3 Ways to Decide When Feelings Get in the Way

Feelings Lie. I often find myself saying things like, “I feel like I should…” or “I really feel it would be best to… “… do whatever.

We make all kinds of decisions every day, but some are obviously big, life changing, long-term commitments. Should I quit my job? Should I go out with this guy or gal? Should I take this job or that one? Should I buy this car or move to an apartment within walking distance of work? Should I start my business? Should I go to this party or that event?

For survivors of domestic violence, child sexual abuse, and other forms of trauma in childhood, dealing with feelings can be very tough. There have been times, when I have no idea why I feel the way I do. Sometimes, I can figure it out and at other times I just have to use the strategies I’m sharing with you. Flashbacks and triggers are real, but we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We can often rule over them with practice and help.

Even small decisions can have big effects. Just think about how people meet everyday. They both decided to get a coffee at a particular place. People decided to attend the same class or church or concert. Imagine how things would be different if your parents didn’t meet or if they were unkind to each other, because they didn’t feel like being friendly.

What would the world be like if certain people didn’t create the things we use every day? What if any one of the hundreds of iterations of modern products didn’t happen, because their creators didn’t feel like work that day? Imagine no ATMs. Imagine no laptop computers, no tablets, or no smartphones.

We recognize that no one is perfect in his or her behaviors, attitudes, or comments. We recognize that sometimes we take action based on feelings. We don’t always recognize that our own feelings lie. So, what can we do?

  1. Deliberate change. There is wisdom in a multitude of counselors. When we call the same person all the time, we might get our feelings mixed up with truth. We all love to commiserate, but it is unproductive and can be detrimental to a decision making process. Even though you might have to give some background about what’s going on, it’s usually a good idea to talk to people who have no stake in the outcome, but care about you. Talk about the pros and cons, the implications for the future and the impact on others within your sphere of influence.
  2. Consider others. How will our decisions affect the people around us? We all have family, friends, coworkers, employers or employees, cousins or other extended family, neighbors, vendors or patrons, and acquaintances of all kinds. I think we forget that the way we live and the choices we make have an impact on others. Even some of what might be considered small stuff can make a difference to others. Where we spend our time, money, or other resources impacts on other people.
  3. Plan for eternity. If you have been with me for any length of time, you know that I believe that the Bible is the Word of our Creator to us. We may not understand it all. At times, we can change our minds about what a passage means. It isn’t easy to follow the admonitions. There are some pretty rough patches of history in it and some lengthy genealogy that only makes sense to scribes.

There is lots of wisdom about how to live here, though. That’s the most important place to start.  What other ways do you deal with decision making?

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