Just recently I’ve been reading about the Option Method, and was wondering if you could answer a few quick questions for me…
The philosophy behind the option method seems to be one of moral relativism. Would you agree? It says that nothing is really wrong or right, but you should simply do what you want in order to achieve happiness. It says that loving someone is about accepting them and wanting them to be happy. So if my wife cheats on me, should I simply accept that sex with another man is what she needed to be happy? Should I not expect her to feel bad, or let myself feel sad that this took place? And should I always simply do what I want, even if it means other people are hurt?
Also, the option method really pushes the idea that you choose to be happy or unhappy. It states that outside events don’t actually make you happy or unhappy. I believe that attitude does play a role in how you feel, but surely you can’t deny that certain things can cause unhappiness. If my entire family dies in a car accident, for instance, it is almost impossible to believe that I can simply choose not to be unhappy after such an event.
Thanks, S. T.
Dear S. T.,
The whole idea of acceptance is not that you allow yourself to be mistreated.
It is NOT grin and bear it, nor RESIGNATION. Acceptance is a perception of reality where neither approval nor disapproval play a part. Judgments and criticisms do not motivate others to do better in a healthy way, and this puts you in the place as judge and jury. How bad do you want someone to feel so they do better? I know that guilt and unhappiness can motivate, but I think happiness and peace are more amazing motivators. Judgments have created so much hate in our world.
I think true peace comes when you are in acceptance of what is. It DOES NOT mean you are stagnant and take no action. Of course we have ideas of what is right for us. For example, I still discriminate with whom I spend time with. I have values that are very clear. I choose what kind of friends to spend time with, so even though I may accept someone as they are, I still can prefer not to be with them. The difference is that I don’t have to make them BAD and list all of their ‘faults.’ I can just prefer it.
You asked ‘should I not expect myself to feel sad.’ You can explore your feelings to clarify how you’re feeling and why. What is it about? As humans, we experience lots of emotions. If there’s some way you’re feeling you don’t like feeling, check it out. You may decide that it’s fine to be sad. How long and how sad? Grieving is different than having the accident make you give up for the rest of your life.
We often react to a situation by judging that it is bad, and that we believe we must feel bad. No other way to be. Is that true?
When you do what you want, you probably consider many things before implementing the decision. If others will be hurt, do you still want to do it? OR would you rather not do it because you want them to feel okay? That’s still a ‘want’. I have done thousands of private sessions over the last 16 years, and so many people have stayed in a relationship or a job, because they were afraid of breaking the mold or having others be hurt by their decision. In reality, they were often hurting the other person more by staying in the job or relationship because they were miserable, and resented their loved ones or colleagues.
I cannot pretend to make the decision for anyone, nor do I advise. I only ask questions to hopefully create clarity and an open heart.
The most productive way to uncover your own answers is to explore them in an Option Method dialogue session, not just discussing theoretical possibilities, but real to your life.
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