People Make Their Own Decisions
Respect their autonomy so that they may feel like individuals.
It dawned on me that a lot of people I know will not be influenced or persuaded. They will do what they do regardless of what I think or how I feel. It turns out many older people who have lived more life than I realized this at some point in the past and embedded this knowledge into their own decision-making and life affairs.
All of us strive to feel as though we have a self that we can control that has autonomy, individuality, and the ability to relate to others. That’s a core aspect of what makes us stable, connected, and sane. Hence, it’s imperative for the rest of us to realize this and allow those seeking this independence to keep it and perform by its rules.
We can try as hard as we can to teach, preach, persuade, and change people, but they will not change unless they decide on it themselves. So, we would do better to persuade them of the benefits of changing that outweigh the trouble and stress associated with making the change or altering their perspective.
Over many years, I refused to come outside of myself and fight my depression, lack of action, and lack of desire for living. I thought this was how it was going to be and there was nothing I could do to change the course of my life and I should just accept things as they are.
When inspired by the example of others, fueled by an inner strength that I found on my own, and excited about the possibilities that lay ahead, I started to fight my way out of depression to find sustained happiness, contentment, and joy.
Nobody can force us to do anything we do not decide to do ourselves and therefore we cannot force others to do anything that the other doesn’t find worthwhile or rewarding. When we live, we fight for what’s ours, and if we see something that doesn’t align with our wants, needs, or desires, it’s difficult to convince ourselves to go out of our way to do it.
People are not easily utilitarian, optimists, or altruists. Kindness is learned and only can come out if the person is stable and satisfied with who they are now and what they have now. That’s why finding inner peace, life satisfaction, a feeling of control, freedom from anxiety and depression, and a healthy dose of vulnerability, connection, and intimacy with those we love, is essential to becoming the best version of ourselves. If any of these are missing, we suffer, and that suffering prevents us from doing all we can.
Therefore, we must find a way to make the decision to be well, balanced, happy, and stable. That way, others can lean on us while they find their way as well, and we can lend a listening ear to those in need without judgment and with fairness toward their own right to autonomy.
Aimee Sparrow is an author, applied philosopher, and mathematician who has been living with a mood disorder for more than a decade and advocates for happiness and inner peace. She is the author of Lunacy. Follow her website for more details.