We forge our destiny with the choices we make in our life. If we keep aside factors beyond our control (like earthquake, accident, etc), our life is mostly what we choose to make it.
Choice Theory is a relatively new concept in psychotherapy. According to the theory, each of us is born with five genetically encoded needs, viz. survival, love and belonging, power and achievement, freedom, and fun. When any of these needs is not satisfied we feel bad.
Choice theory argues that each one of us creates a utopia in our mind. Choice theory labels it quality world. This quality world is the world of our wants, the world where we would like to live in if we could. It consists of specific images of people, activities, events, beliefs, possessions and situations that fulfil our needs.
The most important components in quality world are people. Those who have no persons in their quality world end up having severe psychological problems. Many people have persons in their quality world but are not able to relate to them in a satisfying way. Such people too have psychological problems. In other words, most serious psychological problems are related to the need for love and belonging.
People whose need for love and belonging are not fulfilled satisfactorily end up in various problems. There may be behavioural problems (e.g., attention seeking, destructive tendency, depression) or/and escapist tendencies (addictions of different types).
Choice Theory contends that such undesirable behaviours too are people’s choices. “Choice theory explains that all we ever do from birth to death is behave and, with rare exceptions, everything we do is chosen” [Gerald Corey, Counselling and Psychotherapy – emphasis added]. Even ‘bad’ or ‘miserable’ behaviour is chosen by people who enact such behaviours. They choose such behaviour because “these are the best behaviours they are able to device at the time” [ibid].
Robert Wubbolding, who has done much research on choice theory and related areas, holds that behaviour is a language. We send messages to others by what we are doing. One purpose of behaviour is to influence the world to get what we want. Sometimes we employ negative behaviour in order to get what we want. People can gain insight into the nature of their behaviour [the motive, especially] by asking the questions: “What message do I want others to get?” and “What message are others getting whether or not I intended it?”
If we analyse our behaviour with the help of these questions when we are not of sure of our own actions, we may be surprised by certain insights into ourselves. Those surprises will help us realise why we do certain things in certain ways. Such a self-analysis will also help us realise that it is we who choose our behaviours and, through them, our destiny.