Learning Choice Theory – My Story

Deb and Jeff

 

Deb and Jeff

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

Accurately Meeting Your NeedsWithout 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.

Taking Responsibility

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.

Self-Evaluation

Self-EvaluationThe 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.

WDEP

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.

Solstice Special

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 😊 💐

5 Self Care Tips for Nurturing Yourself

5 Tips for Nurturing Yourself

5 Tips for Nurturing Yourself

The Greatest Gift you can Give Yourself

The greatest gift you can give yourself is learning how to nurture yourself, how to give yourself what you need, and how to not feel guilty about it. This is not to say you shouldn’t nurture others and allow others to nurture you, but building a foundation of self-care, where you take responsibility for meeting your own needs is the strongest foundation you can have. Nurturing your friends and family by supporting them to meet their needs is the strongest foundation on which to build relationships.

It’s easier to accept these words than to live them, so as promised here are some tips to get you started.

1. Set Boundaries

Boundaries come in all areas of life but it makes sense to begin setting boundaries wherever you need to most. For some people, the most important place to start is in relationships. This might be relationships in general or in one to two specific relationships. Where do you feel that you need to shore up your boundaries? Are you able to negotiate a fairer boundary so that the relationship (or relationships), can continue but in a more reasonable way?

Other types of boundaries relate to time and space. Everyone needs balance in their life because everyone has a number of different needs to meet: survival, love and belonging, fun, freedom, power.  Although some needs will be more important to you than others, if you spend too much time on one need and neglect others it will not be sustainable. If you allow yourself to become a workaholic, for example, you may be meeting your power needs but you will have little freedom or fun, and your health will inevitably suffer which will impact your survival needs. If you would like to learn more about your specific needs.

If you would like to read more about needs and what your needs profile pop your details in the form on the sidebar.

2. Cultivate Self Awareness

The better you know yourself the more effectively you will be able to nurture yourself. Invest some time in understanding your needs, your perspectives, and your ideas about what brings you happiness (your Quality World Pictures).  Observe your thoughts, challenge thoughts that don’t serve you, and replace them with thoughts that do. Work on cultivating a growth mindset. 

3. Invest time in Relationships and Relaxation

A Balanced LifeNeeds that are most often neglected are love and belonging, fun, and freedom. If you don’t prioritize meeting these needs you can easily sacrifice them for power and survival needs (work and money). You might get away with this for a while but it will catch up with you. Don’t wait for other people to force you to take a break or until you are so burned out that you have no choice. Life should be joyful but there is little chance of achieving a joyful life if you don’t create areas of relaxation, fun, and connection with other people that you enjoy. Creating a balanced life is not frivolous it is fundamental.

4. Find Work that is Meaningful and Enjoyable

Life is too short not to createLife is too short and too precious to spend too long doing work that is unenjoyable and unrewarding. You might not be able to throw in a job that is not meeting your needs right away but you can plan an exit strategy. Alternatively, you could work on yourself and on your job so that you are a better fit for each other.

Your needs will stay the same throughout your life but how well they are being met and the way you meet them don’t need to. Thankfully you are no longer confined to the career you decided on when you finished your formal education. As you become more self-aware and as you grow and develop, your potential for making a living in ways that successfully meet a number of your needs is far more likely than when you first entered the job market.

5. Let go of what you Can’t Control 

The only thing that you can control is you. You can control your thoughts and your actions. That is about it and that is enough, especially when you consider that many people don’t even do that. Letting go of what you can’t control is challenging but it is more painful to invest your time and energy in things you can’t control. Fortunately, however, there is usually something you can do about most situations. Take Covid, for example, you can’t do anything about the pandemic, or the restrictions, but there is a great deal you can do about how you respond. You can stay connected to loved ones via video calls, you can begin an exercise regime you love, you can start a new hobby, and possibly the most valuable thing you can do is train yourself to be optimistic.  The idea isn’t to do nothing but that you focus on what you can control, which is always your response.

If your thoughts and actions are in line with what you want in life then you have a good chance of achieving your goals. If despite all your work you can’t achieve your goals there is no shame in resetting them. Continuing to chase the unattainable is probably not going to meet your needs, but if you have given a goal your very best shot there is bound to be something that has come out of all that work that you can channel your aspirations into.

Self-care is about so much more than a healthy diet, exercise, getting enough sleep, and the odd meditation. Of course, all those things contribute to self-care but they are just some of the tools you can use to meet your needs. Understanding your needs and how you can arrange your life in order to meet your specific needs profile is the crux of nurturing yourself. If you would like to learn more about how you can do this pop your details in the sidebar and we’ll send you a Needs Profile.