Whenever I’m making a decision that I feel I am ‘emotionally’ involved in, such as answering a question from my (almost 19 y.o.) daughter: “Do you like my new tattoo?” I’ve learned to try and ask myself a question before answering… This question has helped me enormously in my relations with others, and uncovered some startling facts about myself (startling to me, perhaps you would find them obvious).
Now, if I need to decide which screw-driver to use for a job, I consider that a relatively ‘emotion-less’ decision, a decision not based on self, but based on more practical things such as a #2 Phillips for a #2 screw-head, a short one for tight spaces, etc., etc.
I try to ask myself: “Am I making this decision coming from a place of fear? Or love?”
If I ask myself whether I am making a decision based on fear, or love, I find myself regretting decisions much less. I experience less second-thoughts where I am arm-chair quarter-backing my past/recent decisions.
When answering my daughter’s question from above, my first thought is: “WTF? You got ANOTHER one? Why the hell do you keep doing this?” And yes, that would generally be exactly what rolled off my tongue, and I would often find myself apologizing for it later (I mean: C’mon, what benefit, for either of us, was gained by my saying that?).
When I ask myself that question before answering, in the example above concerning my daughter, I realize that first response is probably not coming from a place of love, And if it’s not coming from a place of love, there’s a good chance it’s fear-based. This might not make much difference to some, but I really don’t like the idea of fear having that much ‘control’ in my life. I like to think of myself as being able to go through life without acting as if each moment was a fight-or-flight survival issue. I am exaggerating, but it’s for a point.
The message that I think is more important, for my daughter and myself, is that I love her, and that there is a fundamental bond that does not deserve to be corrupted by my fear that somehow she is displaying the ‘wrong’ image (wrong being the image that my solitary experience dictates is not good, bad, cheap, etc., etc.), and that will reflect badly on me, her, and life as I live it in general.
So, regardless of what I am thinking, I reply: “Wow” And then ask about another design or placement. I’ll try to find something a shade less judgmental then “WTF?”
And I will sleep better. I will have more peace in my heart. In my younger years I had little value for either of those things; I lived a cheap life.