Faced with a small choice or monumental decisions, being honest with yourself about these two things will set you off in the right direction.

Ah, life, getting in the way of everything. So complex, coloring our judgment of any decision that’s got us sitting on the fence. Relationships, obligations, passion, our lives are a daily combustion chamber of choices

… how do we distill the true and only considerations of our choices, ones which do not make us codependent, ones that align emotion with intention without confusing the two?

We are put in touch with more people – some who should remain a mystery – and we go on, leapfrogging across the calendar from appointment to appointment, play date to play date, date night to date night, and we scratch in a message for a little affection here and there.

When we need to make a decision in the snarl of such socially-acceptable chaos, how do we distill the true and only considerations of our choices, ones which do not make us codependent, ones that align emotion with intention without confusing the two?

It’s quite simple really. Just ask yourself these two questions — and be honest about the answer! Resist the urge to tag on any justification, and limit your answer to yes or no.

  1. Am I having/or will I have more good than bad days if I make this decision?

This worked quite well for me when I had no idea if my geriatric chihuahua needed to be put down. We had never had an aged pet in our home. Our cats had died young from rare diseases. I called the emergency vet after we had changed Bijoux’s food and asked him how I would know when the time was right to end Bijoux’s life peacefully. I didn’t want her to suffer and I didn’t want her to die prematurely, yet I couldn’t take emotion out of the equation. The vet tech responded, “Is she having more good than bad days?” And like that, the decision was made! Bijoux still dances around, doesn’t act as if she’s in pain, her intestinal issues turned out to be minor and remedied with another food change.

This question eliminates any doubt, any urge you may have to argue for what your gut tells you will not be good for you.

Bijoux’s experience led me to ask this question of the many pending pieces in my life: Would I have more good than bad days if I tried to return to work full time? Would we have more good than bad days if my adult child moved back in with us? Would I have more good than bad days if we bought a house for its gorgeous colonial features even though we couldn’t really afford it? (dammit!) What about the surgery I’d put off? This question eliminates any doubt, any urge you may have to argue for what your gut tells you will not be good for you.

New job? Great! Less pay and a lateral move? Will you have more good days than bad days? Marriage proposal? Congratulations! Before you accept, and as you realize your loved one is circling with a ring, ask yourself, will you have more good or bad days in your marriage?

  1. How’d that work out for you last time?

The first time I was asked this question, I became pissed me off immediately because it was laced it with a chuckle that made it sound as though the asker might be making fun of me. After I calmed down I solved the reason for my ire. This question is an honest one, and brings you face-to-face with the results of your life choices.

Some of my choices sucked and being reminded about my suckage stung. I laughed it off, while cringing from the blow, and then began to evaluate a handful of my toxic habits. I hadn’t wanted to be alone. How had that worked out for me last time, spinning the merry wheel of mates, hoping to land on a viable catch?

If the doubts don’t go away, the decision is scrapped to be reconsidered at a later date, when the circumstances are right and I am ready for the next step.

I’d needed a job as a single mother, any job. How had that worked out for me after I’d subtracted passion, location, pride? Any situation is applicable and the answers — if you are true with yourself — can direct you toward a happier, more profitable path in terms of growth, closeness, career, having more children, buying that couch on sale, giving the blind date a shot, whatever you apply.

Since I’ve synced my heart and head, I’m confident about my decisions. I speak my mind when these questions uncover a flagging doubt about any possible option and I make sure doubts are addressed before defining a new direction. If the doubts don’t go away, the decision is scrapped to be reconsidered at a later date, when the circumstances are right and I am ready for the next step. If that day ever comes. If it doesn’t, I’ll still be alright, and so will you.

Original article appeared at The Good Men Project. Reprinted with permission.

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