Are reactive choices really choices?

Lisa Oz
Health Education

You're comfortable with your relationships and your opinions, and you aren't particularly interested in reevaluating every thought or feeling that pops into your head. That's fine if it's what you really want or if it's not a decision based on fear or inertia or habitual reflex. The funny thing about choices made like this is that they aren't really choices at all. There is no autonomy in reactivity.

Often, what we do or don't do is exactly the opposite of what we say we want. For example, you're planning a trip to Paris in a few months. You decide you want to brush up on your French and figure you can spend a few hours a week in the evenings going over vocabulary. But, somehow, when you step off the plane, you haven't even managed to relearn the word for taxi. (Thankfully, it's taxi there too.) You simply had no time. Ah . . . but what about the hours and hours you had for American Idol or those reruns of Friends that you've already seen 23 times? They were just there. And you were just there. And you just thought you'd keep the television on while you glanced at that book Berlitz. You did want to learn French, but you also really wanted to know if the girl with the pink stripe in her hair was getting voted off. But now you don't even remember her name, and you could really use the word for bathroom.

We pretty much always do what we want to, but sometimes, what we want is in direct conflict with what we want. The problem lies in those opposing aspects of ourselves. The needs of the different selves are mutually exclusive. When we give in to the demands of the ego, we are rarely in a state of positive change. Growth only occurs through the deliberate choices of the higher self.

Continue Learning about Mental Health

Big or Little, Your Giving Gives Back
Big or Little, Your Giving Gives Back
Know what will happen if you drop a dollar in that holiday donation bucket? The reward centers of your brain will probably light up. In fact, they ar...
Read More
What are the behavioral symptoms of a mental health problem?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Changes in a person's normal behavior are often a symptom of a mental health problem. Changes in sle...
More Answers
4 Simple Ways to Avoid Feeling Lonely
4 Simple Ways to Avoid Feeling Lonely4 Simple Ways to Avoid Feeling Lonely4 Simple Ways to Avoid Feeling Lonely4 Simple Ways to Avoid Feeling Lonely
Loneliness and isolation can have serious health effects—but being proactive goes a long way.
Start Slideshow
Why Is There a Stigma Associated with Mental Illness?
Why Is There a Stigma Associated with Mental Illness?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.