A Matter of Choice
Asoka Selvarajah

We often feel that other people make us angry, sad, or whatever.  Things they say or do just make us see red. Before we know it, we've said or done something we will regret.  Worse still, we can get furious with inanimate objects--computer that won't cooperate or cars that won't start.  But we can't help it, can we?

Actually, we can!  In truth, nobody can "make" you feel angry, sad or any other emotion.  Each of these responses is actually a choice.  At that moment, we choose to feel this emotion and to react accordingly.  Emotions are not something that just happen to us--they are something we do.

It may not seem like it.  However, between the action/words/situation that evokes an emotional response from us (the stimulus), and the emotional response, there is a moment.  A moment of decision.

For many of us, that moment is so fleeting that we hardly even know it exists.  It seems as if the emotions within us well up automatically.

However, what is happening is that we have created a conditioned response.  We no longer decide upon the response because it is automatic.  Indeed, part of that response may actually be decided by that part of the brain that was once involved in fight or flight.  Nonetheless, a lot of that "automatic" response is a result of our own deliberate choices made time and time again.

We choose this response until we no longer even know we are choosing it.  For those of you who drive, you will remember a time, when EVERYTHING involved in driving was conscious, i.e. when you were learning.

You decided to brake when that car in front of you stopped.  You decided to change gear when the car had reached such and such a speed.  Now you don't decide these things--you just do them.  They are automatic and, for the most part, the right things to do.

We do the same sort of thing in our relationships and the way we handle life situations.  However, it is possible to begin to regain that moment of decision between stimulus and response.  Practicing awareness is one way - literally looking at the situation as if you were an external observer watching yourself from the outside.  Become aware in that situation that you really can choose your response. Meditation can also help to calm you and make you more conscious of every moment.

Then, when situations threaten to "make" you react in a certain way, you will have won that moment between stimulus and response - to choose how you will handle yourself.  That is altogether a better way.

Copyright Asoka Selvarajah.  All Rights Reserved.  His Mystic Visions website is at aksworld.com.


quotations - contents - welcome page - obstacles
our current e-zine - the people behind the words - articles and excerpts
Daily Meditations, Year One - Year Two - Year Three - Year Four

Sign up for your free daily spiritual or general quotation
~ ~ Sign up for your free daily meditation



All contents Living Life Fully, all rights reserved.


We have some inspiring and motivational books that may interest you.  Our main way of supporting this site is through the sale of books, either physical copies or digital copies for your Amazon Kindle (including the online reader).  All of the money that we earn through them comes back to the site in one way or another.  Just click on the picture to the left to visit our page of books, both fiction and non-fiction!



Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.


Explore all of our quotations pages--these links will take you to the first page of each topic, and those pages will contain links to any additional pages on the same topic.

HOME - contents - Daily Meditations - abundance - acceptance - achievement - action - adversity
advertising - aging - ambition- anger - anticipation - anxiety - apathy - appreciation - arrogance
art - attitude - authenticity - awakening - awareness - awe - balance - beauty - being yourself
beliefs - body - brooding - busyness - caring - celebration - challenges -
change - character
charity - children - choices - Christianity - coincidence - commitment - common sense - community
- compassion - competition - complaining - compliments - compromise - confidence
conformity - conscience - contentment - control - cooperation - courage -
creativity - crisis - criticism - cruelty -  death - decisions - desire - determination - disappointment
discipline - discouragement - diversity - doubt - dreams - earth - education - ego - emotions
encouragement - enlightenment - enthusiasm - envy - eternity - ethics - example - exercise
experience - failure - faith - fame - family - fate - fathers - fault-finding - fear - feelings - finances
flowers - forgiveness - freedom - friendship - frustration - fun - the future - garden of life - gardening
generosity - gentleness - giving - goals - God - goodness - grace - gratitude - greatness - greed - grief
growing up - guilt - habit - happiness - hatred - healing - health - heart - helpfulness - home
honesty - hope - hospitality - humility - hurry - ideals - identity - idleness  - idolatry - ignorance
illusion - imagination - impatience - individuality - the inner child - inspiration - integrity - intimacy
introspection - intuition - jealousy - journey of life - joy - judgment - karma - kindness - knowledge
language - laughter - laziness - leadership - learning - letting go - life - listening - loneliness
love - lying - magic - marriage - materialism - meanness - meditation - mindfulness - miracles
mistakes - mistrust - moderation - money - mothers - motivation - music - mystery - nature
negative attitude - now - oneness - open-mindedness - opportunity - optimism - pain - parenting
passion - the past - patience - peace - perfectionism - perseverance - perspective - pessimism
play - poetry - positive thoughts - possessions - potential - poverty - power - praise - prayer
prejudice - pride - principle - problems - progress - prosperity - purpose - racism - reading -recreation
reflection - relationships - religion - reputation - resentment - respect - responsibility - rest
revenge - risk - role models - running - ruts - sadness - safety - seasons of life - self - self-love
self-pity - self-reliance - self-respect selfishness - serving others - shame - silence - simplicity
slowing down - smiles -solitude - sorrow - spirit - stories - strength - stress - stupidity - success
suffering - talent - the tapestry of life - teachers - thoughts - time - today - tolerance - traditions
trees - trust - truth - unfulfilled dreams - values - vanity - virtue - vulnerability - walking - war
wealth - weight issues - wisdom - women - wonder - work - worry - worship - youth - Zen sayings

- summer - fall - winter
Christmas - Thanksgiving - New Year - America
Native American wisdom - The Law of Attraction
obstacles to living life fully - e-zine archives - quotations contents
our most recent e-zine - Great Thinkers - the people behind the words - articles & excerpts