Thursday, March 22, 2012

Why would anyone choose

A lifestyle that makes you a social outcast, causes you grief and mental anguish, ruins your health, and destroys not only your life but the lives of everyone around you is never a logical choice to make.  Yet it is a choice that millions of people make every year.  Alcoholics, drug addicts, smokers, obese people, adulterers, fornicators, pornography addicts, liars, thieves, prostitutes,  and – yes – those who are same sex attracted and those who identify as transgendered willingly choose this path in life despite the damage, despite the loneliness, despite the grief and the heartache and the madness of it all.

Why, if there is so much pain involved, does anyone choose a destructive life style?  It seems so illogical, so hard to believe that anyone would willingly go down a path that leads to self-destruction.  Yet the evidence is there that millions do. Millions pick up the bottle even though they know that every drink brings them closer to death. Millions light up the cigarette, or gamble away their paychecks, or eat the foods and drink the sodas they know aren’t leading them to happiness and they do it willingly and even knowing that it isn’t going to get them where they want to go and all because they are seeking to escape themselves and their pain.

These self-destructive behaviors are all a form of slow suicide.  These people have a deep-seated self-hatred that manifests itself in seeking behaviors that are self-destructive in nature. Unfortunately, their self-destruction doesn’t end with them. It takes out everyone connected to them as well, devastating the lives of anyone who dares to draw near and try to love them. Worst of all is that most of them do not see their choices as the cause of where they are in life. They blame everyone else for where they are, blame everyone else for their lack of happiness, and because they place blame everywhere else they cannot ever see their own role in what happens.  They are blinded to any potential avenue of escape from their situation because they cannot see the truth: that they can change their lives simply by changing their choices.

I am fat. I don’t like to admit it, I don’t like to talk about it, I certainly don’t like to have it pointed out to me by others, but it is true.  I’m at least 200 pounds, which is about 85 pounds more than I ought to be. I didn’t get here by accident, I got here by the choices I made.  I got here by choosing to eat the wrong foods and drink the wrong drinks. I got here by choosing to ignore my mother’s advice on how to eat and instead eat all the wrong things.  I got here by choosing to sit on a couch watching TV or in a chair playing video games instead of choosing to get up and get out and take a walk. 

I wasn’t born fat. I was 98 pounds in high school. I may have been born with genes that lent themselves to a slower metabolism and to a stubborn reluctance to let go of fat, but that doesn’t mean that I had to become fat. It simply meant that I was going to have to be more careful with the choices I made about what to eat or drink than other people. 

Because I know that it is my choices that have led me to where I am at, I also know that I have the power to change directions. I can choose to eat healthier, choose to put away the sodas, choose to get up off the couch or out of the chair and go on a walk even when I don’t feel like doing it. I can choose to make different choices, and although it won’t be easy or simple and it will take time, by making those different choices I can get to a place in my life where my body shape is healthier and I am no longer ashamed of my reflection in the mirror.

The sad thing is that as long as we keep giving those with same-sex attractions and transgender identity issues a free pass on their choices, we prevent them from ever being able to achieve true happiness because we keep them permanent victims. Victims can’t become victors, because victims are helpless.  This is why those of us who truly care about people who are engaging in self-destructive lifestyles must reject the words “I was born this way” or “I can’t help myself” or “It’s just who I am” and must work to encourage them to see that it’s the choices they make – not the outside factors in life – that get them where they are.  Accepting the excuses of "I was born this way" or "I can't help myself" or "It's just who I am" is enabling them in their disease. If they want happiness, they don’t need our help accepting the bad behavior. They need our help to see that they can choose good behavior, and in doing so, find real happiness.

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