Have you ever struggled with making a decision? Oh, wait, you’re human, so of course you have. Decisions are a necessary part of life and a necessary part of our evolvement and maturation. I acknowledge you for taking the time to look at decision making in a closer light. My intention for this article is to hopefully inspire you to know that you can make decisions from a place of empowerment, rather than being filled with anxiety and worry.
You have the power to set the bar for your life.
When making a decision, a very powerful question to ask yourself is: “Which choice will be the most integrity-filled choice?” Integrity – when you honor yourself, your heart and your soul.
Any choice that you feel you would need to compromise any aspect of yourself should not be the winning choice. Set the bar for what you need, know what you deserve and don’t settle for anything less.
A few tips:
#1 Trust your own intuition
You are the expert of you. Sometimes when struggling with making a decision, people seek out advice from loved ones and of course their friends and family have the best intentions but the problem, is that no one is truly able to be completely objective and a lot of times people use their own life experience and that’s
Often, people base their advice on their own life experience so it’s not always the best advice for someone else. Just because something worked really well for your best friend Katie, doesn’t meant that it’s going to work for you. You and your BFF, while you may have tons in common, you are two completely different people with different life experiences and different souls.
I wish that more people realized how detrimental giving advice can be, and that we need to allow our loved ones (and clients) to trust themselves and their own intuition as they make the decisions that are best for them.
I remember I was shocked when during one of my first classes in graduate school, I learned that as a therapist you are not supposed to give advice. I literally thought that that’s what therapists DID! My mind was blown, and I was beyond intrigued. Wait, if therapists aren’t supposed to give advice, what are we supposed to do, and more importantly how the hell do we help our clients? On that day, I learned that helping someone from the heart is more important than giving advice. As I started working with clients, it became so clear to me why I needed to encourage them to tap into their own intuition. My job is not to lead; my job is to be a humble passenger on their journey; they are the tour guide who leads their own life; their own heart and soul carries the compass that will lead them to healing and peace.
Helping someone who is grappling with a decision takes some practice, but anyone can do it. You need to be one-hundred percent non-judgmental and accept the client fully.
You need to go beyond what the client is saying and really get to the heart of the issue; to be so empathetic and compassionate that you can start to see life through your client’s eyes (while staying completely “you”). There’s a fine line between balancing complete objectivity and deep empathy.
All of these qualities that a good therapist has are ideally qualities that your loved ones would have too when being approached for “advice.”
So, the next time you feel inclined to ask someone for advice, just know that you don’t have to go any further than exactly where you are; your answers and clarity are all within.
#2 Take action
Sometimes the best way to make a decision is to start taking action. Start going in the direction that your heart wants to go and see how it feels. The more you follow your heart, the more your life is going to be in the flow and the universe will validate those decisions that are aligned with your soul, your authentic self; who you truly are.
When we follow our heart, life compliments us and reacts to us in a very positive way.
A few years ago, my client Rachel was grappling over whether or not to leave her high-profile job that she had been in for ten years. She had gone back and forth looking over all of the pros and cons to staying or leaving ; there were clear cons to staying, but she was frozen with indecision and couldn’t seem to take action. She was earning a great salary and was enjoying her life to a certain extent. She was happy enough in her out-of-work life; she had great friends and a loving family, but every day that she showed up to work, her energy shifted, and she was very anxious. She had a boss who was disrespectful and unappreciative of her work. Some of her co-workers were envious of her because of her stature, so it was difficult to connect with them. She felt like she was walking on egg shells around the office and every day was like a hamster wheel; not really moving forward. Rachel felt like she was just surviving, not thriving.
One day, Rachel woke up and she sensed that she was done. She realized that she wasn’t getting anything out staying miserable at her job, so she gave her two week’s notice, and she felt LIBERATED. There are so many things that Rachel wants to do with her life and staying in that job was holding her back.
Rachel is very creative and for the past year she had been working on putting her poems together in a book. When asked if she was going to do anything with the book, she always said that she didn’t have time to think about it. Three days after she resigned, Rachel saw an ad about a poetry contest at a very esteemed university; the winner wins a scholarship to attend a graduate program in creative writing. Rachel was beyond excited and submitted her work right away. Six weeks later, Rachel found out that she won.
Also, Rachel who had been in a self-diagnosed dating “draught” for what seemed like forever met a great guy a week later while standing in line at Starbucks; that guy is now her fiancé.
Learning lesson: The universe rewards people who start to take action that aligns with their soul. You can do this too. I promise that you will reap the benefits of taking action; all you need to do is start.
#3 Doubt means “No!”
If you feel like you are putting yourself through hell over anything you are struggling with; desperately trying to figure out what to do, ask yourself a simple question, “Have I been trying to talk myself into something or talk myself out of something?” If the answer is, “yes,” then it’s a “no.”
Ideally you live your live with all clear YES’s; that’s an aligned life. That’s a life that flows because all of your choices are choices that feel good to you. You CAN live that way, and I encourage you to.
#4 Don’t make a decision based in fear
Get very real with yourself, visualize all outcomes and make a decision that has zero fear attached to it.
If any of the following statements seem familiar, you need to shift from “fear” to “love.”
“If I don’t do this, then…”
“I better do this because it might be my last chance.”
“I should probably do what ____ thinks I should do.”
Statements like these will never get you the ideal outcome you desire because they are based in fear. On the other hand, when you make decisions out of love, you will get a solid outcome; the one that will bring you the most joy. The problem with making decision out of fear is that whatever issue they end up bringing to your life, the issue will keep on happening and you will continue to struggle until you start to make decisions from your heart.
#5 Connect with your older self
It can feel overwhelming, lonely and hopeless when you are at a crossroads and you just don’t know what to do; you feel a sense of desperation for a least an ounce of clarity, and you want someone to tell you that it’s going to be ok. If you’re open to finding out some answers in service to help you make a decision, you can do it simply by getting quiet. Sit down with a pen and your journal, (a piece of paper works also) then set an intention and write a question at the top for your older 85-year-old self to answer. Sit quietly for a few moments. You can close your eyes if you’d like to. See what comes forward. Your older self has wisdom to share.
They say that hindsight is 20/20 and it is, but I also believe that we have the power to invoke our inner 85-year-old at any point to be able to have a direct knowing of the truth. What is the truth? The truth is that you ARE going to be ok. The truth is that things ARE going to work out for you. The truth is that you WILL find your peace, and you WILL feel more grounded and settled. You WILL feel more like YOU again. If you are reading this article, I’m guessing that you are the type of person who sees the value in doing the inner work to show up in life and love as the best version of yourself, and to live and love as deeply and authentically as possible. When you are struggling over anything, your older self is there for you; listen to that voice.
Life can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be as hard as you have been making it out to be. No one is perfect, and no one’s life is perfect. There is so much in life that is out of our control, yet so much that we do have control over, like making decisions. Instead of agonizing over decisions, look at them as opportunities to practice your intuition. Practice seeing just how well you know yourself and discover what it takes to honor who you are, what you want, and what you deserve.
You’ve got this!
Jaime Bronstein is a relationship coach, radio show host of “Love Talk Live” on LA Talk Radio, blogger, author, wife and mommy. She has been a practicing therapist for 18 years. Jaime has a master’s degree in social work from New York University, a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Boston University and a certificate in spiritual psychology from The University of Santa Monica. Jaime focuses on teaching her clients how to unconditionally love themselves, how to be vulnerable, tap into their inner strength, and live more authentically in order to achieve their relationship goals. Jaime will not only help you heal and extinguish any negative relationship habits, but she will also provide you with the tools needed in order to have a successful relationship. Find her online at www.therelationshipexpert.com and catch her on-camera radio show. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Image courtesy of Philippe Oursel.