Never rush the answer to a difficult decision; how finding balance and harmony within can really help us make those tough choices.
Making decisions can be challenging, especially if the choice is going to affect lives, whether it be our own or someone else’s. And so to make the right choice, without being able to predict the future outcome, is something which can weigh heavily upon us in our daily lives. If the situation is one which affects us emotionally or we need to make a quick decision this can add stress and therefore make the resolution of the issue all the more complicated and difficult. We need to smooth out the emotions and bring forward our rationale in order to make a choice from a neutral and balanced point of view. We need to consider every point and variable within the choices we are going to make in order to give a decisive, definitive opinion or option; we need all the facts to be weighed up, and doing this when under duress is not easy. We need to ensure that our feelings are taken into account but not overriding our logic, that everything is working in harmony.
So how do we combine our rationale and emotions equally in order to make good decisions? It is a tricky thing to consider whether we are effectively making good decisions as how do we really ever know, unless we try all the avenues? But generally we have enough information and experience to figure out our options and reduce them down to a yes or a no, a left or a right, etc. It can also be argued that experience comes with learning from past mistakes and so we need to have made some bad choices in the past to be able to make better ones as we mature.
How to find that balance
I think the first thing we need to realise is that we are not at war with ourselves. Our feelings are just as valid as our thoughts and logic and so each must be given an equal part in the realm of decision making. More often than not our hearts and minds are on the same track and supportive of one another and it can all make sense, but when the two conflict that’s another story. The best outcome of a good decision is that everyone involved will either benefit or not be negatively affected. We don’t function simply on logic or looking for the answer that benefits ourselves the most, as this would result in opting for something that may have negative consequences for others.
Love favours emotion rather than logic, and this does not always fare well for us in the long run. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t go with our hearts when it comes to love but it is a prime example of when that balance is off kilter and we run with our emotions leaving rational thought far behind. Of course there are situations when reason has to override emotion, such as when a surgeon has to decide the correct procedure for a patient, there ought to be as little emotion involved as possible with the ultimate goal being preservation of life.
But when it comes to life it seems that empathy outweighs rationality when it comes to others trusting in us, if we can see and understand a fellow human being and make decisions based on effect, they will, in turn, trust in our choices. If we can smile together, cry together, and support one another along the way we are living in harmony with our loved ones and neighbours by association.
Our life choices and experiences cause us to have somatic markers – these are what guide us when making decisions based on previous feelings and effects that have occurred throughout our lives – the accumulation of past experience becomes our guide for the future. Without these we would be starting afresh every time. We are aware of potential consequences and this influences our decision-making in the future. This can be both positive and negative. If we had a bad experience we would obviously not want to repeat it but it could also inhibit us from making rational decisions. The ideal scenario is that the rational thought kicks in to weigh up the pros and cons of this individual situation and doesn’t let our emotions take over but assists in guiding us towards the right choice. This balance keeps us moving forward, keeping up our hopes and allows us to develop and be who we are.
“Emotions and feelings can cause havoc in the process of reasoning under certain circumstances. Traditional wisdom has told us that they can, and recent investigation of the normal reasoning process also reveal the potentially harmful influence of emotional biases. It is thus even more surprising and novel that the absence of emotion and feeling is no less damaging, no less capable of compromising the rationality that makes us distinctively human and allows us to decide in consonance with a sense of persona future, social convention, and moral principle.”
Damasio, A.: Descartes’ Error. G.P. Putnams Sons (1994)
Emotions can be beneficial is that they can prevent excessive deliberation, by checking in with our hopes and fear we can determine whether to follow the current plan or decide that a new plan is required. However there are far more emotions within us than just hope and fear…we are complex beings but when we utilise what we have to the best of our ability we can manage healthy, happy lives.
Bottom line; when faced with a difficult decision take time out to consider everything. How you feel, what are the consequences, what will that make you and others feel like? What are all the pros and cons? Take a balanced stance based on rationality and feelings and go with both your heart and mind as a combined force.
Online Courses in Mindfulness & CBT
Here at the School of Natural Health Sciences we offer many courses that address our rational and emotional processes.
Mindfulness Course – Mindfulness is about acknowledging what is happening in the present moment. Being rooted and grounded in the “now” will help you to make decisions
CBT Course – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a powerful and practical tool for personal exploration, problem solving and development.
A-Z Course listing If you’re looking for other Holistic Health Therapies, like Yoga, Professional Relaxation Therapy or Reiki – we offer all of these and more! In fact our course portfolio now extends to more than 60 courses
Any questions? Please Contact Us, we’d love to hear from you