4 min read
Currently, I am listening to the audiobook version of “Happy Place” by Emily Henry. It’s a romance novel and thoroughly summery and enjoyable. The main character, Harriet, finds it difficult to make decisions. Mainly, because she often doesn’t know what it is that she wants.
This is something I can relate to. I am a people-pleaser and very good at quickly working out what everyone around me might want or need. With the noise of all those things on my mind I sometimes find it too difficult to determine my own wishes.
What’s the problem?
For a long time, I didn’t see this as a big issue. I enjoy being liked. An easy way to ensure that everyone liked me was to agree, to prioritise everyone else’s wants, favour their plans and listen to their ideas. I thought this to be a win win situation.
Turns out, the benefits of behaving that way are quite short lived. It is shallow and dishonest, to pretend to agree all the time.
Relationships are give and take. Listening is a wonderful skill but it is also important to share and to be vulnerable.
Also, with time I have discovered that I am not nearly as clever as I thought. The expectations and needs that I thought others had, aren’t always real. I am fairly good at reading a room but I am not a mind-reader. It is unfair to ascribe opinions to people that they have never voiced.
A different way
Here are some things I now do, when I find myself in the temptation of losing myself in order to please others or when I am trying to figure out what I want.
Write stuff down.
Let’s say, there is a decision to be made. Just holding all the implications and factors in my head quickly becomes overwhelming. So, I write down all the pros and cons. Then, I assign a score to each pro and con item. By adding them up, I can see what side leans heavier.
Sometimes, the scores say I should go for option A. But I suddenly feel very unhappy about that. That’s a strong indicator that I might not like option A. That might not give me complete certainty on what to do, but it is progress.
Also, generally writing out what I think and how I feel about a situation immensely helps me to get clarity about what I want.
Talk about it.
I am an internal processor and sometimes struggle to communicate all my random thoughts. However, time and time again I experience how helpful it is to A) say my thoughts out loud to someone and B) hear their opinions and advice.
Listen to my gut.
I am not an emotional person. And I can be a bit suspicious of emotions. But, over time I have learned that they aren’t random.
Whenever I have ignored a gut feeling about something, things didn’t turn out so good.
And I think “gut” feeling can be taken quite literal. Often we know or perceive something with our bodies that our minds don’t pick up one. We are whole people, and shouldn’t ignore everything below our shoulders when it comes to making decisions.
As a Christian, I believe that Jesus is alive. That he hears me and that, at times, he also responds to me. Whether it is through a Bible verse, a change in the aforementioned gut feeling, a new thought that pops into my head or just a sense of peace – praying always really helps me in determining what I want to do.
What about you?
Do you always know what you want? If not, what do you do? I would love to hear.
This is Day 77 of my 100 Day Project. You can learn more about my 100 day project by reading this post. If you want to do your own 100 day Project, I would recommend checking out the 100 Day Project website.