I live in a county which is ruled by one political party which happens to be the party I oppose. In the 13 years I’ve lived here, there has only been one elected official at any level of government who came from the party I support; she was voted out again after only two years in office. Often when I go to the polls, there is only one person from the dominant party running for an elected office. There are no other choices on the ballot. However, even in this case there are options. I could have surveyed the candidates for office long before the ballot was formed and seen the lack of opponent, and I could have run for that political office. That’s not something I want to do, but it is a choice. I also could have found someone else to run for office, or I could have donated more funds to my political party of choice to encourage someone else to run for office. Finally, there’s the option I usually take: Even if there’s only one choice on the ballot, I refuse to vote for that person. It’s not a great option, but leaving it blank is the way I register my displeasure rather than voting for a person whose beliefs I don’t support.*
There are other times where all the available choices are downright awful. We all are going to die: That is one of those few things for which there are no options. In the case of a pet dying, we sometimes do have option about how that death happens, though. One of my dogs was diagnosed with cancer of the thymus gland at age 13. Because he also had Cushing’s Disease, steroids were not good options. We could have done surgery, but chances were that it was too late for him, and the surgery would have only increased his pain but not lengthened his lifespan. So we accepted that his death was imminent. Four weeks after we began noticing a horrid cough and three weeks after diagnosis, he had some sort of stroke or seizure, and the next day he lost the majority of use of his back legs. Without the ability to walk, dogs have lost almost everything. At that point, we chose to have him euthanized. We already knew he was dying and that his time was limited; we merely were shortening his suffering. It was still an awful choice to make, but we made the decision we felt would be best for him.
We almost always have choices. They may not be good choices, but they are choices. Sometimes choosing the lesser of two evils is the best we can do. However, whenever we are feeling stuck, we should examine the situation carefully; talking to a friend, coach, or therapist can often help in this type of situation because others can sometimes see choices that we are being blind to. From there, we can make the best choice available.
© 2014 Green Heart Guidance
*In the last election, the option of not voting for a solitary candidate was taken away, and there were 13 winners declared before the elections even happened on my electronic ballot. Time to remove that from my list of choices!