I can relate to where she’s coming from. I watched her sabotage herself all last semester by choosing to do things that didn’t help her at all, and that ended up hurting her pretty constantly. When I watch kids do things like that, I can see myself in many different times in my life, making decision after decision that were more harmful than helpful to me. I would decide to say certain things that ended up hurting others, I would decide not to go to certain events and end up losing a chance to meet other people, or I would decide not to take risks and end up missing out on some pretty cool things. I could decide to buy something on credit even though I knew I wouldn’t have the money. I sometimes decided to put off important things in favor of doing something else that was much less beneficial to me.
I don’t say these things to chastise myself, but just to help myself to keep in mind the importance of the decisions that we make. In my case, it became very important to me to develop some guidelines for my decisions–and once those guidelines were in place, many decisions became much easier. Some guidelines are very simple. If something will be harmful to someone else, then I can’t do it. If I would need to compromise my principles just for some sort of gain for myself, I won’t do it. Other guidelines are more complicated–and almost impossible to describe in words.
The bottom line for me is that I’m coming closer to not making any decisions without being conscious of two things: first, that I definitely have a decision to make, and second, that my decisions will cause results. This awareness has helped me to make my decisions more carefully rather than just automatically–almost by rote–deciding things arbitrarily or capriciously. And it has improved my quality of life as well as the lives of those people who are affected by my decisions. I just have to look at my students who are still making bad decisions because they’re still unaware of the concept of decisions having consequences, and I realize that I’m very fortunate to be conscious of most of the decisions that I make.
Nothing is more difficult, and therefore
more precious, than to be able to decide.