We spend a good portion of our lives making decisions. We make small ones constantly regarding what we eat and how to dress. We make several huge ones throughout our life including what we do with our lives, whether we will get married or have children. In all of this deciding, there is a tendency look externally for answers. We research and read articles. We ask friend and family their thoughts. We find experts and hang on their every word hoping there will be a magic answer. As we slowly unravel life’s moments we tend to reach out for any guidance we can find.
Although researching and getting others thoughts and opinions isn’t by any means a bad thing, the risk of losing our inner voice should be acknowledged. The more we allow outside influences to take part in our decision-making processes, the less we listen to our instincts. Why do we do this? When it comes to decisions in our lives we don’t always trust ourselves. We don’t listen to the nagging feeling or little voice in our head. We ignore the feeling of anxiety or panic that is beginning to creep up. We ask others often- “What do you think I should do?” We ignore everything screaming inside of us and default to the “I can’t make a decision” or “I don’t know what to do”.
The simple fact is, we already know everything we need to know. The answer is right inside of us. When we allow ourselves to be consumed by others opinions we disconnect from what our bodies and feelings tell us. We rationalize until we no longer feel. We allow out intellect to block those precious moments when the answer just comes to us. Having confidence in our decisions, true confidence, can only come if it is something that internally resonates with us. It is critical we reconnect with ourselves to find the answers instead of searching for it anywhere else.
The next time you have to make a decision or a change in your life, try some of these techniques BEFORE you go asking around for everyone’s opinions:
Meditate on it. I know there are still many people that cringe at the thought, but lets face it, sitting by yourself in silence is the best way to hear what is going on inside. Sit with your eyes closed and take a few deep breaths. Ask the question and wait. Notice any feeling, thought or movement you might experience. They are all pieces to the puzzle and should be listened to.
Journal. Often one of the simplest things is to write the question down and then write everything that comes to mind after that. Don’t judge it or think it over. Just write. No one ever has to see this paper but you and if you let it all come out you may be surprised at how freeing and calming the process can be. You may find yourself working through many different possibilities and it is important to get it all out; no matter how impossible or foolish your inner critic may say it is. Then you can read through it all to find that right answer for you.
Look for Support. For some people, talking it through is the best way to have that moment of- “Wow, did I just say that?” The key here is to do this with someone that won’t give you the answer or their opinion, but help you talk through the problem and dig into your feelings on it. A close friend, a spouse, a professional coach or counselors are all great options.
See what comes up for you. Then take that information and well thought out plans to make things happen. You have the answers inside of you; the key is finding a way to let them out. Once you give yourself time to process and hear the inner voice, it may be easier to trust and have confidence in what comes out. Believe in the simple fact that you know what is the right thing for you.