People’s capacity to make life-affirming choices is directly affected by their awareness. The more self-aware people are about why they do what they do, how they really feel, what their needs are, etc., the greater range of choices they have to make in any situation. For those individuals who are less aware, the choices that are available for them to make are much more limited.
When trying to understand why people do what they do, this relationship between awareness and choice is very helpful to consider. In our hurt or frustration, it is easy to assume that others could have made a better choice if they wanted. Along this same line of thinking, we often create a story that if only we were more lovable, people would choose to treat us differently. It’s also common to think that if we are able to make a different choice, then other people are also capable of the same thing.
However, this is often not the case. Since one’s awareness directly impacts his/her capacity to make choices, some people are limited in their ability to make different choices. As a general rule, people are making the best choices that are available to them based on their level of awareness.
Understanding people’s limitations in the realm of choice does not mean that they are not responsible for the negative consequences of their actions. Regardless of one’s level of awareness, everyone is responsible for what they create. It is also important that people have space and support to process any painful experiences they have had in relationship with others who have limited awareness. In some situations, it may be healthier to drastically change or even end a relationship with someone who has limited access to better choices.
With that being said, it is still helpful to understand the relationship between awareness and choice because it can help people release hurtful feelings that often arise when they are not able to clearly see a person’s limitations. When we can see that people make choices based on their awareness, as opposed to getting stuck in judgment and bitterness, this shift releases suffering and opens us up to new ways of seeing that are grounded in truth and well-being.
With gratitude ~ Erin Stohl