The word ‘alternative’ has two wonderful synonyms: ‘option’ and ‘choice’.
And of course, a synonym is defined as ‘a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language’.
So, ‘examine the alternatives’ simply means ‘consider all the options’ and ‘consider your choices’.
In every action or reaction, we should examine our alternatives. The important key word in that statement is ‘examine’, because it should prompt one to contemplate what they are examining their options or choices for, but also why there is a need to examine them.
Do we make our choices blindly? No. Choices are made based on their perceived merit. Merit should regard how our choices impact others through their potential to enhance and uplift life. Trouble is, sometimes merit can stem from individual unhealthy needs or desires. For example, if we choose to give our time and effort to another, but with the ultimate desire that our efforts be acknowledged somehow, say with simple appreciation (seems harmless enough…most people expect a little appreciation for doing good things). But in such cases, we have given of ourselves with an expectation to receive. Giving with the expectation to receive is not true giving…it is the result of a cost/benefit analysis conducted under the umbrella of a ‘what’s in it for me’ mentality.
And we are all guilty of it…so no harsh judgments here…
However, it can become a dangerous process….a habitual viewpoint of the self as victim to the world and circumstance. It is paramount to get real in the examination of our motivations. Truth is health, and truth is not always easy. Ask yourself (and be honest) about any hopes, desires, or expectations you might be attaching to your choices and why you really need them. Are motivations borne from loneliness, envy, unhappiness, or anger? If our options and choices are rooted in these motivations, there is serious work to be done…inside. Eventually, once the hard work is done and truth is achieved, loving and giving comes simply and clearly from the desire only to love and give, without the expectation for anything else.
NOTE: This endeavor is part of the perpetual classroom of life; a renewable ideal, a process and lesson which needs constant gardening to reveal its infinite ability to improve with every season 🙂
blog image courtesy of: http://www.alternatives.org/impact.html