How to Make Decisions in Life and Love

how to make decisions

Why is it so difficult to make decisions in both life and love? How do you trust your heart…or your gut, or both. If you’ve lived half as long as I have, you have probably heard this statement. People find it easy to offer this as an answer to your question because no one can actually make a decision for you . It’s so easy to tell someone “oh girly, listen to your gut” but it’s not always that easy. The ultimate goal is to be happy with whatever decision you make so let’s take a look at how.

The Gut and the Mind

Here is the hard truth. While people are right about trusting your gut, this other thing called your mind which is also at play. It is not always easy to tell the difference between your gut and your mind, so let’s break it down further.

Your mind comes from a place of conscious knowing, working on logic, working on what the naked eye can see. It has the ability to give you all of your past belief systems which have been imprinted on you since your childhood. Every other belief has been stuck onto your subconscious mind up until the very moment you googled this. 

On the other hand, the gut gives you answers that you need to hear regardless of whether you want to hear them or not. And some people don’t think they hear their gut, but subconsciously they do. They might not know it is their gut, or they might not want to hear what it has to say. Let’s break down two different scenarios to get to the root of this; jobs, and relationships. Let’s go with jobs, since that’s the easier of the two.

1. Career

If you are looking to get your first job, or if you’ve been at horrible jobs over your career, and you want to make a change, there are a few things you do. First, you research the job requirements, you look up the company, you look at how much they are going to pay you, and you decide if it makes sense to you. You also look at the second level of needs like, how much vacation time they provide, do they have sick leave hours, or what’s the 401K matching they offer. And then you go to the interview. You repeat the process with other companies you are interested. At the end of the process, you get offers from two companies that you would like to work with. Who do you go with? How do you make that decision?

a. Analysis Paralysis

After you let your mind do all the analysis paralysis it needs to, you will probably make the logical choice. You talk to your mentors and they offer up advice and opinions for you to weigh on. And at some point (because the companies have given you a deadline to respond by) you make the decision and you leap forward. Now, lets say you go to that job and you hate it. Do you then regret it? Do you think about signs you may have overlooked? I mean, how many times have I been this person, seriously?

Take a look at this Psychology Today article by Robert Taibbi, a seasoned therapist with helpful tips to breaking the analysis-paralysis cycle.

b. Non-Verbal Signs

If you stopped using your mind and ‘felt’ the other non-verbal and emotional signals, would you have changed your decision? What if you felt weird on that screening call? Or during the interview, you felt something wasn’t right? That could possibly be your gut telling you that this will not be your happy place. One of the most important things to learn in life is to trust your self. I can’t tell you how many times I have allowed for a decision to change the course of my life and realized that is not what I wanted. Or I have gone with a decision that seemed easy and it also turned out to work well.

If you are unable to hear your guy, there are two feelings you can follow. You will get a feeling of disturbance that something isn’t right. Or that something feels easy and is a no-brainer. Always try to keep your conscious working mind out of these feelings. While your mind is good at solving immediate physical problems, it is not the best for making emotional decisions.

2. Relationships

Things get even harder when there are two people involved. Thinking about being together or leaving in a relationship is one of the hardest decisions to make. There is what one person thinks, believes, and behaves like, and there is the other person who also thinks, believes, and behaves differently. Choosing a partner is probably one of the hardest decisions you will make. You need to think about this because after all, it is going to change the course of your life. Unlike finding a job, relationships cannot survive on logic. They exist from a place of love and care for the other. Because of the need for companionship now, and when you grow old too. They exist for many other purposes, including tax breaks, ha.

a. The Fundamentals

The things to look at when making decisions to be with someone is firstly, both your fundamentals. What your fundamentals and core values are will be different from the other’s. While not entirely different, we all want love, trust, feeling of safety, morally conscious partners, ethical behaviors, etc. There is a level to all of these fundamentals. One may trump the rest or each may be equal. Here too, getting opinions and advice from others isn’t the way to go. You know the answer. Your heart and your gut know the answer.

And here’s a twist. At any given time, if a fundamental changes for you, that’s okay. No one has everything figured out, so don’t pressure your self to make sure everything is right. You are allowed mistakes as long as you learn from them and try to not repeat them. Listen to the subtle voice that comes from the all knowing you. If you think a decision is going to bring you joy, then you know. If you are scared to make a decision, don’t make any decision at all. That is your cue that it is not the right time to decide. Even if you mentors and friends tell you “you need to make a decision!”. You don’t! Sit on your thoughts until the air clears again.

b. Non-Verbal Signs, Again

Never act on a relationship based on what someone else has told you even if they seem to know everything about life. They are not you. Neither have they gone through the exact experiences you have. They have also not lived your exact childhood. Make relationship decisions based on the common reasons like your partner is a good person, makes you happy, brings joy and peace to your life, is your cheerleader, tries to understand you, and makes an effort.

Again, it is difficult when there is more than just you. Your decision will affect two people not just one. And when emotions and feelings are involved, you need to not only talk everything through with your partner, you also need to agree on the fundamentals. If you are able to do that, you can work out the rest. None of us are perfect so you will never be happy with a decision if you are looking for perfection. But knowing that you are doing what makes your heart happy, is key here.

In Conclusion

If there is any hesitation when making decisions, stop and think about it. Look deep inside yourself for the answer. While friends and family give you advice and opinions, understand this – they are reacting based on their own imprinting. They will not now, or ever, be in the same position you are in. You and your story are unique. There will never be another you. And only you can make decisions for yourself. Do not ever make a decision based on someone else’s life story. Do not also make a decision that doesn’t feel comfortable and easy. And never make a decision in a rush. You need to be calm and in control of all your emotions before you take that leap. Meditation is another way to get your mind to cool-off and remove the clutter. Check out this article if you would like to learn how to meditate.

You’ll do the right thing, poppet! Believe in you.

Note: In cases where you are in an abusive relationship, fearful of your partner, please reach out to your local hotline for help. If you are in a toxic workplace, reach out to your HR department.

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Last updated: February 10, 2021

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