Caroline Myss
As someone in the healing arts, I am always engaging in conversations with people about the challenges confronting their lives. Difficulties enter our lives through any number of doorways—illness, job loss, accidents. The possibilities are endless, as we all know. Often, we feel powerless over the dilemmas we find ourselves in, causing us to hit our inner pause buttons and ask, "How did this happen to me?"

Obviously, we don't have control over all the events of our lives, but upon reflection, we discover that we do exert quite a field of influence because we have the power of choice. And there is no such thing as a small choice—not really—not if you truly reflect upon the short- and long-term consequences of even one choice, whether that is what you choose to eat or what you choose to say or not say to someone or whether to follow your intuition and phone an old friend. Every choice matters, and deep in our intuitive gut, we know it—which explains why we anguish over making choices ranging from what to order on a menu to who we should be with in a relationship.

When it comes to the choices we make in our relationships, however, my experience with so many people is that they admit to "settling" for someone who is not really what they wanted, but at least they are not alone. I receive at least five calls each week on my weekly radio show from women and sometimes men who are desperate to figure out a way to fix a relationship that is simply not holding together. You don't have to be a medical intuitive to recognize that these callers are not being driven by love but by the fear of being alone and that they will do anything just to avoid an empty house—or an empty bed. For these people, their choices can only lead to that inevitable moment of heartbreak when they will find themselves asking,"How did this happen to me?" How? By settling for something other than what you really want.

But here is where this dynamic gets "spiritually sticky": Whether you "settle" for less than you want in a relationship or in any other area of your life, the knowledge that you have compromised your heart and intuitive truth will consciously or unconsciously lead you to sabotage your own choice. If you hit your inner pause button for just a second right now and reflect on this, you will connect with the truth of this statement.

Why would you sabotage your own choice? Your actions may not be conscious, but no one can live with the pain of self-betrayal and not find an outlet for that pain. That pain may get routed into an addiction or into depression or into anger at the other person for becoming a constant source of disappointment, but that pain has to go somewhere. In a very real sense, this negative behavior is actually a form of survival in that a part of your psyche is deliberately trying to break out of a situation that you cannot survive in, much less thrive in. Your conscious self may be too frightened to take charge of such bold steps directly. Therefore, you take these steps covertly through anger or food addiction or becoming more withdrawn and depressed.

If you think the resolution to this pattern is easy, think again. Settling for something less than what you want is something you can't avoid, because always getting what you want is impossible. You would become an uncontrollable narcissist living among a society of narcissists. So how's that for a dilemma? Given that, how can you make choices that are not self-sabotaging or narcissistic but truly reflect your inner guidance?

Understand the difference between settling and choosing

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