Choosing Sides

There are things in life you only start to understand when you become old and experienced enough. Situations and their following choices are a typical example of that. Before I even knew what the word “choice” meant I already made choices and developed preferences. What followed soon was the fact that I had to choose sides.

Let me clarify a few things. I come from a religious family and my experience has been that the more vocally devoted a religious person or group is, the more you have to state your position. When this family is a tight and large family that heavily relies on unity by “social” control you can expect small disagreements to become big fights.

There is a lot of context I am not providing as my family history is too long to explain. In the end what did happen was that everyone had to make choices. I too had to make choices and face the consequences. My choice was to remain part of my family or to exclude them from my life. Exclusion was my choice by absence of trust and “personal values & principles.”

I have had to make similar choices several times. The older and more experienced I become, the more I become aware of the consequences. Generally there are two main reasons to prefer one side over another based on my experience:

  • Personal values & principles: each person has values and principles that define one’s approach to life.
  • Pragmatic reasons: sometimes something works or does not work, you choose what works.

Usually the choice people make when choosing a side is a combination of “personal values & principles” and pragmatic reasons but sometimes “personal values & principles” are the deciding factor. It is hard to explain what the power of “personal values & principles” are.

When a strong set of beliefs is present in a person they are a usually a guiding factor in his or her decisions. My definition of “personal values & principles” is simple. One’s personal values are the core beliefs a person has. The personal principles are the core beliefs expressed in personal rules or sometimes a code of conduct.

One of the most difficult decisions in life is choosing a side. Often the decision is complex, personal and you encounter its consequences.

Hopefully I contribute to a world of mutual understanding and tolerance of other perspectives…