Psyche and Choice

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When one of my friends first told me about her her big idea, she said that she'd had ideas before, but hadn't pursued them due to a lack of resources. My immediate, somewhat cavalier, response was — of course there are resources available to make a dream happen. You just have to be willing to go after them.

Well, within weeks, I came to rue my brief moment on the soap box. I needed to make a decision as to whether to allocate resources to me, to my education and training, to Whitney, Inc., if you will. And to my surprise, I found myself balking, stressing really, over this investment. Should I make it? Isn't this risky? The timing and probability of a return on an investment is so uncertain.

Hmmm. Maybe it's not as simple as — if you can dream it, you can do it.

I encourage all that come within my orbit to dare to dream; I'm even willing to consider investing time and money in someone else's dream, and I won't invest in Whitney, Inc.?

So, I tried to pass the choice-making buck, by getting my husband to tell me not to spend the money.

His response? Spend what you need to spend.

Which is when I really began to squirm: double binds do that.

Here's how I saw it.

If I choose to allocate resources to Whitney, Inc., then I feel I am sacrificing my femininity, because society tells me I'm only feminine when I'm giving something to someone else. But if I don't invest in me, if I don't dream, won't I be desperate and depressed?

Happily Psyche's fourth task illustrates that what I thought was a double bind, is actually a double find, for while she must temporarily say no, as she learns to exercise choice, she is learning to yes — in perpetuity — not only to herself, but to her loved ones.

Jungian psychologist Jean Shinoda Bolen summarizes:

There is a potential heroine in everywoman. She is the leading lady in her own life story on a journey that begins at birth and continues through her lifetime. Though life is full of unchosen circumstances, there are always moments of decision. To be a heroine, she must act as if her choices matter.

So — you ask — Will I say yes to Whitney, Inc.?

I'm scared, but I will.

But enough about me.

Will you say yes to you?

As you consider a dream that you want to pursue, what resources are at your disposal? If expertise and/or money are not readily available, do you have a skill which could be bartered? Think Intellectual Immigration Fund. Most importantly, are you surrounding yourself with people that will encourage you, that will be your heroes of support?

Can you think of a time when you wanted to do something, but almost didn’t because you felt guilty? Or were scared? How did you feel afterward? Did you find that by saying yes to yourself, you were in fact, saying yes to your family and friends?

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