Respecting People’s Choices

Respecting people’s choices.  Should all choices be respected?  Or are all choices worthy of respect?  People’s right to making choices should be respected, but there are good choices and there are bad choices.  Good choices bring about welfare and happiness to oneself and others while bad ones bring uncertainty, fear and stress.

Respecting all choices without distinction would mean respecting bad choices as well.  When bad choices are respected, we encourage bad choices to be made again in future.

Respect people’s right to choices, including bad ones.  But don’t respect all choices indiscriminately, especially the bad ones.

2 thoughts on “Respecting People’s Choices”

  1. Dear sir, short of being Enlightened, most choices we make every day are bad for ourselves and others. It is only on hind-sight that we realize so. Yet when others make the same choice and we try to advice them that those are bad choices, on hind-sight we realize those were actually the right choices. So we are wrong again. Therefore how can we discriminate choices?

    1. Dear Hon Sing,

      I am not shifu but please let me offer my two cents on this topic.

      Some time back I start realizing that it is useful to consider what type of mind gives rise to what type of actions. So instead of saying “My mother said this” “My girlfriend wants me to do this” “My best friend does not want that” “My brother needs that” etc. Instead of saying that, how about we consider what type of mind is saying that? When your mother asks you to do something, when your girlfriend wants you to buy something, when your best friend asks you not to do something, are their minds altruistic? Selfish? Loving? What kind of intention is behind the speech or action.

      So if your mother asks you not to jump off the cliff we know it is out of a loving and compassionate mind. But if your best friend tells you not to donate your money because you deserve it, you know it is a selfish mind talking.

      So you free yourself from guilt. Because if we think “My best friend told me to do this”. Then if we do not follow that, it means that “I went against my best friend’s wishes”. Didn’t I? And you may end up feeling guilty. Whereas, if we realize that our best friend’s mind was in a selfish state when he made that request / statement, we know that we are merely ‘rebelling’ against a selfish mind.

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