Do you make your own choices?
Decisions, decisions. We all make an abundance of them in a single day; important, life changing, and sometimes insignificant ones. Generally, we are influenced to make certain decisions by the world around us, whether it be the media, in school, our families and friends, and even complete strangers. Every day, we are exposed to either intentional or unintentional advertising and day after day we lose a bit of ourselves because of it. Ever ‘binge watched’ a sitcom with characters who drank lots of coffee throughout each episode and then you start thinking about how much you could really use a cup of joe? Or what about that time all your friends bought new cars and you started to second guess your 1998 Toyota?
Not only do we change what we think, be we change who we are.
I feel like we can attribute others making decisions for us because we are such impressionable beings. I will admit that I am an easily impressionable person. I’d like to think that I am not alone and most people are. Whenever I witness the life of a coworker or friend, I ask myself, “Am I doing something wrong?”, “Should I be doing that too?” When I was drowning myself in the banking world because my coworkers were doing the same thing, I felt like I should continue to suffer. We were making decent money, our hours gave us the weekend off, and the job was secure with the opportunity to move up within the company. I’m embarrassed to say that I was letting the people around me make my career decisions. And it was even more relevant when people would commend me for working for this company and ‘securing my future’ this way.
It also happened when I decided to cut all of my hair off two years ago. There are hundreds of YouTube videos and forums showing women with natural hair instructing ‘methods’ using five or more hair products at a time to achieve certain manipulated looks. As a newcomer to this community of women, I fed into it blindly for a about a week or two… until I recalled the person I really am. I am not a ‘product junkie’ and truly am put off by the harmful chemicals we have been told we need to maintain self care. Which led me to stop using shampoo and all commercial beauty products (possible future post?).
Scrolling online is another way for people to become susceptible to other lifestyles or trends. Scrolling is probably one of the worse forms of brain washing. It’s not enough that we still have print media, television and billboards, but now we have advertising at our fingertips whenever and wherever we want it. When we scroll, we are literally being fed information at large amounts at a time in one moment.
I must add that there is a difference between being impressionable by what you are exposed to and being inspired.
Inspiration, stimulation, motivation. The media available to us can be used in incredible and positive ways. I think we should make that conscious choice to utilize it in that fashion. It certainly helped me when I decided to start my journey. I connected with some amazing people who encouraged my growth.
Making conscious decisions means being fully aware of our choices throughout life. It is important for us to recognize the real reason for the decisions we make by cultivating our knowledge of self. Knowledge of self or self-awareness refers to an individual recognizing the person they truly are and aspire to be. This article explains the development and importance of self-awareness flawlessly:
I think it begins with being self aware and checking in with yourself before falling. Try asking yourself those honest questions. Do I even like coffee? My car is perfectly fine and reliable, why would I need a new one? Yes, I’m following status quo by securing my future with this corporate job, but am I happy?
Feel free to express yourself. What are your thoughts? Have you ever experienced others making decisions for you? How did you identify what was happening? What was your process to bring yourself back?