Saturday 23 April 2016

Awareness with Choices

Today we are flooded with having to make decisions, decisions and decisions! There is a scary feeling about making the ‘right’ decision or being trapped forever… 

Whilst discussing their decision stress regarding activities or people in their lives with clients I enquired “What would you look at, to know it’s a right or successful decision for you?” A common answer is “I look to see if it feels ‘good’!” That can mean seductive and tempting choices can get your nod only to later discover “Oh my god how did I get into this soup!” Instead you may need to also check on what would truly makes you feel good – what your priority areas are and whether they are met in the choice that has come up. 

When we are checking only to see if it feels good we are like the child who wants to dart across the road for the attractive glittering object on the other side. Our adult self will know there is more complexity than meets the eyes in the first instance. So you look with adult eyes that notice more with the learnings from all the experiences. You see the traffic you will manoeuvre before crossing and you check out if the glittering object is worth it and what it’s shape is… Now you figure if it all adds up – does all the information you are gathering match and align for consistency. Does your ‘feel good’ go beyond the glittering words or the few flattering or ‘helpful’ behaviours someone is showing you to something more robust and consistent in other areas and over time. You notice what happens before or after, you notice what else is happening. 

What is the colour or texture that’s added to the activity? Does that colour match with the priority area of the outcome you are seeking? Watching T.V. feels ‘fun’ and then the texture added to the ‘fun’ can be either ‘inspiring fun’ or ‘meaningless fun’ or ‘purposeless fun’ or passive fun’. This texture could tell you how much to do this activity or not. Someone takes interest in you or is helpful. Should you go along with this friendship that gives you ‘feel good’ moments. But what else is happening. You check out your feelings at other times for the choice you have to make – whether you also sometimes feel confused, pressured or guilty. Then you might be able to identify other actions and non-verbal behaviours of the person that are not aligned with the main actions of the person. It tells you whether the person can walk the talk or be consistent with what they do. A person’s helpfulness or interest in you can have colours that you may need to observe before you get involved. If there is a colour of ‘sincerity’ it becomes ‘sincerely helpful/ sincerely taking interest’ and that can confirm your choice. 

However it can have colours which can be disturbing to you. Arti found that an older co-member of her prayer group who was most helpful. This woman kept telling her “I care for you, I’m like your mother, come and tell me any worries. We are part of the same group.” She even talked comfortingly. Arti went for this friendship. What she did not see is how this woman asked her for so many favours and goodies when they met that were costly things. Only after considerable expense did she realize that this woman was helpful but she was exploiting her with her ‘demanding helpfulness’. Vinita’s boyfriend demonstrated lot of love and affection but he was also always secretive and talking to other women and always giving mixed messages “I can’t live without you” and “I cannot commit to you as I’ll have to see what my parents want me to do.” So there was this was ‘irresponsible and uncommitted affection and interest’ being shown. Name the colours you experience. These can be… ‘domination’ so it becomes ‘dominatingly helpful or dominatingly taking interest’ or it can have the colour of ‘ulterior motives with the helpfulness or interest shown’ or it can be ‘demandingly helpful’ or ‘inconsistently helpful or inconsistently and confusingly taking interest’ or it can be ‘irresponsibly helpful’. You can think of the many colours that could become warning bells to stop you then reciprocating with that person. 

Colours, such as ‘putting down or sarcastic helpfulness’ or ‘uncommitted interest’, when they are very strong and rigid, they can make the helpfulness or interest destructive to you. If they are mild you can set limits to those colours. Then you know if that choice is truly positive or not and whether it is worth what it appears to be! You would know that all that glitters may not be gold.