If I had known Choice Theory when I was younger I would have saved myself literally years of trying to meet my needs in some really dumb ways, with often disastrous results. This is a difficult post to write because it’s based on my story and it’s exposing. I won’t go into all the gory details but I want to summarise the basics of Choice Theory which have made a huge difference to the way I live my life. I’m writing it because I hope it can save other people from having to go through what I have, to get their lives working properly.
Ineffectively trying to Meet Needs
I grew up with high power needs in an environment with very few ways to meet them. It was a time when parents were quick to criticise and slow to praise, at least directly. I was pretty much doomed from the start.
I spent the first fifteen years of my adult life trying to meet my power needs via the success and adoration of my first husband. While that strategy worked for a while, eventually it wasn’t enough and my mental health began to suffer significantly. In my mid-thirties I was diagnosed and hospitalised with bi-polar disorder and told I would have to be medicated for the rest of my life.
I might not have known Choice Theory then, but I knew medication wasn’t going to work for me so I set about curing my “bi-polar disorder”. It took me over ten years, but I believe I have done that, although I know my behaviours can still cause bi-polar behaviours to recur. If I had been introduced to Choice Theory I’m sure I would have made the connection between my behaviours and my mental health a lot faster.
Stop Groping Around in The Dark
Without having a good understanding of my needs I see now that I was groping around in the dark, grabbing at any bright, shiny thing that I thought might give my life the meaning, happiness and peace I was desperately searching for.
Recently I’ve been writing articles for other people to use on their websites. I’ve had to make our Personal Need’s profile available for those people because just about every article comes back to pinpointing what people’s individual needs are and how they might be able to meet them. Life really is about meeting our needs and the better we are able to focus in on that the more successful we will be in all areas of our life. You can download your own Need’s Profile in the sidebar so you can target your needs more accurately, if this is an issue for you.
Focusing on What You Can Control
The only thing we can control is our behaviour and the most important behaviour to control is our thinking. This is because the actions we choose are a result of our thoughts. We can choose thinking that serves us, or thoughts that set us back. This has taken me ages to come to grips with because I didn’t think that I could control the things that I most needed to, in order to meet my needs. I believed I had very little real control over my life. I even made myself more powerless by giving myself a so-called mental illness. Instead of focusing on meeting my own needs I spent much of my life trying to “fix” others. Not surprisingly that didn’t work so well.
We can only give ourself the power to change our situation if we take responsibility for our part in creating it. Blaming someone else is a huge barrier to change because we relinquish our own power, and avoid self-evaluating and choosing more effective behaviours.
The behaviours we choose to meet our needs determine how successful our life will be. If our mental health is not what it should be chances are we are not meeting our needs very effectively.
In the end Willian Glasser, creator or Choice Theory, tied everything up very neatly in his simple four step strategy:
- What do you want?
- What are you Doing to get it?
- Evaluate (i.e. how is that working for you?)
- Plan (to meet your needs as best you can)
Even after meeting Jeff it took a few years for me to fully embrace Choice Theory and the work of William Glasser. The mental health industry has made mental health so complex and Dr Glasser made it so unbelievably simple that I found it difficult to grasp its depth. In fact if I hadn’t experienced its value first hand maybe I still wouldn’t have. There are after all, still many bright, shiny and expensive solutions out there.
If you don’t want to learn Choice Theory for yourself learn it for your kids and give them a great start in life.
Whether you’re entering the winter solstice as we are in Australia, or you’re in the northern hemisphere and are entering the summer solstice; I wanted to acknowledge this as a period of change in the hope that as a global community we are moving into happier times. To do this we’re giving out a 50% discount coupon over this solstice period, for our course “How to deal with Stress and Anxiety Effectively”. This course is different because it uses Choice Theory to deal with the underlying causes of stress and anxiety as well as depression and so much more.
Even if you aren’t Stressed and Anxious
At a 50% discount this course is great value even if you don’t suffer from stress and anxiety because it includes the core components of Choice Theory that will benefit you in your relationships with your family, your friends and even in your workplace.
- The Needs that Drive all our Behaviour
- Our Quality World
- Our Perceived World
- Our Comparing Place
- What Do I have Control Over ?
- What can I Change ?
- The Road Forward
These seven modules are basic Choice Theory and comprise nearly half of the course. Being proactive and learning these core facets of Choice Theory may mean that you will never have to live through severe stress and anxiety. You will certainly improve your mental health, your wellbeing and the quality of your life. To get the course with the 50% discount click any of the links, including right here, I know you’ll be glad that you did👍
Thanks for reading, have a great week and an even greater life.
Deb 😊 💐