Many years ago, I had a very serious and in-depth conversation with someone I cared deeply about concerning their questionable life choices.

They were going through a phase in life where their decisions, behavior and attitude were not only creating conflict in their life but in the circle of people who cared for them – neighbors, family, friends and co-workers. I’ll always remember one of the statements this person made to me – I don’t understand why you and everyone else are getting so upset; my choices are mine and they’re affecting me, they’re not hurting anyone else. 

I knew then I was fighting a losing battle, that this person had no idea how wrong that comment was.

As much as some of us would like to live independently of others, it’s just not possible. Everything that we say and do affects others.

I have also personally witnessed karma – what goes around comes around. It’s during those times, I have to keep my attitude in check and refrain from saying “I told you so.” While often it takes much longer than we’d like, justice will take place and the righting of a wrong will happen. That’s just the circle of life.

I tried to instill in my children and the people in my circle of life that all choices and actions have a price. Before you take action, be sure you’re willing to pay the price. The majority of the time (if you’re honest with yourself) you’ll realize it’s simply not worth it.

Trying to think about the next step after considering questionable behavior is what’s helped me keep my own behavior in line (a realization I wish I’d learned way before I did).

In today’s fast-paced society, it breaks my heart when I see or learn of the environment some children are living. They grow up in homes where the male figure in the family (be it a father or the mother’s partner) physically and emotionally abuses their mother. Of course, men can be physically and emotionally abused, too. 

Some of these precious children grow up believing this is “the way it is.” Often the cycle continues as the girls and boys become attached to a significant other who’s just as threatening.

Their self-esteem is damaged and it becomes increasingly difficult for the abusive cycle to be broken.

At the forefront of today’s media are people who’ve committed unspeakable crimes and had their lives ruined when they’re caught. Is spending time in prison really worth a petty robbery, theft of name-brand shoes or a video game? 

I’ve often said if people put a fraction of the time they spend committing crimes into working or making wiser choices, the world would be a much safer place in which to live.

I’ve seen families devastated, lives forever changed and hearts crushed because of wrong thinking and behavior. I’m kind of a “what if” person. When I’m faced with decisions, I run several scenarios through my mind and try to take the path of least resistance.

Ann Jordan works in the advertising department of The Valdosta Daily Times. 

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