Have you ever made a really bad choice? Did you regret the decision for weeks or months later? Sometimes we take action based on impulse or emotion and don't spend much time thinking through our choices. Maybe we minimize the impact of our behavior or justify our actions. In some cases we realize that our choice is damaging, yet we choose it anyway. We sometimes are completely self-absorbed and show little regard for others. Our need for immediate gratification can cloud our judgement and block any sense of compassion or sensitivity to other's needs or emotions. Or, at our worst, we rationalize our behaviors and convince ourselves that no one will find out and no harm will be done. The damage can cause a ripple effect and impact others; however, the bulk of the damage is to our soul, character, and integrity.
Often people make bad choices when they are desperate and want to escape their pain, either real or perceived. In fact, some even inflict physical pain upon themselves to distract from emotional pain or to feel something/anything since they are emotionally numb and dead inside. Others may convince themselves that their destructive choices don't matter since they've given up. Some even feel that they deserve to be punished and choose destructive actions like a self-fulfilling prophecy. At times of weakness or vulnerability, we may subconsciously set ourselves up for failure due to our feelings of unworthiness. Obviously there are multiple variables that can contribute to our poor decision-making, and everyone has made choices in life they later regret that have negative consequences.
So how do we rectify our poor decision-making patterns? For starters, we need to believe we deserve to live a success-filled life and can learn to make good choices. We have to forgive ourselves for past mistakes and let go of the guilt, shame, and anger that may be self-directed and self-inflicted. Making amends to those we hurt and apologizing for our wrong-doings may be an important step in moving forward. When we understand why we got stuck in this pattern either through self-reflection or professional guidance, we can begin to break negative patterns and make positive changes. Only then will we be able to establish a game plan for change including goals and ways to monitor positive movement. Monitor your self-talk and practice using more encouraging, positive, and optimistic words about your ability to make changes. Sometimes having an accountability person, life coach, or mental health professional can provide insights and strategies to move forward. Rely on your faith to give you the courage, direction, and strength to alter the direction of your life. Thinking through our choices and making good decisions is not easy, but life can be much better when you accomplish it. Start today!