Choice Theory’s most fundamental teaching is the recognition that “The only person whose behaviour we can control is our own.” With some reflection, this makes good sense in theory, but – how much anguish do we create for ourselves in everyday life trying to control things around us, including the actions of other people?

Adopting a Choice Theory approach entails a paradigm shift in the way we think – a shift from a focus which looks for external ‘causes’ of our behaviour to an internal focus,  where we take responsibility for ways we are choosing to act and think. We are in fact behaving to meet our needs for safety and survival, love and belonging, personal power, freedom and fun.

Importantly, meeting our need for love and belonging requires the cooperation of at least one other person.  We need to be able to form satisfying relationships.

Dr Glasser’s Connecting and Disconnecting Habits

Think about a close friendship with a ‘best friend’.

Which of the following behaviours would describe the way you and your friend would be acting?

  • Accepting
  • Respecting
  • Listening
  • Supporting
  • Trusting
  • Encouraging
  • negotiating disagreements

Probably you would be using all of these!!

What might happen if you or your friend stopped using any of the above behaviours? What would happen if either of you began any of these:

  • criticizing
  • blaming
  • complaining
  • nagging
  • threatening
  • punishing
  • rewarding in order to control?

The relationship would struggle to survive.

At any given moment we have the choice to choose a Connecting Behaviour from the first list, or a Disconnecting Behaviour from the second.

To help us recognize the point of choice we can ask ourselves a very simple question:

“Is what I am about to do or say going to bring us closer together or drive us further apart?’

Using this question, with the awareness that lies underneath it, has the power to transform your relationships. The responsibility is yours. The choice is yours.

Glasser Australia offers training in these ideas, beginning with a 6 hour Take Charge of Your Life course or a 4 day Basic Intensive Training. For availability check TRAINING or CONTACT US for further information. 

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