the one we regret least. That is good enough. Equally important is to forgive ourselves if we have indeed taken the wrong path and to put aside our pride and simply make amends, and hope that our loved ones have the graciousness to forgive for our errors.

Yet I see people around me, partners, spouses, friends, make choices wholly with their heart - out of anger, selfishness, out of pain and bitterness, out of despair. We also make worse choices when we are elated, blinded by the romance and drunkedness of champagne love.

How then? If we are to make a choice worth our while.

I think this calls for another word; contemplation. No one is rushing you to make a choice - and in this day of instant messaging, it's easy to believe we have to decide now, soon. Contemplation slows everything. Think about the Matrix trilogies. When we consciously think about slowing time, it does. In the same thread of thought, just taking time off to slow down and think of what we want, forces us to be honest. It will always be in circles, we will think of a thousand things at once. But no galaxy was formed without chaos, and with time and some good friends and conversation, this chaos will congeal into a singularity. It will become clear.

When we contemplate, we sometimes that that time to worry instead. It's our space, our realm of freedom to let loose all possibilities. It is a safe bubble where we can let loose our worries. When the sediments finally settle, we will see which weighs us the most and if those cannot addressed, do we move on? Do we not?

I think with practice, allows me to make choices quickly and with serendipity. I still seek this unique balance and suspect I will spend my whole life practicing.

This world is filled with enough things that call for our attention, we need to learn to sometimes not give a fuck, and just contemplate on ourselves. Do I want to marry this man? Should I cheat on my girlfriend? Would he be okay if I moved across continents to be with him?

Is this over?

Having another C word, courage is also important to deal with whatever that comes after. The sense of accountability and responsibility means we must deal with the results of our actions. We often blame others or bad luck for our choices and bad decisions when they don't turn out the way we want them too.

We also cannot be held 100% accountable, ultimately we had imperfect information. We are imperfect as well.

However courage helps us grow into the people we want to be, and we just need to face the music when we did something of harm to others.

(Partly why I believe in corporal punishment for kids)

Choices require time and space for contemplation, and we all need courage to face the consequences of our actions.

I no longer respect, and have no patience for people who indulge in escapism or resort to bullying others when they're faced with the outcome of their actions and leave it to their friends and family to clean the shit they've made. It's alright if we falter once in a while, but too many times just leaves a bad taste in people's mouths.

Life is already hard, we need soldiers who can face the storm together. Choose wisely.