Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Your Reasons For Your Choices Affect Your Health
I have been reading social psychologist Erich Fromm's writing lately. He writes about having the courage and freedom to be ourselves:
“If other people do not understand our behavior—so what? Their request that we must only do what they understand is an attempt to dictate to us. If this is being "asocial" or "irrational" in their eyes, so be it. Mostly they resent our freedom and our courage to be ourselves. We owe nobody an explanation or an accounting, as long as our acts do not hurt or infringe on them. How many lives have been ruined by this need to "explain," which usually implies that the explanation be "understood," i.e. approved. Let your deeds be judged, and from your deeds, your real intentions, but know that a free person owes an explanation only to himself—to his reason and his conscience—and to the few who may have a justified claim for explanation.”
~ Erich Fromm, The Art of Being
The way we make our choices has a *LOT* to do with our health. We often make all of our choices based upon approval of others and consensus. While that is okay for small things, for important choices, everyone's input can end up forceful and coercive, such that we don't like the taste of our decision by the time we make it. When we make our own mind up, with nobody's approval, it will often be the very same decision that others would want us to make, but making our own choice feels more happy and free.
When the perspective for approaching my life got healthier, my weight correspondingly got better. Some people may be disappointed that I have been doing blog posts about enjoying music or making decisions from your own heart on a fitness blog! But I'm telling you that keeping 75 pounds off of my body is not due to willpower. It is due to a lifestyle change focused on self-love and self-respect.
Self-love calls me to choose beautiful music (last blog post) over fattening dessert. Self-love and self-respect call me to ask myself what my own heart wants, versus always going to the family with, "What does everyone think?" On important decisions, sometimes my heart's decision must win over the family consensus. I have made a decision this year based upon my heart's decision without approval or consensus, and it felt like a beautiful thing in my life. It was good for my soul.
Each of us is an individual, not just a part of the family collective. I am realizing that what I want to do and be in my life--as an individual--matters! Sometimes, I may not get complete approval or consensus, and I need to feel strongly enough about my decisions to be okay with that. And, when making that independent decision this year, it turned out that I felt *wonderful* about myself for it.
What do *you* think? Have you made any important decisions without seeking approval? Can you see how reasoning behind a decision can make a person happy, based upon wanting the decision, or unhappy, based upon people dicatating the decision? And of course, add your opinion and experiences. I'm interested to find out what you have to say about this topic.
Have the Courage to Be Yourself today!