Making choices is one of the best times for the good girl in me to rise up. She's very concerned about making the "right" choice. She wants to make the choice that others will approve and that harms no one.
The thing is, that's not a very good definition of a "right" choice. Sometimes the right choice will upset other people. And sometimes the right choice may even hurt someone else.
I'm not saying we shouldn't consider the impact on other people when we make a choice. We absolutely should. AND, that's only part of the datapoints to consider. In the end, we have to make the choice that's best for ourselves and those closest to us. And sometimes that's just going to disappoint people.
So, I have to remind my inner good girl "thanks, I got this." I know she means well. She's just trying to protect me. But, I'm a big girl now. I can be responsible for my choices and their impact.
Then how can we know what the best choice is?
Well, I think, our best choices are made when we trust our intuition and experience. When we trust in our own wisdom and abilities, we can make a choice that honors our truest self. In this way we can make a fully informed choice. Notice I said "informed" choice and not "best" choice. Because, honestly, I think we can only make the "best" choice for the moment. It may turn out that it wasn't the absolute best choice, but if we considered it well, it will be the best choice we could make in that moment.
What about what other people think?
Ever made a choice based on what everyone else was doing or what you thought you SHOULD do? These choices don't always work out in our best interest.
I remember making a parenting decision based on "Expert" advice and the success of friends even though it didn't feel right to me. I made a different choice the second time around.
If our biggest criteria for making a choice is what other people think, we will end up betraying ourselves.
Claim your power of choice
Choice is power. When we have the ability to make choices for ourselves, we are empowered.
I did not intend to write this as women's choices over their bodies are being stripped away in various states, but here we are.
If you have the privilege to make free choices for yourself, do not take that lightly. Make the best choices you can that empower you and others.
Then how do I make the most informed choice?
Choice also has the power to affect others. Are you considering how your choices might affect someone else? Remember, it's only part of the equation.
The more awareness you can bring to your choice, the better.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- What do I believe about this choice? Is it true?
- What do I know about this choice?
- Who is involved? Anyone else?
- How could my choice affect things outside of me?
- My partner
- My family
- My children
- Other communities
- The planet
When you make a choice, trust yourself. And know that you are making the best choice you can right now.
And if it doesn't turn out how you hoped, find the learning. And forgive yourself if needed. You are human, we make mistakes, you did the best you could. Take responsibility, learn, make adjustments, and move forward. And don't forget to provide an honest apology if necessary.
Sometimes the only choice you need to make is to take the first step
When you arrive at a fork in the road, may you carry with you:
- Of the stories you bring with you
- Of the gift of choice
- In the wisdom of your experiences
- In your ability to choose
- For the effects of your choice
- For the power to choose
- For yourself in the moment and the things you don't know
- For all that is affected by your choice
What supports you in making informed choices? How do you manage the choices that don't work out? How do you keep your stumbles from taking you off your path?