This is an excerpt from Tara’s upcoming book Speaking Truth; Words that Matter co-author, John Glass. More details can be found at www.SpeakingTruthTheBook.com
“If you don’t have a plan for yourself you will end up being a part of someone else’s” –Jim Rohn
“It is much easier to act yourself into a way of feeling than to feel yourself into a way of acting.”
Many of us wonder what we are meant to be doing with our lives. We wait for some sort of emotional sign to tell us that we’ve found the right path in life. Some people do have a certainty about the direction they want to go. They are the lucky few who just know what their life is for. The rest of us search for our place in this world or just go along with the plans others have for us.
But we are given only so much time on this planet and we each have to decide how we want to spend that time.
Henry David Thoreau said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”
It is a common mistake to wait for the “right” feeling before you make a decision. That may happen. Or it may not, keeping you rooted in place while you wait for what may never come. Love, for instance, is all too commonly misunderstood as an emotional state. We want the fireworks and the “chemistry” to be the indication of who we should choose to be with. And when the emotional state changes or fluctuates we fear our love has died. But in fact, love is not an emotion. Love is a decision.
That’s a big left-turn from where most people sit so I’m going to say that again:
Love is not an emotion. Love is a decision. It’s a decision you make every day to act in someone else’s best interest. You don’t always feel the sparkle. That comes and goes. But you DECIDE that each day you will make the choices that support the well-being of your spouse, your children, your students, etc. We don’t always feel like cleaning up after a sick child. But we make the decision to do it because that is the logical extension of our love for them.
“Love is not a feeling. Love is the will to extend yourself for your own or another’s spiritual growth and well-being.” -Dr. M. Scott Peck
The same holds true for personal choices of career and lifestyle. Yes, there ought to be a balance between what your rational brain tells you needs to be done and the life choices that will affirm the spiritual and creative sides of your being. But those are also a product of your own understanding of who you are – an acknowledgement of the gifts you’ve been given. Not a surrender to an emotional state that may or may not have any connection to real world circumstances.
I knew a man who use to make decisions based on whatever popped into his mind first. He thought there must be something magical about that first thought because it came along with a feeling of discovery. That feeling trapped him into many foolish decisions and he continued to pay the price for his bad choices until he gave up the notion that it always has to “feel” right.
It all comes down to deciding what’s really important for you to accomplish before you die. Picture yourself on your deathbed looking back at the course of your life. What will you wish you had done with the time you were given here? I don’t mean take a cruise to Greece or play the harp. I’m talking about the activities that connect us to our communities. Things we can do that make the world a little better place to be. When you define what that is and decide to act on it then you will know you’ve found your path. And the better choices seem to be those that involve us in something larger than ourselves.
Another reason many of us don’t see our way clearly is the fear that we will be making the wrong choice. But there are very few choices that are so irrevocable that we cannot change our minds and say, “Well, I tried that and it wasn’t right. I’ll try something else now.” It is not unusual to reinvent yourself over and over as you grow and learn and change.
You only have one life. Figure out what is most important to you and you’ll know how you want to spend the time you’ve been given.
“The choice may have been wrong but the choosing was not.”
“Where your talents and the world’s needs intersect, there lies your vocation.” -Barbara J. Winter
One thought on “Life, Love and Passionate Choices”
beautifully written…thank you