On the One Hand -- And on the Other
Making Decisions You Can Live With
by Rebecca Brents

The consequences of a bad decision can range from inconvenience, wasted time, embarrassment, and wasted money ... to the truly catastrophic -- the loss of something valuable and irreplaceable, even the loss of life itself. It's why people agonize over important decisions -- so much is riding on the right, or best, or most appropriate choice.

There are moral decisions (issues of right and wrong), financial decisions (issues of money, income, profit), security decisions (issues of safety, protection, health, taking responsibility for yourself and your dependents), relationship decisions (when and if to marry, whom to marry, how to navigate a crisis, when and how to call it quits), and personal decisions (doing what's right and best for you while balancing the needs and expectations of others, society, your future, etc.) All of these carry the chance of a misstep ... or a bad compromise.

Maybe this is why some people get stuck in the middle of what seem to me to be "simple," even "meaningless," decisions. What restaurant meal to order. What video to rent. What color jacket to buy. What accessories to wear. (Pick one. If you don't like the outcome ... do it differently next time. Items like these are easy "do-overs.")

But "big" life choices are important precisely because the do-overs aren't easy ... and the fall-out from a bad selection can be awful. So, are there things you can do to navigate the big decisions more easily, to give yourself an edge on making a decision you can not only live with easily, but be happy about? Peace of mind ... lack of worry ... no regrets ... trusting yourself. All of these are important fringe benefits when you make good decisions. (And maybe they're not fringe benefits at all, but the whole reason for the care, thought, and dithering that accompanies making choices in the first place.)

If you've come to doubt your decision-making skills, if you've made bad choices that landed you in crummy jobs, sticky relationships, unpleasant responsibilities, and other nasty situations and you aren't confident you've "learned your lesson" so you can avoid that kind of mess in the future, the decisions you'll have to make today, tomorrow, next month may waver on the horizon with an extra load of anxiety and fear waiting to trip you up ... or at least cause you added stress.

If you're willing to think ahead objectively, instead of thinking ahead with apprehension, hand-wringing, and a desire to avoid the moment-of-truth as long as possible, here are some questions to ask yourself, things to consider, and suggestions that may help when the next "big decision" bangs on your door and demands attention ... now!!

* Does this choice feel good to you? This question asks you to consult your heart, your gut, your intuition ... the part of your mind and personality that knows how you react emotionally and can help you make choices in line with your values and your safety concerns. Yes, you do have to distinguish between the "scary" choice that is dangerous or inappropriate ... and the "scary" choice that simply asks you to grow, take an unfamiliar risk, and step outside your comfort zone in order to claim the profit it can bring you ... but this is a skill you need to develop and use every day, not just in "the big moments." In fact the more you consult, trust, and follow your feelings, the easier this skill will become.

* Does this choice support your values? The answer to this question requires considerable self-knowledge and maybe some soul-searching. Does it pose any ethical questions for you, impinge on matters of principle or conscience, threaten your ability to be proud of your eventual choice and its consequences? Does it support your self-image and things you consider "important?" Does it make a statement about the kind of person you are and what you believe ... what you "stand for" ... in ways you would be comfortable even pleased to have made public?

* Does this choice entail changes you are willing to make and stand behind? Choices usually change things in our lives. It's not always possible to know exactly what will change, or how much things will change, as the result of certain choices, but some changes are obvious and easy to predict. If you're not willing to embrace and work with those changes, there's a good chance further changes ... especially unforeseen changes ... will put a price tag on this decision greater than you bargained for. The time to consider how committed you are to what this decision might mean to you, your loved ones, your responsibilities, and your future is while it's still pending -- or easy to reverse.

* Do you have other options and have you considered each of them carefully? This is basically your chance to "comparison shop" and be sure you're not overlooking something with even better benefits -- or less risk -- because you're so dazzled (or so frightened) by the prospect you face right now.

* Is this an "irreplaceable" opportunity? If you have serious doubts about the wisdom of your choice because of things like cost, timing, inconvenience, safety, your own preparation, the impact on people who are important to you ... is it possible that a similar choice can be found which doesn't carry some of the "baggage" that comes with the present one? Basically, is this just a lovely invitation ... or is it truly the chance of a lifetime? You'll have to be the judge of that.

* What's the downside? Too often this question gets overlooked in the rush to bring some matter to a close. You need to consider it from both sides of the issue. What are the costs (or what do you lose) if you take this choice? And what are the costs (or what do you lose) if you turn it down? Use your imagination to put yourself inside both options and "live with it" for as long as it takes to get a good feel for the territory. Sometimes this is the final element ("the kicker," in other words) in determining which choice you want to make.

If you find yourself fretting over choices to the point that even you realize you need help to solve your discomfort and ambivalence faster ... and especially if you find yourself in repetitive patterns of regret over poor choices that keep presenting you with the same old lesson in different clothes (same song, different chorus), doing a careful analysis using those questions, thinking about those issues, considering those ramifications ... can help you get a better, more confident grip on your thinking and your future.

(c) by Rebecca Brents. All Rights Reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Rebecca Brents writes on a wide variety of spiritual and new age subjects, including astrology, tarot, feng shui, alternative health, metaphysics, and self-improvement. She publishes the extensive online new age Ezine, The Enchanted Sprite on her website: Enchanted Spirit, and offers numerous online new age lectures and new age classes in these various fields. She also provides astrology readings, tarot readings, and personal consultations through The Enchanted Spirit Metaphysical Source Shop. Stop by and subscribe to her free new age ezine, New Age-New Horizons.

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