I don’t know who to attribute this quote to but used to have it on my wall when I was a teenager. Even so, I’d continue to ask the same questions to different people (and even my tarot cards) hoping for a different response.
I love giving advice – in advice columns or other self-help features, when working with clients and so on – but it’s usually a variation on the theme of, ‘You know yourself – and what’s right for you – best!’
Are you struggling with a decision at the moment? How would it feel to know that you couldn’t make a bad decision and that whatever you decide will be just fine?
Even if you don’t fully believe that, it’s likely to take some of the heat out of the decision making process. By being more light-hearted about it, you can focus more on what you love and less on what you fear.
And getting in touch with this playful, creative, relaxed part of yourself might help you come up with a solution you’d never considered when you were taking the whole thing so seriously.
Pay attention to your gut (did you know that the enteric nervous system, based in the human digestive system, contains as many neurons as the brain of a cat? That’s one pretty intelligent gut you’ve got there!).
How do you feel when you imagine yourself doing A versus B? What feels better? Lighter? More joyful? (If both feel bad, what at least feels less awful?)
Imagine yourself telling trusted loved ones about your decision. How will you describe decision A versus B? Which has more support? (I know, I know, am asking you to trust yourself but there’s a difference between giving all your power away by asking others and keeping people in the know about things that will affect them, at some level, too).
When you imagine yourself in the future – a month from now, a year from now, and on your death bed decades from now – are you i) likely to remember this decision you’re struggling over (is it as big a deal as you currently imagine)? ii) regretting not having gone the other way, or iii) pleased with the knowledge that you did the right thing for you at the time?
As you look back at decisions you’ve made with aplomb, how did you know, at the time, that this was the right thing for you to do? Were you conscious of physical sensations? Your body has all sorts of wisdom if you just learn to listen. Think about the physical signs you’ve had after making ‘bad’ decisions.
Then think about the best decisions you’ve ever made. What physical signs did you get then? How else did you know it was the ‘right’ thing for you to do?
If you believe in a higher power, ask for guidance. Even if you don’t, meditating and tuning into the wisest part of yourself can be pretty illuminating (truly, you DO know what’s best for you).
I love Gabrielle Bernstein’s prayer to her inner guide, ‘What would you have me do? Where would you have me go? What would you have me say? And to whom?’
Ultimately, most of our decisions aren’t life or death in magnitude but learning to make peace with the process can make life much easier.