How to Choose What’s Right for You
Figuring out what experiences you want in your life is the same thing as finding your road to joy. Sometimes what you feel compelled to do (or not do) makes no logical sense, and that’s okay. At some point in the future, you’ll look back and see why you made choice A instead of B, and it’ll all become clear—you were just doing what you needed to do to get yourself to a place that truly felt like home.
As an example, back in college, I gave in let my friends drag me to “Titanic” despite having zero desire to see it, so that’s $5, 194 minutes (plus previews), and a gallon of tears I’ll never get back. In the grand scheme of things, one movie's not a huge deal, but, looking back, I realize it was a turning point for me. There wasn't one part of it I enjoyed, and when we add up all those seemingly little things we've done that didn’t feel right, we’re talking significant chunks of time here. It’s not something to beat yourself up over—we’ve all done it, we’ve all had reasons we’ve done it, and all we can do is learn from each experience and use that knowledge in similar situations in the future.
The problem is that sometimes it’s hard to hear what our souls want over the droning thoughts like “But people will think I’m weird!” or “I’ll make my husband mad if I do that.” or “That’s pointless—I should spend time doing something more productive instead.” A quick way to override those thoughts and get to a soul-centered decision is to do the following exercise:
As an alternate option if you can’t stand up: uncross your arms and legs and get into a comfortable position. Now imagine the two scenarios, one at a time, noticing how your body reacts; a good way to do this is through a slow and focused body scan from your toes to your shoulders, down your arms, then up your neck and head.
Now that you’re clear on your body’s “yes” and “no,” you’re ready for the last step—letting your inner GPS speak:
3. Do the exercise with an experience you're trying to decide on. Does your body give your “yes” or “no” response? Decision made.
For the record, even if you get a clear “YES—DO THAT!” there may still be some (or maybe tons) of fear to work through. I’ll offer some tips and tricks on dealing with the fear factor in the next—and last—post of this series, but for now, I offer you a challenge: This week, do this exercise with a decision you’re trying to make—start with something small if this is totally new to you—and follow the yes or no that comes with it. Ignore the thoughts or the reactions you get from others. Just play with it and see what happens, and if you want to report in, I’d love to know how it goes!
Join me next week for the last of this series: Part 3: Feeling the Fear and Doing it Anyway.
Katie Baron: life coach, freelance writer, animal and nature lover, musician, relentless optimist