How to Make Choices? Start with Questions.
Have you ever contemplated how to change your life, which direction to go, what choice to make?
Sometimes life poses questions to us that don’t have easy and clear answers. “Should I stay or should I go?” (from my relationship, from my job, or from any situation) is an example of such questions. ( I am not talking here about obvious situations which are injurious, like domestic violence or harassment at work).
Not infrequently, clients will ask therapists to give them advice on what to do and which choice to make.
However, I think that the struggle to discover your own answers to these questions is an essential part of life’s journey which can lead to a lot of revelations and insights about yourself and life itself.
To Be or Not To Be (Happy)?
While contemplating which choice to make, you will have to consider what is more important to you – to be happy or to grow (or both)?
Occasionally, leaving a situation would feel like a tremendous relief (especially if you are in pain) while staying in it might lead to a greater opportunity for healing, expansion and growth.
On the other hand, the idea of leaving might cause an intense fear of the unknown and uncertainty even though deep in your heart you know that leaving will be better for you. Merely facing your fears and making the decision to leave might also create a huge leap forward.
Both options might contain a possibility for growth. And it’s very important to listen to your inner voices and figure out what’s driving you:
- pain you “can’t take anymore” and which you are trying to run away from;
- quiet understanding that the situation has outlived itself and all the lessons from it are realized;
- fears of what might happen (or not happen);
- some needs that are not met and which you are hoping to meet from “outside” even though it might not even be possible;
- thinking that “anything is better than this”.
These are just some of the examples. I am sure you can come up with your own.
Another line of inquiry can go even deeper
What are your expectations about people, relationship and life? How realistic are they? And how do you even know if they are realistic or not? Where and how did you acquire those expectations?
And ever further: Am I living the life I want? Am I happy? Is what I’m doing all I can achieve and be? Am I satisfied with the way things are? And the main question of all: who am I truly?
It’s amazing to me how many people never even consider asking these questions! They continue living day-after-day on a total automatic pilot, barely surviving, often in quiet desperation.
As you look around, you’ll find out that there are a lot of unhappy people. What stops them from deciding to change their lives, from making positive changes? Sometimes it’s the simple fact that they never asked themselves any important questions! As a result, they never found the answers.
Quick and Easy (Yeah, right)
We are constantly bombarded with information from all sides. Quite often we are presented with ideas on how “to solve problems in a quick and easy way.” Is it true that there can be quick and easy way? I know that easy ways almost never worked for me – no matter how tempting it might sound.
Sure, sometimes an “easy way” might work – when the answer you are looking for is just a matter of shifting your perspective. But in the majority of other cases – probably not.
I know, all this can be very confusing.
Just remember that the “true answers” are always your OWN answers. Those are the answers that you discover for yourself and know in your heart are true for you. Part of therapy (or any healing journey) is our ability and willingness to ask those hard questions and have the faith and patience to work out our own answers.