How are you when the decision you face holds the potential for major impact on those around you? Perhaps it’s the decision to divorce or change jobs or move far away from family. Likely you don’t make these decisions lightly. But do you:
- Build a case your head why the current situation (or the people in it) is bad and you have to run the other direction?
- Worry about what they will think and how they will feel and perhaps ignore the voice in your gut that knows what you need?
- Get stuck in thinking and rethinking and trying to figure out how to make it good for everyone involved?
Here’s the hard truth. There will most likely be folks who dislike your actions, are negatively impacted by your choices, who think you have betrayed them. And no matter how hard you try, you cannot fix or take care of them. Period. Plus, they have the power to choose how they respond, how they feel, how they react to your choice.
The next time you face a major decision, try this out:
- Ask yourself: If no one else was impacted, what is my truth here? What is my gut telling me to do?
- Try on other scenarios. What does it feel like in you to go against your gut? What regrets might you hold if you chose one of these?
- Separate your feelings from your gut knowing. Take time to be with your own sadness or discomfort, dis-ease or fear. Acknowledge how you feel and know that feelings are meant to guide us. They may be a warning suggesting we stay put. They may be a challenge inviting us to move forward through our fear.
- Take time to be aware of how you think others will be impacted. Then know that you could be wrong! Also, consider seeing them as strong and capable of taking care of themselves, perhaps even expanding into more of who they can be in your absence.
- Know who your safe others are, persons who can be objective and who care about you, and bounce ideas off of them. You alone, however, make the final decision and must be responsible for your impact.
If, after all of this, your decision is one with major impact, let your compassionate, wise, loving, caring self be gentle but firm in the message delivery. Speak your truth clearly yet honestly, honoring yourself and the other. Be open to the impact but don’t take it personally. Caring for others doesn’t mean we never disappoint them or do things which cause them to feel anger or hurt or fear. If we really care, we see them as fully empowered to move through their emotions, getting the support they need, and growing through the situation.
No one said a life which includes deeply caring about others as well as ourselves was going to be easy. In fact, it can be one of the most courageous things we’ll ever do! Yet, I wonder:
Is there really any other way?