How To Make A Decision / Trust Your Instincts
Updated: Jan 24, 2020
"Follow your instincts. That's where true wisdom manifests itself."
Choices, choices, and more choices to be made. We have SO many decisions to make in a single day, from what to wear to what career path to follow. With so much information at our fingertips and endless possibilities, trying to make the right decision can be crippling. We live in a time when we can do, and become anything and anyone. Technology allows us to work from anyplace in the world. A grocery store has 1,000 of food options; we can buy anything imaginable online. We can even choose our gender. Sometimes, it's maddening. How do you make a decision, let alone the right decision? Add the fear of making the wrong choice and we freeze, becoming immobile to do anything.
You are wiser than you give yourself credit for. Trust your instincts, that little inner voice that guides you in your life. That little voice knows a lot about you and what will be best for you.
When you have the realization that you are in control of your destiny and there are no set rules, the more choices appear. In 2016, when we ended our 1st world travels and wanted to make a "home base" we were met with a blinding amount of choices to make. Before our world travels, we had seen the world in a much smaller scope of possibilities. Travel had opened our eyes to the massive world (literally) of choices. My husband looked at me and asked, "What country do you want to live in?" My mind was blown, just thinking about it. And so began the endless questioning, worrying, internet searches, blog reading, map searches, and numerous pro's and con's lists to find the "perfect" place to land. (Just in case you are curious, we decided to build our "home base" in North Carolina, USA.) The research was helpful, the pro's and con's list was useful, but in the end, it came down to what FELT right. Yep. Months of planning, research, comparing and arguing came down to our instincts.
Trust your instincts! Why are our instincts so powerful? Because they are a subconscious record of our life and our animal intuitions. “Trusting your gut is trusting the collection of all your subconscious experiences,” says Melody Wilding, a licensed therapist, and professor of human behavior at Hunter College. Our instincts know when we are in danger, because of our ancient primal survival mechanism. Have you ever walked down the wrong street and you get that little inner voice that says, "You need to leave right now! You are not safe!" Maybe you have met someone and you "Just know" they are meant for you? Inner voice, subconscious, gut, feelings, intuition or instincts, call it what you want, but it is your guiding light. I've never heard anyone say, "Oh crap! I wish I didn't go with my gut." Usually, it is the other way around. People say, "Oh man, I should have followed my instincts. I knew what to do."
The difficulty in making a decision is quieting all the other voices of worry, concern, and fear to be able to hear your inner voice.
"A quiet mind is able to hear intuition over fear."
Before making a big decision, give your quiet space to listen to your instincts. If you know how to meditate, I suggest meditating on the question at hand. You can also sit quietly, close your eyes and ask for the direction you need to go. Try to breathe and listen to your inner voice without judgment.
Give yourself a time limit to reflect and allow your instincts to guide you. If you have a big decision, enable a minimum of 30 min to tap into your intuition. It is acceptable to say, "I'll get back to you on that tomorrow. I need to sleep on it." If you are in a time constraint and an answer is a need immediately, excuse yourself for a few minutes to reflect before giving your choice.
Can you see yourself in the outcome of your new decision? Play pretend and daydream about what your life will look like when you make one choice or the another. Which scenario do you feel more comfortable?
Ask yourself if you will regret your choice. Look at your future self and and see if you will regret making one choice or the other when you are old. Many times it is what we don't do that we will regret not what we do.
Notice how you feel. Try your choice on a few times. Say out loud, "My decision is ..." Plugging in the different options, you are considering. After each statement pause, and notice how saying it makes you feel. Did you smile with confidence, feeling assured of your statement? Or when you said it, did you immediately feel like you just ate something yucky; the statement is not going down so smooth?
If you are still scared, think back to all of the times in your life when going with your gut was the right thing to do. Think back to the times you wish you would have listened to your inner voice.
Trust yourself. No one knows what's best for you like you do.