We choose our destiny

 

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.

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About matheikal

My more regular blog can be accessed at www.matheikal.blogspot.com
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14 Responses to We choose our destiny

  1. DEEPAK KARTHIK says:

    Brilliant post sir, on this complicated complex topic, you have done your part pretty strong.
    As you said about that CHOICE theory, am very new to that and i will check it properly.
    i feel, sometimes Destinies will choose us too.
    We name them as fortune,Destiny,Luck whatever but we relate them and we assign them directly to the final point.

    Like, 2+2=4
    4 is our result, few people calls it as destiny, few as fate etc etc.. whatever they call and name, they feel that they are PERFECT, because they related things to the obvious result.

    Brilliant work sir, best thing i like in you is to cover topics and you rock on what you write.
    Dee..

    • matheikal says:

      Deepak, as Richard Bach said, we teach best what we want to learn. I am a student of psychology. The Choice theory is one of the many theories I am learning. I wrote about it in the process of learning about it. Thank you for appreciating it in such wonderful terms.

      2+2=4. To take the example given by you. One 2 refers to our actions, and the other 2 to others’ actions. I have no choice over others’ actions. The basic premis of choice theory is: “The only person you can control is yourself.’ If I choose my behaviour correctly, most problems will be solved. Of couse, I should be aware of the simple fact that the other “2” may choose options much different from what I’d expect…

      • DEEPAK KARTHIK says:

        Got it rightly sir,
        “The only person you can control is yourself ”
        good perspective.
        I do feel something regarding this, what about people who acts as per someone’s command.
        Take some brainwashed youngsters like KASAB, they cant control themselves and they are controlled by someone for some religion>
        i am not bringing in religions here sir..

        just a weird thought, do you think that theory can apply here ?
        I think, that he chose to follow someone’s word blindly…
        That is his choice 😀
        lol.. i asked and answered by myself

  2. I was not aware of this side of us. Choice do play an important part, the need of love and belonging is indeed the greatest. I feel I should read more on this topic to seek some answers.

    • matheikal says:

      Saru, there’s a whole new approach to psychotherapy based on Choice Theory. It’s called Reality therapy. If you search the internet for choice theory and reality therapy, you can get plenty of information. I have made it very simple for the sake of ordinary readers.

  3. I agree the only person you can control is yourself

  4. matheikal says:

    Yes, Deepak, you’ve answered yourself. Let me give you a quote from Glasser’s website. Glasser is the father of this theory.

    Choice theory, with the Seven Caring Habits, replaces external control psychology and the Seven Deadly Habits. External control, the present psychology of almost all people in the world, is destructive to relationships. When used, it will destroy the ability of one or both to find satisfaction in that relationship and will result in a disconnection from each other. Being disconnected is the source of almost all human problems such as what is called mental illness, drug addiction, violence, crime, school failure, spousal abuse, to mention a few.
    http://www.wglasser.com/the-glasser-approach/choice-theory

    People like Kasab choose to live under external controls. That’s a serious problem. Such people are demented as far as psychology is concerned and need serious psychiatric treatment.

  5. Raghuram Ekambaram says:

    One truly innocent question Noel Bell or the others who have commented on your post and you on one of the theories of psycholgy:

    Has there been a comparative analysis of the various theories that have been propounded over time for their repeatability, reliability, efficacy etc.? The answer to this question has the potential to prod me into reading on psychology that I have so far studiously avaoided.

    RE

    • matheikal says:

      Raghuram, there are comparative studies. I’m not an expert to give you the conclusions. But I’m aware of psychologists who have done much study with varying conclusions. For example, Freud is outdated today as far as most contemporary psychologists are concerned except for the value of the unconscious and dreams. There are people like Gerlad Corey who think the existentialist approach is the best. I go with him and that’s why I recommend him.

  6. Raja says:

    I completely agree with you, and I do feel the same all the time. Only, I choose the things I got habituated to. The meta-choice, that dictates my choices, seems a little harder to control. But I know only I can control it.
    Btw, I saw a mention of Richard Bach. ‘Illusions’ and ‘The Bridge across Forever’ are two of my favorites 🙂

    • matheikal says:

      Raja, glad to meet another Bach fan. Bach personifies my interest in literature and psychology. Of course, he is not a literary writer as Shakespeare was, for example. But he combines fiction with psychology and even spirituality so powerfully.

  7. Laara says:

    Hello Sir,
    Its very very true that ones life is shaped up by the decisions or choices one makes. but at the same time it the fact that choices or decisions are not solely dependent on the person.these are influenced by many circumstances and situations…Another important factor that really affects a persons choice,behaviour or decisions is people around that person,circumstances and also other peoples reactions to such circumstances.

    Thanks for the blog!

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