In Order To Be Happy, I Make Decisions

January 9, 2017

We are constantly making decisions, either consciously or unconsciously. We direct our path with the choices we make, from more mundane matters, like the movie we want to see at that time, to more relevant issues such as our beliefs, work, education, partner, etc. But to what extent are we aware of all these decisions we are making?

We make so many decisions that by the end of the day we already have them automated and are not aware of most of them. This is because our brain seeks to save energy and when making daily or trivial decisions it is activated in an intuitive and fast way.

Analyzing this theory of how our mind works in decision-making, led psychologist, Daniel Kahneman to win a Nobel Prize in economics in 2002 by doing a study on the rational and intuitive behavior of people.

Kahneman showed that our brain has two ways of making decisions. A faster way: intuitive and emotional (the one that we usually use) and another way that is slower: it involves effort and is rational. One way or another we are responsible for our decisions and it is something we cannot ignore.

“When we must make a choice and do not, that is also a choice.”

-William James-

How we are conditioned by our decisions

The decisions that we have automated are closely related to our experiences, the education we have received, the beliefs we have and the errors we have committed. And we are influenced by numerous factors that determine our behavior.

Do you think you are freely choosing the best thing for yourself at this moment? Most choices we make are based on our experience and the knowledge we have acquired. When we get carried away quickly and intuitively, we are not really taking into account what is best for us in the present moment.

Presently we are the product of the decisions we have been making. By choosing some behaviors and not others, we have obtained a series of experiences and habits that determine what we are at this very moment; in the here and now. We cannot deny the responsibility that this entails.

woman thinking about decisions-768x528

 “The great decisions of human life as a rule have much more to do with the instincts and other mysterious unconscious factors than with conscious will and a good sense of reasonableness.”

-Carl Gustav Jung-

Everything you decide has consequences

Responsibility is being aware that every decision we make, and we do not make, has consequences. And it is useless to remain indifferent to them because, one way or another, they will affect and influence us. We choose whether to be the protagonists of what we experience or just mere spectators.

Being aware of the implications and consequences of our decisions is how we take the reins of our existence. Even when we opt to avoid a decision, we are making one. We are being indifferent, remaining at the mercy of the circumstances, without taking any kind of action and ceasing to participate in our experience.

We complain about the kind of life we have, our unhappiness and the misfortunes that befall us. We use victimhood to resolve what we do not understand or to manipulate in order to try and get what we want. We make our lives a prison that we ourselves have created.

We can decide to have another life, where we set the rules by choosing how to behave to each circumstance and taking charge of the consequences, despite being invaded by fear, insecurities, uncertainty and guilt. If we fight all our ghosts we will get exactly the life we want, without regrets.

woman looking through the window

I choose to be happy

If what we really want is to be happy, we cannot stand there waiting for happiness to come by itself. Happiness is achieved by the attitude we take towards the unavoidable circumstances that arise in our lives. This is an effort because we have to make decisions that break the habits that feed into our deepest fears.

“Everything can be taken away from a man, except the last of the human freedoms: choosing one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own path. Can’t we change the situation? If it is not in your hands to change a situation that causes  you pain, you can always choose the attitude with which you can face that suffering.”

-Viktor Frankl-

I choose to be happy: I face my fears, I admit, accept and correct my mistakes to the extent that I can. I understand my insecurity, my needs, my anguish and my discomfort. I do not reject all that is part of me. I keep myself company in solitude, I release my sadness. I make decisions to avoid being a victim of circumstances and this is how I achieve the peace in which my happiness can rest.

 Emotional Responsibility

We are used to attributing responsibility for how we feel towards others or the situation, forgetting that it lies within us. See more