Big Decisions Part I: Seeking Advice
When you're facing a big decision, it's natural to seek others' advice, and easy to get lost in all the conflicting opinions you gather. How do you separate helpful advice from unhelpful advice? How do you weigh two conflicting opinions? How do you move past the opinions and experiences of others so that you can ultimately make a decision that's good for you?
Big decisions weigh heavily on us. We analyze possible options from every angle but our hearts still say different. We constantly bounce back and forth between two choices, whether family versus career, money versus passion, or security versus adventure, among others. I myself faced many such decisions, with one standing above them all. Through the agony of facing this ultimatum, I made some important discoveries that helped me make my decision, and I want to share them with you.
I had always known that someday I would be a mother. I wanted to have two children because, being an only child myself, I had always admired the family dynamics amongst siblings, especially the ones who were protective, caring, and close. And so as I grew into a young woman and explored relationships with different men I would often ask myself: “how would we parent our children?” This question became a useful guideline for me to compare our value systems and aspirations, and inevitably, also often marked the beginning of the end of the relationship as I would discover that he was not “THE” one.
After turning thirty, and after a few heartbreaks and dating setbacks, I was strongly considering artificial insemination and becoming a single mother, because I knew time was running out. That is when I met Dennis, the absolute love of my life. It was the kind of encounter that was serendipitous, unquestionable. I knew that we were meant to be together. I felt like I had finally found the missing piece, the home I wanted so badly. The only conundrum was that Dennis could not, and did not want to, have any more children. And so I faced a decision I never thought I would have to make: To have a life of love with my soul mate, or to have a child, without the love of my life.
When you’re facing a massive upheaval in your life, it’s natural to feel lonely in your struggle. We seek the advice of others around us and draw them into our situation so that we don’t feel like the weight of the decision rests solely on our shoulders. When making such a huge decision, we also don’t want to feel as if we haven’t given it due consideration, so we search for other perspectives and experiences outside of ourselves. This is a good idea! It’s helpful to hear people’s experiences and opinions, and they often bring ideas to the table that we haven’t considered.
However, take all the advice you are given with a grain of salt. It can be both enlightening and overwhelming to hear a dozen different opinions. Everyone comes from a different background and approaches problems with different values, experiences, and morals. Even people who once faced your exact decision made their own decision for reasons that may not apply to you. In my case, I sought the opinions of friends who had children, and friends who did not. I consulted spirit guides and mediums. I meditated and prayed. While it was comforting to hear various viewpoints, the messages were always open to interpretation.
Of course people who had children did not regret it, and spoke of the benefits and love that children bring. People who chose not to have children also did not regret their decision, speaking of being able to pursue dreams they suspect they wouldn’t have been able to with children. Sometimes I would receive advice that directly clashed with other advice, and both sides seemed equally valid, leaving me somewhere in the middle.
The best thing you can do is be true to yourself. What I found worked for me was to take the pieces that really resonated with me, and write them down. Getting them out of my head and capturing them in some way that allowed me to come back to them as I needed to really helped me contemplate, without the pressure to remember. It stopped the endless cycle of “what ifs” and “then whats” floating endlessly through my mind.
Don’t miss Part 2 of Big Decisions, where I will talk about how to address the battle between your logic and your emotions when you're making a decision. Learn more about me and my services or book a free discovery call with me today! I would love to hear from you.