Thursday, September 3, 2015

Do bad decisions really make you a bad person?

Blaming people for bad decisions or choices is all the rage of the Rightwing and the New Age Movement. After all, you attract everything that happens to you. You are responsible for everything that happens to you.
However, the actual process of making decisions can be flawed and that little fact is overlooked. You simply may not have all the facts or information to make what could be called an informed decision, but that assumes you are sitting here, all nice and calm sipping your coffee or tea and have access to the Internet to check your facts. There are four factors that can really mess with your decisions that you probably have never even thought about and are lurking around your brain right this moment waiting to pounce on you.
I am going to explain them in no particular order as they are all equally nasty little problems.
Many decisions are made in anger. Anger has a way of reducing you to reacting to a situation the way you learned to from your parents before they knew you could even understand them. Anger is well defined by the old adage, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Most people are not in touch enough with their feelings to understand when anger is being misdirected, much like the man who beats his wife because his boss reamed him out or the person who breaks things and then has to fix them or buy new ones. Anger tends to be the final expression of fear and helplessness. Anger is the man who marries a woman half his age because he is upset with his previous wife remarrying and discovers he not only has nothing in common with her but just lost half of everything he has worked his life to get. See, another of those bad decisions that he will shake his head and have no explanation for because after all, he is a captain of industry. Anger is eating a gallon of ice cream because the boss yelled at you and then needing new clothes because you keep gaining weight which puts you in so much debt you can't meet the bills or look for another job, because now the world says you are fat, lazy slob.
Other decisions are made in fear of something. Fear has a way of producing tunnel vision and even though there are perfectly legitimate options sitting in front of you, you can't see them. All you see is the biggest opening to escape the fear. Fear is when you have more bills than money and start borrowing from one source to pay the second which you will borrow from next month to pay the second and being so paralyzed that you never resolve the real problem. Fear is put a bandage on it so you can't see the problem or solution and you'll deal with it next month. Unfortunately, fear keeps getting bigger and so does the problem and of course, when someone comes along and looks at it from that nice calm perspective you have no answer for why you made such lousy decisions and are now in way over your head. Fear is the poor couple I worked their engagement party who really weren't in love with each other, had been pushed into dating since Middle School because they were perfect for each other and now had families that had spent a small fortune on the upcoming wedding that they desperately didn't want to go through with but were afraid to say anything. That is how you can't explain why you are divorcing five years later when you now hate each other.
Panic is fear on Meth. Panic is what causes you to jump off a cliff and forget the one thing you pretty much figured out at birth: gravity. More relationships have begun in panic and ended nastily a few days later than you can imagine. This is how you wind up in the wrong profession, the wrong job, the wrong home, the wrong anything you can imagine and then can't figure out how because no one wants to admit fear or panic drove them off the cliff so you just hang in there for the rest of your miserable life. I spent a couple of days at a company that had more rules than you can imagine about what one could and could not have at their desk. You could not have any liquids, not even bottled water, nothing breakable, no pictures, no plants, nothing. I think they were moving to outlawing papers though they were at that time necessary to the work of accounting. The reasoning was always the worst case of the water shorting out the adding machine, ruining the receipts, cutting yourself on broken glass and so forth. The real problem was everyone would panic the moment the boss opened his office door and become clumsy in a blind panic. So everyone got to work in conditions that were awful because of this person and thankfully I was a temp but for them, the pay was good, the place was close to home and a million other justifications for this state of affairs. The truth was they were afraid to quit.
The last one is perhaps the most common cause of really bad life decisions on a daily and hourly basis. It is pain. Yes, it is just plain old pain and exhaustion. It is the headache that has you going through the drive through every day rather than eating a healthy dinner that you just can't face cooking. The backache that has you forgoing housework and becoming more and more of a recluse because of the mess. It is the acid reflux that has you dropping out of class because you double over every time the professor enters the room. It is an exhaustion that keeps you from doing anything you want to and finally giving up on life. Then one day you fall and call emergency services and they try to dig you out of the mess and you wind up trying to explain to a social worker how this happened. It seems pretty silly to say, “I had a headache from the stress at work and started getting dinner at the drive through, gained 100 pounds which made me ache all over and I couldn't do any housework and it just got worse as I got sicker,” because the first thing they are going to say is, “why didn't you go on a diet and join a gym or get another job?” I know it was because the headache just wore you out and you didn't have enough energy to do that but asking for help, well then we are back to explaining to the JUDGES why you didn't take some pills and soldier on rather than driving home with a bag of food designed to kill you, putting your feet up and trying to get enough rest to make it to work the next day. All you could see is you needed that job even if, and somehow you didn't see this part; it kills you. The prime motivation with pain as a companion to any decision is reducing the pain. Need new shoes; see if you can get away with loafers because your head hurts. Need new clothes; try to get away with sweats because your back hurts. Chop your hair off because it is too hard to wash and blow dry it. Everything is based not on dressing for success and getting that promotion but to eliminate some of the pain. BUT you aren't living up to your potential! No, you are living down to your survival.
Yes, it is easy to make good decisions if these four little things don't insert themselves between you and all those choices to where your decision is based not on the problem but these things. And this is why people make bad decisions when the good decision seems so obvious to the Judge Parties. So sip your coffee or tea and laugh and blame but I can guarantee, those four demons will eventually nail you.

It is easy to change your life, when you have a solid foundation to fall back on if something goes wrong but when every aspect of your life and those looking to you for support depends on YOU maintaining the support structure bad decisions will follow because the four horsemen of the bad decisions are galloping toward you and you can see them.

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