“It’s important to always trust yourself. Your own intuition, feelings, and thoughts will always be more important than what you hear from anyone else.” — John Culbertson
A question that eventually many of my new clients end up asking is “How do I know when faced with a major and important choice, which direction is right or wrong? How do I figure out what is the best choice for me ?”
These are very important questions to ask. Nobody wants to make the wrong choice, feel like they’ve wasted precious time and life or, even worse, find themselves dealing with some sort of pain. In fact, the majority of us would rather make the right decision the first time around. We’ll talk more about this idea of “the right decision” in a few moments. First, I want to point out the process of making good decisions.
What I tell people when they ask me these questions is simply to trust themselves. When individuals follow their own intuition and inner voices, more often than not they end up making the choices that are best for them. When people allow other people to deeply influence them without taking the time to figure things out for themselves, more often than not they end up regretting the decisions and choices they make.
Regret is the real problem here. The only true bad decisions that people make in life are the ones that cause them to have feelings of regret later. Choosing to feel regret, however, is a matter of choice too. In fact, most who deeply follow a spiritual path eventually learns that all emotions are products of the human thinking mind. For the beginners out there, however, it’s far better to not even worry about this concept right now. Instead, it’s most important to focus on making decisions which, when you look back, you in your current state of being at the time of making a decision will not regret.
TECHNIQUES FOR MAKING GOOD DECISIONS
There’s an old NLP trick that many therapists commonly use. In it, you are asked to imagine yourself alone in an elevator. Each floor represents a different choice that can be made. Sometimes there may be only two floors and other times there could be four, five, or even more. Now, as you imagine yourself standing alone in that elevator, which floor do you find yourself most wanting to get off on? Which floor, when the elevator door opens, makes you feel the best or smile the most? There’s a good chance that’s your answer.
Another popular method for making good decisions revolves around the pro and con weight analysis test. In this, you take a piece of paper and divide it into a half. One-half you label pros and the other half cons. You may need more than one sheet of paper depending on the choice that is being made. You consider what action you want to take, allowing yourself time to visualize what life would be like if that action were taken. Then you write the potential and possible pros of taking that action in the pros column and the potential and possible cons in that column. When you are finished, you weigh them and see if the pros outweigh the cons. You may want someone else’s help in suggesting possible pros and cons.
Likewise, in a similar manner, a consequence analysis can be used before making a decision. In this method, you simply ask what is the worst that could happen if I make that decision and am I willing to deal with that consequence.
TECHNIQUES ONLY GET YOU SO FAR
These techniques, though all good and useful, at some point, eventually become mute facts. In truth, when people truly follow their inner voices or their gut intuition they typically find themselves okay with whatever happens. They understand that no matter what happens, they did what was best for them. As a result, they are immediately filled with a sense of inner peace.
I also often tell my advanced students that from a deeply spiritual perspective there truly are no wrong decisions in life. There are just good and not so good ways of dealing with the results and outcomes of those decisions. Now, grant it, some will enjoy having a philosophical argument with me at this point – to which I indulge with them. Even so, I believe firmly that every decision we make, on a soul level, helps us to grow, learn, and evolve. That doesn’t mean in the physical world that those decisions were “right” by the standards of society or the value and belief system of others. That doesn’t mean that there are no consequences for making those decisions. It does mean, however, that we as humans cannot ever possibly know the deepest soul aspects of another nor their purpose in life nor what they are or were supposed to be learning in this life. We can, and often do, judge others based on what we know and believe, but we can’t know with certainty what contracts they had formed on a soul level before coming into this world.
Typically what makes up the core of a bad decision is when a person ends up going against their inner voice or gut-level feelings. It is when a person chooses to disregard their own values, beliefs, or moral compass. As such, it becomes important for people to constantly evaluate their own values, morality, and beliefs and make changes to them when necessary.
At this point, it never fails. Someone brings up the fact that there surely must be a universal morality. That, for example, killing someone is always wrong no matter what you believe. Many people are surprised to find that I disagree with the concept of universal morality. Some people believe that there are certainly some actions, such as murder, which is universally wrong. Again, however, we can not know the deeper purpose or reason behind what is done.
Let’s take Judas from Christianity as an example. Judas is often painted as the bad guy in Christian theology. He betrayed Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Only an evil person would dare do that. Anyone that betrays another becomes nicknamed “A Judas.” This stigma has followed him for centuries, and from the Christian perspective, rightfully so.
Likewise, the Romans and others who were responsible for the death of Jesus often times get cursed as well. However, Christians have a firm belief that Jesus came into the physical world to die for our sins so that we don’t have to suffer eternal death, rather we can enjoy the joys of Heaven and immortality because Jesus died on the Cross.
It’s not hard to see the problem here. Jesus had to die on the Cross for Christians to be saved. If he would not have died on the cross, Christians would not, by their own claims, be capable of accessing Heaven. As such, Judas’s betrayal, and the actions of those who killed Christ, though seemingly evil, may have been the greatest act of love ever. He had to betray Jesus, and they had to kill him for the events to unfold that would allow Jesus to fulfill his destiny and save all who believe in him from their sins. Thus, theoretically, Judas and the Romans should be viewed as heroes, not as evil bastards who are the lowest form of scum to ever live.
Do you understand the point? Do you see how, as humans, we can judge people based on certain selected beliefs and still not understand the greater purpose that these acts may be serving?
Christians, or those who believe in Jesus Christ, took a horrible situation and turned it into something which they consider to be great – in this case, an entire religion which would come to dominate the known physical world.
There are other examples that could be used, but the one just mentioned is perhaps the easiest to understand and see.
Universal morality is only universal when it meets certain conditions (thus, in essence, not making it truly universal) as set by the person deeming it to be “universal.” What we in the U.S. may believe to be universal in morality may not be so in some tribal culture in the Amazon. Does that make that culture wrong? Only from our U.S. perspective, not from their tribal perspective.
Does this mean I would ever murder someone? Not at all. In fact, in this life, I was blessed with a spirit that holds the belief that most all forms of killing are wrong. I can’t say if I would still feel that way if, for example, I was born in the Middle East instead of Missouri. I can’t say if I would still feel that way if I was raised Islamic instead of Christian. I can’t say if I would still feel that way if someone in my family had been murdered in cold blood and I wanted to feel a sense of justice or revenge. I am the way I am because certain circumstances and events played out in my life that helped to shape and create who I am. The same is true for all people.
Likewise, however, I try very hard to not judge the apparent “evil” actions of some people in our world. I don’t know what their journey is or the deeper reasons behind that journey. Perhaps in their apparent evil, as horrible as it may be, something good and greater will come as a result of it. Some people commit what are considered to be evil acts by others when in their own mind those acts were meant to be good. That doesn’t make it “right” from anyone else’s perspective.
THE BEAUTY OF LIVING IN OUR WORLD
Besides learning to trust in yourself, it’s equally important to have a few good friends whom you can turn to. People that you can bounce ideas and thoughts off of and who can offer to you new, different, or alternative viewpoints and understandings based on their own cultural identity and the experiences they have had in life.
Understand, however, that these people are not more important than your own inner voices, thoughts, beliefs, and feelings. They may help supplement them, but they should not totally act as a substitute or replacement for them. Rather, you must eventually reach a point where the decisions you make are your own, and you’re willing to deal with the consequences of those decisions, for “good” or “bad.”
One of the reasons people sometimes use a psychic adviser, spiritual counselor, therapist, or life coach is to have another viewpoint. These individuals provide to others a trusted person with whom they can bounce those thoughts, ideas, values, and beliefs off of knowing that they’ll either receive apparent validation or new ideas, insights, and understandings. For some people there is far more value to having someone available and in their corner, that won’t judge them, but who will offer their own spiritually unique perspective and insights.