Making Growth Choices instead of Fear Choices – Article number 3 in Self Transcendence Behavior Series based on the work of Abraham Maslow
We hope that all the choices we make move us toward personal growth and away from fear. However, the Law of Attraction states that Like Attracts Like. It is our current energy state that creates the energy we experience in the future. But often when we make a choice we tell ourselves is for our own growth while being in a state of fear. And what we attract is just what we feared.
How do we tell when a choice is coming from Growth of Fear?
Growth Choices give us a “tingle” of excitement, a feeling of “this is right”! Often growth choices are not “planned out”. They are spontaneous and follow our deepest feelings. After we’ve made a growth choice there may be a moment of excited doubt, when we laugh at ourselves and our actions. We find ourselves saying “OK, I did this. Now what do I do?” and laughing!
Years ago I was living in Augusta, GA. I had just finished my Doctoral Degree at University of Georgia. My dissertations was titled “Development and Learning for Transformation”. I thought I was going to continue working as a faculty member at Medical College of Georgia. Then a growth decision occurred. I “felt” that to move on I needed to resign my faculty position, which I did. A couple of weeks later, I was driving down Bobby Jones Expressway and noticed a sign in the window of a store. I pulled in and the owner was present. I look around at the store, looked at the owner, and said “I’ll take it” and handed her a check. Then I drove home with a wry smile on my face, wondering what I had just done. In fact, it turns out, I had just opened the first metaphysical store in Augusta, Georgia. Over the course of the next few years we offered books and services for Well Being. Music and Classes and Workshops brought the community together and allowed our participants to explore their own versions of Self Healing and Well Being. I had made a Growth Choice.
Years after that, my husband Charlie and I made another Growth Choice and purchased land in the Mountains of North Carolina. But instead of honoring that choice, we panicked and began to make a series of fear choices. “Money, we need money” we said. So instead of developing the land, we both found jobs we didn’t like, but paid good money. We worked these jobs about 3 years, exhausting ourselves, and then were fired (we had never been fired before in our lives!). Instead of looking at the land and what we wanted to do (growth choice), we immediately found new jobs that paid good money and began to work again exhausting ourselves (fear choice). Once again, after a time, we were both fired from these second jobs. And we woke up and looked at the land. Finally, in growth choices, we build a Labyrinth on the Land and opened at store and website, which are going strong 20 years later!
Fear Choices are made in a state of panicked “what if”. In that state we stop trusting ourselves and the Universe and begin to imagine worse case scenarios. These images take over. The more we send energy to “I’ve got to do this or that will occur and ruin me”, the more we attract just what we feared. We know, we’ve been there! Our advice? Be mindful of your energy, your feelings when making choices. Is there a feeling of dread, or hopelessness about a choice? Is there a feeling of sacrifice, of martyrdom? Do you find yourself saying “I should do this so ____ (blank) will approve of me, or like me, or even love me” Or even, I’ve done this all my life and its too late to change now”.
No Choice is Truly Bad unless we Make it That Way.
It is possible to make a choice out of fear and then grow. A bad job may teach us that we never again will belittle anyone. A bad relationship may teach us that never again will be belittle d ourselves. When this occurs, growth choices help us move away from just tolerating life into living life with joy and abundance. The bottom line is, the more we are aware of our own energy, the more we can monitor our choices, and the more we can choose growth and feel grateful of our choices.
Tips for Making Growth Choices
The next time you need to make a major (or even minor) choice, sit a minute and breathe. Take 3 or 4 deep breaths. Ask yourself “Am I ready to make a choice now?” If no, stop and come back to it later. If yes, choose and see how you feel. Are you relieved that you made the choice, or are you starting to tense up because of the choice? If you are becoming tense, then wait awhile and ask again if you are ready. Don’t confuse excitement with tension. Excitement sends you mind fantasizing good outcomes and great ideas. Tension sends your mind fantasizing worse case scenarios. Let your choices percolate until there is a knowing deep inside that “this is right for me right now”. That’s enough. All we can ever do is follow that calm knowing that ‘this is right for now”. And that’s a growth choice !
Jill N. Henry, EdD
Owner, Mountain Valley Center. com