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Are you choosing misery?

photo from Google images

Whenever I ask this in one of my sessions or classes, I usually get a wave of protests. This is one of the misunderstood aspects of choice theory psychology. “Are you crazy,” comes the response. “Why would anyone choose misery in their lives?”

Indeed, it doesn’t seem rational when cursorily viewed. However, most of us have known someone who was miserable (and we knew that because they repeatedly told us they were miserable), but they never changed what they were doing to improve their situation. While the solution to their problem was crystal clear to us, it was apparently invisible to them. And even when a possible solution was presented to them, they ignored the suggestion and continued to choose to be miserable.

Let’s be clear. I don’t think anybody wakes up in the morning and says to themselves, “Today, I think I’ll choose to be miserable.” That doesn’t happen any more than someone waking up and saying to him/herself, “Gee, today I think I’ll choose to be an addict.”

We choose these consequences through the choices we make.

I can choose to think and do the same things I’ve always done in my life, and consequently receive the same consequences I’ve always gotten, or, I can choose to think and do something differently in my life and get different consequences. The choice is mine. When I make a choice, I choose the consequences that go with that choice.

Experiment with Life. Nurture those you love.


Many people continue to do the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. This is the working definition of insanity. If I do what I’ve always done then I’ll get what I’ve always got. If I am miserable then I must do something differently in my life. If I don’t then I am choosing the misery I suffer and I have no one and nothing to blame but myself.
This choice of misery is often accompanied by victim stance thinking – the thinking that makes me the victim of other people, genetics, social conditions, general circumstances, etc., instead of the recipient of the consequences of my own choices.
This type of denial and deflection is normal (in that we human beings do it and have done it since the beginning of time). If you recall the story of the Garden of Eden, after Adam and Eve had eaten the forbidden fruit, God asked Adam what happened. Adam immediately shifted blame and took the victim role, saying, “It’s the woman’s fault.” When God asked Eve what happened, she did likewise and said, “It’s the snake’s fault.” Unfortunately, the snake didn’t have anyone to blame it on. Ever since them we have been avoiding facing our own faulty thinking and saying, “The devil made me do it.”

This is unfortunate because we can only correct our thinking errors and begin to choose happiness instead of misery when we identify and change our faulty thinking. Until we do that, we will continue to think and do the things that bring us misery.
This is common in our relationships (as it is in every other aspect of our lives when we use thinking errors). We take the victim stance, blame others for our suffering and continue to choose the misery that comes from sabotaging our need fulfilling relationships. Only when we look at ourselves, take responsibility for our actions and correct our thinking and behavior will our relationships improve. At that point, we begin to choose happiness instead of misery.

If you are choosing misery in your life and relationships, call Knoxville Center for Clinical Hypnosis. They are Reality Therapy Certified and do life coaching with individuals, couples and families to help them stop choosing misery and start choosing happiness.


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