Life throws us many choices at different times. When we pass school, we have a choice of college. After college, we have a choice of jobs. And so on. How we take decisions based on these choices decide what future results we will reap, and the consequences we might have to bear. All choices can be broadly classified into two types, one with multiple options and one without such privilege.
Let me explain further. Decisions like choosing a college or a job, or buying new shoes are the ones where we have multiple choices. We might choose between two or more colleges, and then based on some reasons and criteria, we decide on one. In such choices, we actually use our rational minds, measure the pros and cons of each option, and then choose the one which suits us better. For example – when I had to buy my bike, I took a look at Bullet, Thunderbird, Machismo and the Bajaj Avenger. Then, based on criteria like money, reason of buying, my ability to handle the bike, I decided which one to buy and went ahead and bought the Royal Enfield Thunderbird.
But life presents us with another kind of a choice too. The one where there is only one option. Yes, you read it right. Only one option. And we have to choose it, whether we like it or not, whether our reasons or criteria are met or not. There is no other way. If we choose it, we can be happy for what life has given us, be glad for it and look ahead into the future. If we don’t accept it, we can keep fighting with ourselves or with life, but there is no way out as there is no other option.
Now if I have confused you, that was not my intention. Let me explain by giving an example. Some of us are born in rich households, some of us in poor. When we are born, life says “Here are your parents, choose them!!”. It doesn’t present you options of what kind of parents you want, so that you can choose between a few of them. There is only one option, whether you like it or not. Now it is up to us to accept it or not, but that doesn’t change anything?
You might say that this is not a choice. It is something fixed which we can’t change, and I can’t put it under choices. You might even say that a choice is only when we have multiple options. My take is that even here there are two options, to accept it or not to do so. However this acceptance doesn’t change anything as we can’t change what life has chosen for us. The only thing our acceptance changes is how we move ahead in the future.
The most difficult choices are those when there is only one option for us
Let me give one more example. My mom is a cancer patient. I didn’t want her to have cancer. Nobody would. But life threw this at me, “Your mother has cancer. Choose!“. That shook me, and I couldn’t accept it at all. How can this happen to me? How can this happen to my mother? I blamed one and all, got angry and frustrated, and just couldn’t believe what all was happening? I believewe all have been in such situations where we don’t know what hit us. And we don’t know how to react. Why? Because there is no other option!!
Yes, no other option. Life has chosen this option for us, and presented us with a choice to accept it or not. But the option (cancer and our parents) is ours to keep. We can do nothing to change that. We can give reasons, fight or blame whomever we want, but we can’t choose another option as there is none. The only option we have is to accept it or not. And we must choose, even in this case. Let me explain why?
When I could not choose the fact that my mother has cancer, I was angry, frustrated, sad and dejected at the same time. This doesn’t change the reality a bit, but it impacted me, my surroundings and the people around me. All this frustration might have been coming out of my want to have a good life and caring for my mother, but it ended up doing the opposite. By being resentful, I only made things worse. For myself, and for others around me.
It took me a long time to finally choose this. And when I did, there were no questions like why or how to answer. There was complete freedom. Now I am able to spend quality time with my mother (knowing that it might be scarce), and also am able to find the best possible treatment option for her. But all that was not possible until I had completely chosen it. There was a new found peace, and all the things which mattered to me, my health, joy in life and giving my best to my mother, all automatically fell into place.
It might be difficult to grasp as a concept, but it is a fact. Sometimes life will take away a loved one, sometimes you will suddenly meet an accident and suffer heavy injuries, and the best we can do at that time is to happily choose them with faith.
That doesn’t mean that I would want myself to get injured, or want a loved one to die, but at the same time, it is only wise to realize when life has made a choice for us. There is only one way we can move ahead in life and that is by choosing such choices. Or else we will be stuck in life while time moves on, and this causes friction. And this friction shows up as anger, sadness, blame and resentment. Choose it and you will be free and start moving ahead with peace and freedom.