Oftentimes the greatest challenges in life are those moments when we don't know which choice to make... or we feel we have no choice at all.
Here's how to simplify the challenges you face, access crystal clarity in the face of adversity, and make the right choice.
5 Steps to Simplify Your Challenges Right Now
Define each factual option available to you, even if you don't like it
Every challenge and every opportunity is comprised of choices that must be made: to accept this client or that client? To stay with the job and a coming raise, or embark on your new business venture and risk it all? To fight for a relationship that's lost its luster or complete that relationship and hope for new love?
What causes us pain is not knowing which choice is the right choice. We hate not knowing what the consequences will be, or how others will react or be harmed by our decision. And so, right away, it helps to reduce all the emotional upset down to the factual real choices you are facing.
Emotions aren't bad and shouldn't be ignored or buried, however they do not always help us in defining and making our decisions.
So when facing a challenge, write down on a piece of paper the two or more choices you're facing. Just be blunt and factual. Choice A: Stay, Choice B: Go, Choice C: some kind of compromise... and so forth.
Keep emotion out of it at this stage. It's hard to gain mental clarity when you have emotional chaos. But once you achieve mental clarity, you can use that to help clarify your emotions and decide where you stand.
Ask: Does This Choice Step Toward Love... or Run Away From Fear?
Every choice we make, even the really tiny ones we don't notice, can only do one of two things: move toward love, or away from fear. When you move toward love, you're saying YES to what you want. You're stepping toward things you want to experience, that you want to make happen, or that you want to create for yourself or others. When you bring choice and definitive action to the things you want, you engage the law of attraction powerfully to bring those things to you more rapidly.
When you move away from fear, you're saying NO to something you do NOT want to experience. However, the idea of "NO" is a concept that can only exist in the mental realm of language. But our Universe does not operate on language. It operates on vibration, including images and mathematics.
There is no NO in images. Either the image is there or it isn't. There is no NO in mathematics. A+B=C, even if you say NO to B, it's still there.
So when you make a decision based in moving away from fear, what is actually happening is you are reinforcing the exact thing you're moving away from. Your definitive choice focused on that fear actually draws it to you.
When looking at the choices you defined in Step One, identify for each one if it is moving towards love or away from fear.
Then, to the best of your ability, transform any choice that's moving away from fear into one that moves towards love. Or determine which of your choices is the step towards love, and take that one.
What are some examples? Well let's take a romantic relationship as an example... let's say you're confused and distraught because your 7 year relationship has deteriorated over the years. You love your partner, you know they love you, and things aren't necessarily that bad. However you are beginning to feel restless, like you have vital needs that are going unmet. You don't feel heard or seen anymore and you're beginning to crave a new start.
Your choices may be:
- Stay in the relationship the way that it is
- Leave the relationship in search of new love
- Compromise: you'll agree to stay another 6 months if you both go into counseling or actively communicate each others' needs and act to fulfill them
Any one of these decisions may be the best one for you, but how to tell?
Ask yourself, which choice moves toward love and which one moves away from fear? And just because a relationship represents love doesn't mean that staying automatically moves toward love.
What if you're completely dying inside of that relationship? Then moving toward love means stepping toward self-love and the hard truth that in order to save yourself and give yourself a life you relish... it's time to complete the relationship you're in and move on.
Remember that you are the only thing entirely under your control
As Stephen Covey says in his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, we are the only thing within our own circle of influence. And we can only hope to control or affect that which is within our own circle of influence.
This means that you can't control what another person will do, or how they'll feel or react based on what you do. Yet, how often are you basing your decisions on the reaction or result you want the other person to have?
When looking at each of the choices available to you, ask yourself why you're considering that choice? Is it to keep someone else happy or satisfied? Is it because you know someone will be incredibly upset or angry with you if you make a different choice? Are you taking responsibility for someone else? Or is this choice solely about you and what you desire?
I'm not advocating that you ignore someone else's well being when making your decisions. You never want to take an action that deliberately hurts another person. But what if you have to choose between doing right by YOU, and keeping someone you love happy?
The honest truth here is that their happiness is up to them. It's not up to you. It is NOT your responsibility.
YOUR happiness is your responsibility and sometimes that means making a choice that challenges a loved one to grow and to stop letting their happiness rely on you and your choices.
Ask which choice serves the Highest Self of everyone involved, and serves the Highest Good
This can be your guiding compass ~ your North Star, if you will. This is because following Step #3 is really really difficult when you're an emotional creature! You never want to think that another suffers because of you. You never want to be the cause of pain or disappointment in those you love or respect.
Another way to consider your situation is to ask yourself what each person involved may have to learn or experience through this challenge. By catering to another person's emotions and making decisions that keep the other person satisfied, you may be harming their growth process. This also applies to decisions that deal solely with yourself. Which decision serves your Highest Good? How might you be scared to make a certain choice that will stretch you, make you uncomfortable, or take you out of your comfort zone? Those are often the most potent, life transforming and magical choices!!
Don't just make a decision that minimizes discomfort, pain or upset for all parties involved. Make a decision that serves each person becoming the best person they can be.
Lastly, trust your gut, even if it hurts your heart...
If you're really honest with yourself about any challenge or decision... you usually already know the choice you want to make. What makes a mess of it all is looking at the ramifications of the choice you want to make - the emotional turmoil you feel, the people who won't agree with or like your choice, the ways life will absolutely change when you make that choice.
All of these things can be very scary and fog up your sense of what to do.
But if you take a moment, after going through the other steps, and just get really quiet with yourself... you have a strong intuition or gut instinct for what you want to do, for the right choice.
Trust that. The choice before you may not be the easiest one, but it's probably the one that leads toward LIFE, toward your fierce love for yourself, and toward eventual joy.