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Choice Theory - Are you in control?

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posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 06:35 AM
I learned something from Choice Theory (Dr. William Glasser)... If you are in mental pain, you are choosing it.

People say, "You hurt me by saying that!" In reality, the one saying that they have been hurt has chosen to feel hurt. Though we cannot control our emotions directly, we CAN control them by controlling what we think about and how we are thinking about it.

For example, one might hear something someone says and think, That person doesn't like me. And then... They may say, "You hurt me by saying that!" Or...

They can hear it, feel the pain momentarily (for there is about 2 seconds in which there is no control, only reaction), but then think, Maybe they don't like me, but even if they don't, I don't care. I can just move on. They may ask, "Why do you say it THAT way?" or, "What gave you that idea?" And so on.

So when one is in mental anguish, one may ask oneself, Why am I choosing to think about this this way? Or, simply, Why am I choosing to think about this?

From that point, one can think about something else, or find a more comforting way of thinking about the issue at hand.

One issue many deal with is chemical addiction... Many depressives, for example, are addicted to the chemicals depression produces. But, by always asking oneself WHY one is CHOOSING to feel (by choosing one's thoughts) a given mental pain, one will gain greater control.

When I first encountered the theory, I struggled against it, insisting that *I* "had no control over some things!" And, of course, that is true as far as what is outside of me. But I didn't want to take responsibility for what was INside of me. Yet as I thought about it, I came to conclude that taking responsibility was both fully justified AND possible.

When I came to accept that responsibility, I discovered an astonishing freedom. I cannot tell you how freeing it was - but when you reach that point (and you may have already...) you will know exactly what I am speaking of.

I know when I start to feel depressed, it is AMAZING how quickly I recover when I ask myself, Why am I choosing to depress?

Sometimes I get answers (like, my daughter is 3000 miles away and I can't get her back yet, as I have no money... And then I can start thinking about the fact that she is being fed organic whole foods, going to a school with an emphasis on math and science (when she was 4 she looked at me and said, "Mommy, math is EASY!" - I'm hoping she still thinks that when she hits calc and trig!), and is loved and cared for; the depression lifts), and sometimes I don't get an answer, but instead, the depression lifts anyway.

It is an awesome tool to take responsibility, fully and wholeheartedly, for one's own behavior. Most will say, "You made me do it!" I say, "I choose to do it, based on your input."

Interesting thing... No one has "control" of what is outside of themselves. The best we can hope for is influence. When we pick something up, we are highly influencing the object we pick up... But sometimes our influence falters and the object falls. If we were controlling it, it would never fall.

The ONLY thing we control (if we choose to) is our behavior. Most are taught that others control them (thus comments like "You made me do that..."), which is sad, really. When one is taught that others are in control, one is more readily influenced. And thus... We have the world we live in, with most of the people looking to others to solve their anguish.

And it is this the NWO and others use against us. They know that promising that they will "take care of" the problems (that they mostly have created in the first place), they can get by with awesome amounts of influence.

So ask yourself, the next time you are feeling poorly...why you are making that choice.

[edit on 10/1/2008 by Amaterasu]

posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 08:46 AM
Star and Flag. I whole heartedly agree here. Given that everyone is different and has different brain chemistry but as a whole, the human brain works the same.

I went through a very hard time in my life, and during the ordeal, I somehow changed the way I act and feel. Its almost like I am emotionless to anything but positives. Very fortunate to me as negative emotions play no role in anything positive. Now, all I feel as far as I can tell is slight happyness, hope and anger (not revenge anger, just the type you get after you drop and break that $120 bottle of wine)

posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 10:50 AM
Not trying to offend but it sounds more like new age BS to me. A computer does not choose to be slow it is slowed by the garbage we program into it.

Same with us. We are the sum of our input. So yes when that person tells you you are garbage he/she programs you to be garbage. Lucy for us we have legs and can choose to walk away from the garbage programmer to seek out a good programmer.

Well that's my opinion any way.

posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 11:07 AM

posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 11:07 AM

posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 12:15 PM

Originally posted by angryamerican
Not trying to offend but it sounds more like new age BS to me. A computer does not choose to be slow it is slowed by the garbage we program into it.

Same with us. We are the sum of our input. So yes when that person tells you you are garbage he/she programs you to be garbage. Lucy for us we have legs and can choose to walk away from the garbage programmer to seek out a good programmer.

Well that's my opinion any way.

Far from being "new age," this is a theory Dr. Glasser came to based on his studies of how people think about things, and the biochemical responses in the body. When my father passed in '96, I used the theory to great benefit. Whenever I began thinking about his death, I took on a task that required concentration and thinking about the task itself.

And in the end, I suffered far less than I would have if I just curled up and wallowed in the thoughts and sadness.

I would ask myself why I was choosing to think about his death (and not all the good times), taking responsibility for what I was thinking (and therefore feeling). I learned to avoid thinking about the death, and very soon was coping just fine.

Sure there were moments I was overcome with grief, but I did not find myself unable to get out of those moments, nor was I incapacitated.

I recommend you check it out. [smile]

posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 12:32 PM
I use this tool too and have only really appreciated it in recent years and now use it consciously, most of the time. I say most of the time because sometimes it can be difficult to shift my thoughts and they just keep wondering back to the negative one. However, most of the time I can do the mental shift and it really does work.

As you say it comes down to knowing that 'I' am in control of me. I can choose to let someone, or something, get me down, or not. My grandad taught me this, as a game, when I was only a little girl. He always made sure I knew that I was in control of my life and I always had my own choices.

He also taught me how taking responsibility was really important. If I made a mistake then I had to recognise that so that I wouldn't do it again and then rather than dwelling on the mistake I'd move on - either correcting it or just moving on to something else entirely.

My grandad died 12 years ago and it was probably around that time that a lot of what he'd patiently taught me began to really make sense and I began to consciously use the knowledge. I thank him everyday for sharing his knowledge with me.

posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 01:05 PM

Originally posted by angryamerican
Not trying to offend but it sounds more like new age BS to me. A computer does not choose to be slow it is slowed by the garbage we program into it.

Computers do not have meta-programs that get to decide what it is or is-not programmed with. Humans do. You can choose what mental "software" you are running by your better judgment at any given moment you so desire, something computers have absolutely no capability of doing so far.

I can analyze my thoughts and decide when something is not serving my best interests, whether it be a way of thinking or certain actions of mine, etc.

Btw, if computers had that kind of autonomy, they would stop serving as tools of ours and literally become artificial intelligence that could become independent of us.

[edit on 1-10-2008 by bsbray11]

posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 06:07 PM
reply to post by Maya00a

Thank you for your post. I am happy you had such a wise grandfather; his lessons are worth far more than those who don't want to believe they are in control will ever know.

You are a lucky person to have had those lessons in your life. [smile]

posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 06:11 PM
reply to post by bsbray11

I am glad to see so many who have grasped this, and thank you as well for your post. Choosing where and how we focus our thoughts is a most powerful tool indeed.

Personally, I think it is no longer a "theory," Choice Theory. I have enough data to suggest that it is Choice Reality. [smile] Maybe I'll write Dr. Glasser and tell him he needs to change the name...

posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 06:13 PM
reply to post by Snift

I didn't forget you. Was rushed earlier. [grin]

Thank you, too. Your input is valuable as one who understands and uses Choice Theory (whether you call it that or not...) As I said above, I am quite pleased at the number of people who have grasped this.

posted on Oct, 4 2008 @ 09:29 AM
In the movie Fight Club, Pitt's character utters a phrase something to the effect of, 'to have the ability to let that which does not matter, truly slide.'

This is a philosophy I've held for quite some time.

If it didn't originate with you, it doesn't belong to you, so let it go.

Somehow I see a connection to the 'how often are we offended by not being offered something we don't really want anyway' question.

Thanks, Amaterasu.

posted on Oct, 4 2008 @ 10:00 AM

Originally posted by angryamerican
A computer does not choose to be slow it is slowed by the garbage we program into it.

First, this is a great thread, and really addresses a core mystery.

Are we really like computers? Or is there something quite different between a computer and the human mind?

I think a great case can be made for both sides of the argument about whether we have a choice or are simply guided by fate to whatever destiny we arrive at. This really is a thread about "free will".

When you make a choice: was that choice preprogrammed by complex circumstances, and unalterable? It may be that the conclusion you come to could never be otherwise, just like the complex outcome forces that guide a ball into the slot of a roulette wheel. In that case, we don't have a choice. (We think we have a choice, because we don't know the outcome in advance, because we don't know the future.)

On the other hand, not knowing the nature of time or the future, or the mechanism of thought and consciousness, it may be (and certainly appears to be) true that we shape events based upon our free will. We can't compare the human mind to a computer at all.

So which is it? Is there free will? Don't know -- but I will definitely check out Dr. Glasser.

Thanks! This thread has a lot of great opinions.

posted on Oct, 4 2008 @ 10:39 AM
I agree whole-heartedly with what the OP has said. I learned life is about perception, feelings are a result of my thoughts and thoughts are within my power to control. There are an infinite amount of examples that can be used so I will only use one.

You apply for a job. You get the interview. You do not get the job. You can feel:

a)Angry because they obviously don't see talent when the encounter it, or the interviewer was biased.

b)Rejected as you felt your experience makes you qualified for the job so they were rejecting you as a person.

c)Determined to go out and show prove them wrong.

d)Confident as you know you did a good job but another candidate had just a little more experience.

e)Hopeless as this was the hundredth job you had applied for and can't get hired anywhere.

f)Relieved as you think one door closes for another one to be opened.

My point is, is your perception, i.e., thoughts about the event determine your feelings about the event. It is a hard thing to start doing, controlling your emotions, because I was convinced that feelings were automatic. But when I started to pay attention to what I was thinking about the situation when a certain feeling arose, I came to understand that thoughts are automatic, are the primary mover of emotion. Armed with this knowledge I have been a lot less frusterated and angry person.

posted on Oct, 4 2008 @ 12:17 PM
I was thrilled to open this thread and see what it was!
Starred and flagged!

My husband and I have been thinking along these lines for years now. We took classes (starting in 1995) that explained this very concept, along with many other aspects of responsibility (our ability to respond) and total accountability for our feelings and what takes place in our lives (that which I attract to me)... As you can see from the "jargon", I have remembered the tools well over the years and they have served me in every aspect of my life!

I attribute most of my happiness and success in life (which is abundant) to the tools I discovered and the power I learned I have in those classes.

My husband and I never say "you make me feel... " or "that makes me feel..." It seems to be a simple language rule, but it's much more than that. It has become a complete habit to take full responsibility of what we draw into our lives and what we do with it - Our ability to respond to what happens in the world and in our lives.

As someone who lives with chronic pain, I really appreciate these tools.

I am pleasantly surprised to find so many other people are thinking along the same lines. We're going to need this kind of thinking in the future.

Thanks for posting this! You explained it so well.

posted on Oct, 5 2008 @ 04:30 PM
Nice thread...

My instant thoughts are in agreement with a lot of what you've said.

The choices we make determine the whole route our lives may take on the many open paths layed before us.

What seems like a difficult decision to one person may be something simple to another. For the wise and enlightened, these decisions become part of the subconcious and allow the individual to lead a more stress-free and positive life due to the surplus energy available for other things.

Knowing what is important also clarifies the options for any given what have I got to lose.....should I be prepared to make a mistake, how big and at what cost.

Question is, do you trust yourself enough to take your own advice?

posted on Oct, 5 2008 @ 04:56 PM
Dr. Glasser theory is Reality Therapy.
I am responsible for my
Spiritual maturity and growth, my emotional maturity and growth, my mental maturity and growth, and my responsibility = my ability to respond.
Irresponsible= I have the ability to respond and choose to not respond.
Unresponsible= I do not have the ability to respond and cannot choose to respond based on not having an ability to do so.
Responsible= I have the ability to respond and do choose to respond.
Latin: bind oneself; promise, pledge

posted on Dec, 17 2008 @ 02:02 PM
Well... If there is a function that will send me emails when I get replies to my threads, I haven't found it. LOL!

My computer crashed and I lost track of this thread, failing to check my profile-y stuff.

Thanks to all of you above for your input and general agreement. It heartens me to know that many understand that we choose our behavior.

As was said, this view will become progressively more important as we move into the immediate future.

Thanks again!

posted on Dec, 17 2008 @ 04:27 PM
Very good post. I agree 100%. It is all inside of us. When we get angry definetly or feel emotional pain, but also when we laugh and when we love. Nobody made you do those things. They were inside of you, you made them happen. When you felt happy that wasn't because you got your external factors situated, it was because of something inside of you.

Something outside might have to happen in order for these feelings to arise, but they are coming from inside and yes they are a choice.

posted on Dec, 18 2008 @ 12:31 PM
Thank you, Novise.

I am hoping that more people will grasp the fact that, unlike what they are conditioned to believe, they have far more control of their behavior than they see at the moment. This can only lead to good things.

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