A couple weeks ago I spoke at an event where my topic was Making Decisions with Ease: Tapping Into Your Inner Guidance System. During the conversation, I asked the women why it was so difficult to make decisions, and one of the top reasons was hurting someone else. We will sacrifice our own happiness to not hurt someone else, which creates resentment and we end up hurting them anyway.
This conversation I’m about to have with you feels heavy and may not seem Contagiously Positive, but it actually really is. It is real life. Real feelings we all experience. I want to have meaningful conversations with you, not just send you inspiring quotes, which are great to get us motivated, but sometimes we need more than just a few words, so let’s dive in.
Are you struggling to make a decision because it might hurt someone?
If you said yes, you are not alone. So often we stay in something that is causing us pain because we don’t want to suffer ourselves, but mostly it is because we don’t want someone else to suffer. The easy thing for me to say to you is, whatever you decide to do, make sure it’s to make yourself happy. But, that is not always easy, so I wanted to have this conversation to help you if you are struggling with this.
Let’s work with this idea that whatever you are going to choose to do, you are going to choose your happiness. Here’s the tricky part that makes this simple idea so difficult. Sometimes you have to go through some pain and discomfort to get to happiness. It isn’t always, most often not, a direct connection from point A (sadness) to point B (happiness). There are lots of emotions in between. That is 100% normal and part of the process.
“What is difficult isn’t the decision; it is the temporary suffering that the decision will cause us.”
For example, let’s use ending a relationship (personal or professional) where the other person doesn’t want it to end. You don’t end a relationship, especially one where you love the other person, but it just doesn’t work for you anymore, without going through massive shifts of pain. Just because you know it’s right for you to leave doesn’t make it easy. In fact, it’s the opposite. Easy comes later, but it’s not really easy, it’s EASE & PEACE.
Here’s the other part that’s not fun about that, but sometimes necessary to get to the other side where you feel peace and ease. Your decision might, most likely, probably definitely, temporarily hurt someone you love and respect. I say temporary to let you know that they will be okay. In time, they will go through all the human emotions and come out on the other side.
Think of every single break up you ever experienced. You felt like dying at first, couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep and then one day, you were eating, sleeping and living again. The same applies for a professional relationship. They might be hurt and disappointed, which is totally normal, but they will be okay. Does knowing that make it easier? Yes and no. We don’t want to hurt anyone, but it is a part of the process. Also, it’s not your job to make someone happy. You don’t have to kick them while they are down, but you don’t need to lay down yourself and sacrifice your own happiness to save them either. That is not your job. Repeat after me, “it is not my job to sacrifice my happiness to prevent someone else from being unhappy.”
Whoa, I know that feels heavy, but I promise, a concrete filled truck of heaviness gets lifted when you began to make decisions from a place that brings you joy, happiness and peace. Easy? Not always. Usually never. Worth it? Absolutely!
Your Soul Assignment, If You Choose To Accept
Step 1: What’s a choice you know you have to make to get you closer to feeling the way you want to feel?
Step 2: What temporary emotional, mental or physical sacrifice will you have to make? Being prepared for it will help you so much.
Step 3: For the really challenging decisions, who will be your support system? Get them lined up and ready. Don’t do it alone. You are going to need them to keep your emotional and mental muscles strong. Consider them your decision making coaches, keeping your head in the game.
Step 4: Prepare for the conversation. If you are worried about how the other person will react, this will help you prepare. The first thing you need to know is that having meaningful conversations about what you need can bring up defensiveness in the other person, and in yourself. This of course can stop the conversation in its tracks or make you afraid to even have it because you don’t want to risk an argument – and vice-versa. It’s essential for the growth of your relationship to have the conversation, even at the risk of an argument. As you have more open and honest conversations you will learn how to ask for what you want or talk about what’s not working without the defensive barriers coming up.
Get clear about what the root is. What is the decision you want to make, and why?
Go into the conversation with your intent, your request, your ask, the decision you are going to make, and/or what you need in order to move forward.
Don’t be afraid of an argument. Your feelings matter just as much as theirs. Go into it with the intent that you don’t want to fight, you want to be heard. And remember, you are not responsible for what they hear; you are only responsible for what you say. You might have to say it multiple ways so it resonates with them and they get it. This is easier to do when both of you have your defence systems down, so go into the conversation as lovingly and respectful as you can.
You’ve got this. You are so much stronger than you believe. Once you begin to make decisions that honor your values, needs and desires, you will feel confident, strong, courageous and powerful. And of course, it is a great way to UNLEASH your inner contagiously positive.
Laurie-ann Sheldrick, The Contagiously Positive Girl