What do you say yes to? No to?
Life is an accumulation of decisions you make to move toward something or shy away. And when you come to a crossroad in life, it's important to ask: Am I running towards something or running away?
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to make a decision, these three questions can help you have clarity.
1. Is this change in your life a response to fear?
Fear is a huge motivator in life and manifests in a myriad of ways.
In my life, I've responded with fear countless times. From choosing to avoid my life through drugs or emotional eating, to spending the day reading a novel, to not making phone calls I need to in order to move my business ahead.
In other words, are you creating this change to avoid something in your life?
Maybe you want to move to a new apartment because you're afraid of confrontation with the person you currently live with. Or perhaps you want to get another job because you're afraid of being challenged more deeply in your job (or asking your boss for more responsibility).
Are you suddenly in a new relationship because you fear being alone?
I used to move a lot.
My average for living in one place was four years and then I'd get this itch to go. Once I became aware of the pattern, I saw that I liked starting over, starting fresh. It allowed me to reinvent myself but it also meant that I was moving in the same circle over and over again.
Starting over meant I began again with new friends, new job, etc., so I wasn't deepening my learning or pushing beyond what was safe and comfortable.
The times that I've come up against my desire to flee, spoken with a confidante, and worked through it, I've deepened my relationship with myself and forged into new business ventures and relationships.
2. What opportunities will this change bring?
Will the change bring growth in areas that you need or want?
Maybe you live in a small town and it's time to no longer be the big fish in a small pond. Be honest with yourself about what you need right now.
When I lived in Hong Kong and quit my job at a textile factory, more than anything, I wanted to run far, far away. I didn't know what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go. All I knew was that I didn't want to be in Hong Kong anymore. So my best friend told me I had to stay and make my happiness there. After wanting to tell her off, I realized she was right.
I had to ask myself what I needed in my life. That process helped me find a job teaching and it transformed my life.
3. Are you reacting or responding?
Many of us spend our lives reacting to the world. Someone cuts you off while you're driving and you flash them the finger. Your spouse gets jealous about a co-worker and you immediately retort with a cutting remark.
Instead, of allowing our emotions to hijack us, we can choose to respond.
Sometimes this means taking a moment, a breath, asking for clarity or guidance before speaking or acting. It's staking the higher ground both for yourself and the other person.
We're all human so if course we react. But through meditation and mindfulness training, we can retrain our minds to respond with love and compassion instead of anger, hostility, or fear.
Use these questions the next time you want to make a change. It may mean you have to wait for an answer but be patient and know that you'll be guided to where you need to go and what you need to do.
With every decision we make we are saying yes or no. Are you saying yes to fear or to love? Take the time to delve in before you act and it will make a world of difference for you.