There is a subtle but significant difference between “alternatives” and “choices”.
An alternative is something that is offered to you – outside of you, the person, they are external to you. Choices, on the other hand, are alternatives that fit in with your internal map of how the world functions (or, in your opinion, how it should function, what fits best to you).
You may be offered many alternatives – or options, but still think or believe that you have no choice. Choice involves actually being able to select from those alternatives, to find the most appropriate one that fits in with your own beliefs, your internal capabilities – your “world”.
In a discussion today, it came up that if there is only one choice that fits for you, then that really is not a choice at all. It is a “given”.
When you have two choices, well that is actually better defined as a dilemma.
Only when you have three choices – or three possibilities that would work for you and your internal beliefs – that is when you are actually able to “choose”.
Even if you are given good alternatives, these are not necessary the choices you have.
How could you broaden your choices, so that you’re not stuck in a dilemma?
How could you evaluate if the alternatives are really choices for you?
Something to ponder the next time you are offered alternatives. Not only when you stand in front of the ice cream vendor, or are trying to decide on a new color of wall paint at the selection counter.