Some decisions are very easy to make, others so effortless we don’t realise we’ve even made them and then there are those that tear us up inside, that throw everything into disarray and still feel impossible to resolve. When it comes to making decisions in life there is never any let up we just have to keep doing it day in day out, not forgetting that old chestnut either about a non decision also being a decision. So how do we make our decisions, what do we base them on and what makes some decisions easier/harder than others? More importantly how do we know we’ve made the right one?
We are so often told to listen to our heart and what it’s telling us when we’ve got an important decision to make. This advice only ever seems to come from others; I don’t ever hear anyone say ‘listen to your head’! We ourselves bring our heads into the mix, perhaps to balance things out a bit or feel reassured that there will be at least some logic in our decision if we’ve allowed ourselves to think about it rather than just feel it.
Decisions based on feelings alone are often perceived to be irrational, unfounded and of course emotional. We see it in films all the time when someone in an outburst of emotion about to do something is stopped by a thoughtful friend who urges them to calm down and think things through rationally before they do anything. What is so special about rational decisions anyhow, I’m inclined to think that too much rationale is what clouds our decisions not clarifies them but then again I would say that being in the business of emotions so there’s my logic behind that thinking.
Decisions have somehow become synonymous with parts of the body, some parts representing what we want to do (the heart) while others tell us what we ought to do (the head). And then there are those decisions that have been made way before either head or heart has had a say, the gut decisions where we already know the outcome before any action has even taken place. It’s commonly believed that decisions made based on our gut feeling are the right ones, they are the decisions that were meant to be made. Although if something is meant to be then there’s really no decision at all. So what tells us we’ve made the right decision? Is it enough for it to just feel right? Feelings, so rich with information and yet so imbued with ambiguity. On the one hand they do provide an internal truth about ourselves and where we’re at in the world but on the other hand they can be terribly misleading when they want to be, not to mention inaccurate and at times anything but the truth. If a person feels they are useless and worth less than nothing does that mean that they are? Feelings, like decisions, need evidence to back them up so that how we feel on the inside collaborates with how the world is on the outside.
Head vs. Heart? A bit of both perhaps, they are lodgers in each others homes. I know how I tend to make decisions, though every now and then there are some that come along where neither my head nor heart take the lead because it is inevitable what I must choose, the decision has chosen me. Some decisions are unconditional, just looking at someone you love will tell you that.