Decisions can be challenging, but with these 3 questions, it may be easier than you think.
Many times it's easy to know what to say and do in a given situation such as the everyday tasks in our lives. But there often are times when we are faced with the need to respond or act and we're not quite sure what to say or how to proceed. For example, I was faced with that recently when I was asked to participate in a project that I had some interest in, but wasn't quite sure if I really wanted to do it. When things like this are not clear to me,
I've learned three simple questions to guide me through what to say and do.
They are based in my desire to live intentionally so that I produce harmony, balance, and well-being for myself and with others. There are three important benchmarks that indicate well-being and harmony. They are energy, mental clarity, and positive regard for self and others. Here's what I mean.
Energy is the sense of aliveness and vibrancy that is evident when we're saying and doing something that is aligned with our conscious intentions and our integrity. For example, spending longed for time with a loved one or in an activity that we thoroughly enjoy will bring a hum of vibrancy to our energy. This is in contrast to engaging in a conversation that produces conflict with a loved one or an activity that we dislike even though we have a choice about it which may imbalance our internal sense of integrity or our goals. The general guideline is that if something produces positive energy, than it matches, if it produces a drop in your energy, think again about it.
Mental Clarity is the experience of seeing something clearly and connecting it with what has meaning and value for you. Your thinking about it is not marred by doubts or confusion. It's also not hijacked by anger and righteousness. With mental clarity we feel calm and not jacked up on adrenaline. For example, when there is a difference of perspective or opinion with a loved one or friend, we need to carefully consider what to say and how to say it to best express our care for our self and the other. Taking a righteous position clouds our mental clarity. Staying true to an ethic of caring creates a pathway to thinking with clarity about how to proceed.
Positive Regard for Self and Others is the state of being in which each person is held with respect, acceptance, and care. This produces the whole body sense of aliveness in relationship where each person matters equally and the circumstance that is being considered is opened to a creative response rather than one in which someone gains and someone loses.
When faced with a situation, consider each option and ask:
1. Am I feeling energetic?
2. Am I thinking clearly with my intention in mind?
3. Am I feeling and thinking positively toward myself
Here's how to apply them. Using the situation above of being asked to participate in a project, I needed to bring to mind what my priority involvements are right now in my life. With that in my mind, I asked the first question and noticed that yes, when I thought of it, I had an energy rise and a feeling of excitement. I asked the next question and yes, it did match one of my priorities which is to create fun activities with people I enjoy. And the last question got a clear yes as well. So I had the green light to go ahead and get additional details for my involvement in the project. If any of my answers would have been "no" or unclear, I would have said no or at least paused for further consideration.
Another example comes from recent work with a client. He wondered if he should tell his partner something he had been withholding thinking that the seriousness of the issue would cause distress for her. He wanted to avoid that, but also realized that withholding the truth was creating a lot of conflict inside of him and he was pulling away from his relationship. We asked the three questions for the pros and cons of revealing the issue. He noticed that to continue withholding dropped his energy, created confusion, and had him be critical of himself and her alternately. When applying the questions to telling the truth, even though he knew it would be difficult, he experienced a rise in his energy, a release from his mental confusion because he didn’t need to create lies or diversions any longer, and he felt better about himself and stopped being critical of her. He decided to choose this option and so we spent time in planning how to tell the truth and how to deal with any reaction he received.
The challenges of our lives are not always simple and easy. Having some simple tools for sorting our options and making our decisions is necessary to create more ease in our lives and contribute to a great sense of well-being. Using our body mind experience to guide our choices consciously, to stay aligned with our best intentions, and to live more fully is the best way I know of to produce the life we are here to have and create.
May you honor your energy, develop your mental clarity, and hold yourself and others in love and acceptance.