Thoughts, Engagements, and Updates

5 Nov 2014

Emphasize Choice Over Your Needs and Values


William Glasser in his Choice theory posits the five basic needs of all human beings: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun. The most beautiful thing about his theory is in its emphasis that people are responsible for choosing their own thinking and actions, which then directly influence their emotional and physiological functioning.

Between the five basic needs listed above, I am sure your distress comes from either one or, if you are as ambitious as I am, two or more of them.

By writing on this topic, I hope to help you become more responsible and realistic in life in order to achieve your own goals. So I will start by asking, does your present behaviour enable you to get what you want from life, and will it take you in the direction you want to go?

Peradventure your answer is ‘NO!’, then I would suggest practical ways to achieve this. Glasser suggests what he calls Positive Addictions, which according to him are frequent activities or behaviours that lead to a natural or healthy high. Examples of such activities might include but not limited to jogging, meditation, creating an aura of positive relationships, and mostly, emphasizing choice. To live a more fulfilling and healthy life, Glasser encourages us to live a positively addicted life.

I will only focus on emphasizing choice in the context of our needs and values for the sake of our discussion. Emphasizing choice over our condition allows us to choose our own needs and values irrespective of the condition. It means you have to start emphasizing the choices you want now and take total responsibility of your own behaviour. It starts by changing your nouns and adjectives into verbs to start living. I will tell you what I mean.

For example, rather than saying, “I’m depressed”, why not translate it with the verb, “I’m depressing”; “I’m sad” with “I’m saddening”; or “I’m bored” with “I’m boring”. This choice process eventually helps you to realize that you are actually choosing to depress or bore yourself in the real sense. Yes, it shows that you are boring and depressing. So what are you going to do about it?

Emphasizing choice in our situations will eventually help us become stronger and emotionally stable. This is not a straightforward solution to every self “negatives” but a way forward to helping you realize that you have better, healthier choices to make and definitely, these choices are not under the control of any external force but yourself. Choosing more-positive and constructive ways of functioning is a step in the direction of purpose.

Emphasizing our choice of reality is actually consistent with biblical perspective, (Josh. 24:15; Luke 13:3). God holds us accountable in the choices we make in our difficult moments. More so, having the capacity to choose and change our situation by relying on our own strength is not fully consistent with God’s Word. Such approach is too optimistic and sidelines the Almighty God.

The Bible teaches the need for God’s grace (II Cor. 12:9-10), redemption through Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:23), and the power of the Holy Spirit (Zech. 4:6; Eph. 5:18) in genuine transformation of any life to becoming a model for living. Biblical perspectives on making choices and taking responsibility of our own life outside of God’s leadership simply expose the futility and vanity of self-effort.

Our needs and values therefore, must find their greatest clarification in light of God’s Word. Attempts to make plans outside of God’s master plan is fruitless and not in order. Our God is a God that not only intends to provide our needs but also expects fellowship from us. A relationship experience with God transcends meeting one’s needs. There is a core spiritual reality in a personal relationship with the Almighty that is greater than mere human needs. Our deepest inner vacuum can only be met in a real, authentic transcendent relationship experience with God through Jesus Christ.

Find God, find hope!

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