Photo credit: creativemarket.com/chrisjoelcampbell
Do you ever struggle to make decisions? Do other people’s opinions tend to sway your decision making? Do you sometimes drive yourself nuts with the list of pros and cons only to end up more confused that you were in first place? You’re not alone!
Whenever we experience any sort of dilemma – emotional, job related, relationship related, who do we vote for, etc. we usually have conflicting ideas. Most times it seems logical to create a list of pros and cons and I must admit I quite like this approach. But when so many emotions and other external factors are involved in the decision making, I find it useful to tune in and see what my “gut” is saying. Even when everyone else around will say one thing but my gut says another, I tend to go with my “gut”. The way I justify it in my head is: I’d rather make my own mistakes than blame it on other people. Simply put, it is a way of accepting responsibility for your own decisions.
Plus, from a scientific perspective, our quick, instinctual, and often subconscious way of operating – is controlled by our right brain and by other parts of our brain that have been around since prehistoric times, known as the “limbic” and reptilian” parts of our brain. Researchers argue that this part of our brain knows the answer to a particular dilemma way before our left, more analytical part of the brain does.
This is all fine and good but if you’re used to ignore your intuition how can you learn to trust it? When we feel really stuck we tend to say “I don’t know what you do”. I can definitely say from my own experience that we always know what to do but are scared to admit it even to ourselves, let alone to the whole world.
Here’s a few things that I found most helpful when it comes to dealing with difficult decisions and that most importantly can help you tune in and learn how to listen to your intuition.
1. Step away from the problem
Take some time away, sleep on it and really try to disconnect for a bit so the answer ‘comes’ to you. Most times, our answers will come from stillness. Focus on how it makes you feel. Things that I find helpful are going for walks in nature, practicing yoga, meditation or exercise but if none of these are your cup of tea think about all the things that usually calm you down and you enjoy doing. Maybe a long bath, reading a good book, sipping a funky tea or a nice coffee, daydreaming, whatever it is, make time to clear your heard and step away from the problem. Essentially, what you’re aiming for is to find some quiet space to let your mind wonder so your intuitive voice can be heard.
2. Be honest with yourself
It’s easy to push away your feelings and shove them under the carpet, especially when you have to make a tough decision but ultimately you’re in charge of your own happiness. I really like this quote by Jerzy Gregorek “Hard choices, Easy Life – Easy choices, Hard Life” which implies that in order to have an easy life, you’ll need to make some tough calls. Think about how much relief you feel after you’ve made a tough choice! Letting go of that toxic relationship/friendship, doing what you really want and putting yourself first, accepting a situation for what it is without trying so hard to change it etc.
That moment you acknowledge any sort of unsettling feelings, tune in and don’t run away is when you know you’re ‘home’ . I know, it feels uncomfortable but it’s the only way you can hope to make change happen. Use these feelings as your guide and don’t be scared to act on it.
3. Journal your thoughts
I can’t think of a safer space to release emotions and process my thoughts other than journaling. I’ve been practicing it for a while now (and no I don’t do it on a daily basis..yet 🙂 though I’ve been planning to do so this month) but I found it to be very helpful when it comes to really tuning in. Furthermore, it’s a great way to understand yourself more and grow from there. Try it out next time you’re finding it difficult to make a decision. Let the words to the job for you so to speak. I find it really beneficial when it comes to removing certain blocks too. Moreover, you will notice that eventually your intuitive voice will lead the way.
I want to leave you with this exercise from Tim Ferriss which focuses on acknowledging worst case scenarios and fear setting rather than focusing on goal setting. Quite often we are scared to listen to our intuition for fear of being seen for who we truly are or for fear of being judged. I recently got reminded of how fragile, short and unexpected life is…We never know when the last conversation with a loved one might happen or what is the last thing we’ll do before we’re gone. I don’t want to end on a morbid note but rather make you ponder on this and encourage you to make those tough calls you’ve been postponing.
What’s one thing you’ve been ignoring but know deep down you would like to pursue?
As always, would love to hear from you, so pop your answer in the comments below 😉
Till next time …focus on the good,