A matter of choice

It’s going to be a hard week. However, as I try and deal with my crippling bouts of anxiety, I have to remind myself that it’s going to be a hard week because I did not choose the easy option. There usually are easy ways round and out of things – admitting defeat, stepping back, not fighting for beliefs or principles. There is always opportunity to pick the way of least hassle. And I didn’t.

So here I am, unhappy and anxious, and knowing I have some hard things to get through before there’s any hope of it improving. And I chose this. Every time the thought of what I’ve got to get through threatens to intimidate me into a whimpering heap, I remind myself that I am here because I refused to go the easy route. And I refused to go the easy route because that would have meant betraying someone else’s trust. Sure, I could have avoided a whole heap of trouble, expense and stress, but at what price? The loss of my self respect, the loss of my honour and integrity, and the betrayal of someone who is counting on me to get through this week, do the right things and get the right results.

From a short term perspective, acting with honour frequently isn’t safe or expedient. If immediate gain and/or ease are your priority, having integrity is just going to slow you down. But what is life without honour? What kind of a life do you have if the only thing of importance is being comfortable and safe right now? You can’t know love or relationship if you always put yourself first. Love is the act of putting something external to yourself before your own needs. The easy choices frequently do not permit that. If the rule is ‘I must be safe and comfortable at any cost’ – as it seems to be for some people – then the cost can be horrific.

In every choice we make, we choose who we are. I chose the hard way. I chose to put someone else first, and now I’ve got to follow through on the implications of that. But I’m fighting for the wellbeing of someone I love far more than I love myself, and I am demonstrating that love in a very visible and meaningful way. I may not be going to be able to get it all right, fixed and as it should be, but I will try. In terms of relationship, that I tried will mean something even if I fail. I’m afraid of failing, but far more disturbed by the potential consequences of not stepping up.

Whatever else comes, I can hold that thought as a talisman. I chose this path, and I chose it because it was the right one, and I knew it wouldn’t be easy. Wherever it goes, I will walk it still possessed of my honour, still holding a sense of self that I need not feel any kind of shame over. I may not win through the next few days, but even if I fail at this round, I won’t give up – because that too would be an easy, dishonourable choice and I have chosen to be a person who does the right thing, irrespective of the trouble it causes me.

4 thoughts on “A matter of choice”

  1. Your writing touches my very soul. I am just starting out on my Path and already it has evoked the fears and guilt I still hold over past mistakes. Mistakes where I put my own comfort first, guilt when I did not do the right thing when I lost my honour and integrity. I think it is too late to put right some of the damage I have done. At the moment, I am at a loss to know the right way to proceed.
    Thank you Brynneth – at least now I know what I must try to do in the future however painful it may be.

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  2. Denarius, hun, letting go of that guilt is important too. We all make mistakes, recognising them is good, holding yourself to ransom over them doesn’t help. If there are places you can see scope for fixing things, then go for it. Sometimes just getting in touch with people to acknowledge where you wish it had been different can give all parties chance to mend and move on. Look back, and think about what you could realistically have done – not what you would want to have been able to do in an ideal world. And take that forward. Know for next time. We’re all works in progress, being on a path of any sort is a dedication to learning, and if you are learning, honouring the mistakes, making new and different ones, then you are on the path.

    And the thing is, no matter how painful the choices are, if you have the sense you are now acting honourably, it hurts a lot less than the other way – the short term solutions quite often do bring grief in the longer term.

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  3. The more I read of your writings, the more I see what a very wise lady you are, Brynneth, and what you say contains so much truth, which is companion to honour.
    I understand what you’re talking about, as there have been many times in my life when I’ve had to make very difficult decisions, but which I knew were the right ones. I knew I had no choice, but I still made the choice.
    I have done things which I knew were the right thing to do, yet at the same time I knew the repercussions and punishments I would be made to suffer would be great, and it was so. But, as the old saw goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and I was determined to survive in spite of, not because of. Many attempts were made to destroy me and break my spirit; attempts to eat me up with guilt.
    But I learned to look at things another way: what the alternative would have been if I hadn’t acted the way I did, and the unbearable future that would certainly lie ahead of me if I didn’t prevent it.
    The questions I had to ask myself; the safe option would have been to continue the way I had been and allow myself to sink unnoticed further and further into depression and despair, manipulated this way and that like a puppet with no will of my own, or to do something so radical and unexpected and unleash the equivalent of an atom bomb, the fallout from which would undoubtedly change the lives of those around me forever.
    I chose the latter, knowing full well what would ensue, and the next three years passed by in a blur of madness. However, it’s now 13 years later and my life is happy and stable now, and everything has settled down, not only for me, but for my adult children too.
    I have learned that one’s actions do not just affect oneself, but may also alter the life-paths of those around one, like tweaking one strand of a spider’s web so that the vibrations spread out and are felt by the whole. I was lucky that the eventual outcome was positive, but it taught me like nothing else could that we are all connected and that everything we do has an effect on someone or something else.
    However, it is said that you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, and again this follows the pattern of destruction in order to create something new, which is the way of the Universe and of life itself.
    The trick is, not to beat yourself up and suffer constant pangs of guilt over events past that cannot be changed. They’ve happened, and there’s no point in regrets. We just have to take on board the lessons learned and move on with head held high, because I believe we are sent these lessons for a reason, which is the path to enlightenment and an understanding of honour.

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