Whether you know this or not, we make hundreds, if not thousands of choices in a day. Some of these choices are super simple, like what to have on your toast in the morning, or choosing what route you want to take to work. Some choices in life, aren't so easy. And you know what? That's okay.
I've made a lot of choices in my life that I am not proud of. I hid who I was from other people for the first 18 years of my life. I lied to my friends when they asked me if I was okay, because I didn't know how to cope outside of myself. I lived my life as if I was only a diagnosis, not a person who was deserving of love, compassion and understanding. I made a choice to hide who I was, for fear of rejection.
I understand very well why some people make the choices that they do. I get that sometimes hiding your fears, worries, and ambivalence is so much easier than approaching your daemons. It's easier to ignore a problem then to face it head on. That's exactly the mentality I had when I was a teenager. I thought ignoring the fact that I had a lifelong medical condition would make it go away, or somehow lessen the blow. I made the choice to think that I was less of a person for not being able to control the fact that I had a brain tumor that was inoperable.
Nobody could have made that choice for me, and nobody could have changed my mind. I remember so clearly the conversation my mom and I had coming home from a specialist appointment back when I was in grade nine:
Mom: "Courtney, why don't you just tell people?! Tell them about who you truly are, what you're going through. People are going to accept you!"
Courtney: "No, I don't want to. People are going to judge me and treat me differently"
Mom: "Courtney, if they treat you differently do they really deserve your time or your energy?!"
Now, I knew that my Mom was right. I knew that I shouldn't care what others thought, or how I would be treated once people found out. But I still made the choice to hide in the shadows. My Mom couldn't have changed my mind, she wouldn't have been able to persuade me. I had to be ready to make that choice, and I wasn't. You can't force people to make decisions they aren't ready to make.
I'm sure you all have dealt with this at some point in your lives. Maybe your best friend made a irrational decision to move to some foreign nation, or your significant other decided to drop out of school and join a rock band. Maybe your parents sold all their personal assets and bought some vacation home in a remote town on an island you never heard of. Sure, maybe you don't agree with the choices they made, but they aren't your choices to make. You don't get a say.
I think what I'm trying to say here, in more or less terms, is that you, your friends, family, and anyone that is important in your life has choices they need to make on a daily basis. You don'y get to control their choices, the only choices you have control over, are yours. Nobody would have been able to stop me when I made the decision almost 10 years ago to keep my Neurofibromatosis a secret, and nobody would have been able to stop me 5 years ago when I decided to come clean. I made those decisions. Me. I made them. The most important thing to me was, I had people by my side the entire way. I had a community, no, make that a village, of support.
You can't let other people's choices impact how you live your life. There is nothing that I (or you) can do to change the life path people are going to go down. Sure, you can be there to love and support those people (like my parents did for me), but you won't be able to make an impact on them until they are ready for change. You can't make choices for them, and you need to learn how to be okay with the paths that other people are taking in life. You need to know, that YOUR choices, do NOT impact the choices that others make. That's on them.