Many of the problematic situations we find ourselves in are the result of the bad choices we have made in the past.
When Problems Persist. Are You Making Bad Choices?
Have you noticed that the same problems keep coming up in your relationships or at work?
Maybe you’re someone who keeps regaining the weight that you’ve lost or whose blood sugar is managed for a while but then invariably is out of control again?
Maybe you repeatedly experience bullying by your boss or colleagues? Maybe you keep choosing friends or a partner who treats you poorly?
Have you ever wondered why the same problems keep reoccurring in your personal and professional life?
There’s a very simple and straightforward answer to this: You’re making the same bad choices, over and over again.
So, if that’s the answer, how do you solve the problem? Well, the solution is also simple, but it takes some work.
To get out of the repeating cycle of problematic situations in your life, you need to be making choices from the part of your brain that is logical, practical and reasonable, as opposed to the part that’s impulsive, irrational, self-critical and impractical.
Think of the brain as being theoretically divided into the adult, child and parent parts.
The adult part is the logical, rational part whose decisions make a lot of sense. The child part is the primitive, impulsive part whose decisions are all about what’s familiar, what’s easiest and what feels best at the moment; the parent part is the critical voice that tells you what you “should” do and fills you with guilt, shame, obligation, and self-doubt.
When the child part or parent part of your brain is in charge of making your choices, you’re going to keep creating problems for yourself. The child part takes the comfortable path of least resistance, choosing the same thing over and over because it’s what she knows and what seems easiest at the time.
When the parent part is in charge, it strips away your confidence and undermines your sense of self-worth, so your choices are based on avoiding rejection and failure rather than pursuing connection and success.
When this parent part of your brain is in charge, you feel insecure and inadequate, so you consistently make choices out of fear and avoidance, rather than bringing your best self to the decision-making process.
The solution is to get the adult part of your brain to be the chief decision-maker.
Just like you wouldn’t want a five-year-old running your business, or a super-critical parent running your personal life, you need to have the best part of you in charge of all your choices.
The way to get the adult in the driver’s seat of your decision-making is to silence the critical, undermining parent-part of the brain and take responsibility for putting the child-part of the brain in its proper place at the background of your psyche.
This process of bringing the adult to the forefront as your chief decision-maker might take some time to accomplish.
If you’ve been stuck for a while making the same bad choices, or if the choices you’ve been making are really problematic for you, it could mean that you’d do better with some help in this process.
You might want to engage the services of a coach, counselor or therapist to help you consolidate the rational, practical adult part of your brain as the one who’s making the important choices in your life.
Even if it takes some time, effort and expense, if it enables you to make the right kinds of choices — ones who bring you happiness and success in your personal and professional life — don’t you think it’s worth it?
Marcia Sirota MD FRCP(C) is a board-certified psychiatrist, that does not ascribe to any one theoretical school. Rather, she has integrated her education and life experiences into a unique approach to the practice of psychotherapy. She considers herself a realist with a healthy measure of optimism. Sign up here for her free monthly wellness newsletter.