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How To Know If You're Making The Right Choice

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am i making the right choice
Self

It's more than just following your heart.

You want to make that key choice that will open up everything for you. I get it. Only you will know whether or not you chose wisely, of course, but I’d like to suggest that your truth is closer than you think.

This is about clear thinking, and how important it is in our lives.

Sometimes thinking clearly is based on science, or whatever science is currently proposing.

Sometimes that includes the gut feeling you get when you just know what’s the right choice. I’m not talking about The Mind-Gut Connection, which is about how gut-based bacteria control our cravings; the gut feeling I want to discuss is more of a ... well ... more of a feeling.

Sometimes clear thinking comes from listening to your heart — to the other, non-gut feelings that urge us to make the right choice. (1980s pop-rock band Roxette knows what that means.)

I’d like to suggest that the best choices come from a combination of all three of these internal guidance systems.

Just the facts, Ma’am.

We need the facts. There are empirical reasons why, and empirical reasons why not. Ignore these at your own peril, people like to say. And steer clear of those alternative facts.

But facts can change. Sometimes facts change dramatically … even in science. This is because science is about evolving understanding, and when understanding evolves, sometimes the facts that used to be scientifically supportable simply shatter. 

It’s a fact that Earth was once understood to be the center of the universe. It’s a fact that E=mc2… except that science has now demonstrated that there’s a better fact based on a better understanding, supported by better evidence.

 

So, what’s your gut say?

We need our gut. Fear and anger resonate there, and those feelings have helped us safely make survival choices for 200,000 — no, according to the New York Times as of last week, I must correct that – 300,000 years.

 

Listen. Listen to your heart.

And what about your heart? 

That non-literal place inside us that seems to emit joy and sadness? If you have ever hit your knees in prayer or felt like just giving up and ending it all, OR if you’ve been so overcome with ecstasy that it seems like no other choice could ever be so right, you’ve been listening — to your heart.

 

Can you just take a shortcut?

There are shortcuts, I’ll agree. 

Horoscopes and other astrological methods, the Tarot, Wiccan candle magic, the Enneagram, card science…the list goes on and on. Psychology has taken its shot at categorizing us using the choices we make; take the Jungian Myers-Briggs personality test and see how you “fit in.”

More physical decision methods include Kinesiology, which my acupuncturist uses to help determine which of meridian points need needles, what chakras to open, where energy is blocked. There seem to be an infinite variety of choice engines out there, all more or less based on scientific evidence.

 

This isn’t helping... 

Someone has to say it: no one else can make a tough decision for you. 

Or pretty much any decision, actually, particularly after you come of age and start pretending to be an adult. (Little secret: even those of us with plenty of experience still pretend to be adults…it seems to work better than being childish.)

“Follow the rules” works fairly well … until you discover that the church you love, for example, doesn’t love you because you’re not part of the gender binary. Or the company you work for plays fast and loose with morality while you don’t. Or you did everything right and got kicked to the curb anyhow, which sadly results in more and more “deaths of despair.”

This isn’t helping.

 

It does get better.

It does get better once that first, crucial decision — the one that stands in the way of your future everything? — gets made. There’s a whole movement around that at ItGetsBetter.org; does it matter whether that’s a fact, a gut feeling, or a heartfelt truth? If you could make that one choice to unlock everything else right now, would you?

But how do I know what’s the right choice to make? Google reports about 103,000,000 results in a search for “how to know what the right choice is.” 

That’s not really great news right about now, but I did promise you this article is about how to find your truth, so here goes.

 

How to find your truth.

Your truth, and all the best choices you can ever make because of it, is when your head, gut, and heart connect and agree.

Seems easier to listen to our heads and hearts than our guts. 

It’s tough for me to listen to a hip-hop love song like Nicki Minaj's "Your Love", for example, because often the music makes my gut feel one way and my head another, leaving my heart confused. I spend a lot of subconscious energy trying to sort it all out, and I’m left feeling confused and empty.  (I’m probably not one of the 99,000,000 viewers of that video who feels satisfied, but there’s got to be a reason so many of us watch and listen to it.)

Some music helps the head, heart, and gut agree. Music like that is sublime. And because all of us are different, my sublime sort of music could be different from yours. 

Maybe yours is “Your Love” and I’m good with that. If your head, heart and gut feel connected and in sync with “Your Love,” that’s your sublime song.

Some people find their truth around a song like the Beatles’ “Let It Be”. The music and words in “Let It Be” are extremely congruent. At least, the way I experience the feeling in the words and the feeling in the music of “Let It Be” is exactly the same between my heart, heart and gut. As an experiment, try experiencing “Let It Be” as if for the first time, maybe with this video from GENTRI.

 

How you know when you've found YOUR truth, and made the right decision. 

Your truth is when your head, heart, and gut agree. Doesn’t matter how you get there — my personal preference is to listen to music that does it for me. 

Let me clarify that, because it’s really important:

It doesn’t matter what method you use to line up your head, heart, and gut. When all three agree, you’ve found your truth.

In that place, any choice becomes clear and easy. Try it.

 

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Like scientific facts, your truth evolves with your understanding and connection to it. 

Life experience will season your truth and make you more discerning. That’s OK. Go with it. You really only need to pay attention to the choice in front of you right now … there will be plenty of other, harder choices down the road.

But now you have the tools to know your truth, and you already use them better than when you started reading this.

Yeah. More than just a total-body experience, this one is total being. Turns out it can be a great way to live, too. One of my favorite authors, Michael A. Singer, wrote a very unusual autobiography about how he made life choices called “The Surrender Experiment.” Read it if you dare!

And hit me back with how it's going, OK?  I'd appreciate that.

Bill Protzmann is a speaker and life coach on a mission to raise awareness about the power of music as self-care. Want to join the music care movement? Check out the Music Care website or sign up for lessons.

 

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