Decision Making – Head Vs Heart Vs Gut
If you’re like me, you’ve probably received all manner of advice for decision-making in your life: “Listen to your heart.” “What is your gut telling you?” “Use your head and make a rational decision.” Sometimes, all that advice can make a situation even more confusing because these seem to be conflicting ideas.
They’re not. They represent different aspects of who we are and we need a balance. We do need to listen to our hearts and use our emotions as the guide for what feels right to us. It’s this simple: if it feels good and right, it’s usually in alignment with who we are and what we’re to be doing. If it doesn’t feel good or right, it’s usually not. Our emotions act as an internal GPS – guiding us to what will best serve us.
However, that doesn’t mean we disregard what’s going on in our minds. Of course, we need logic and we need to use our minds to follow through on the practical aspects of a decision. We just have to be aware of which thoughts we’re listening to in our minds. If it sounds like the negative chatter of “I can’t do that,” “I’m not good enough or smart enough,” “I should do this, not that,” or something along those lines, that’s typically our ego coming in to scare us. If we allow that fear to be real, we’ll end up stuck in place and unable to make a decision that’s truly right for us. So certainly, use your head and your logic, but don’t allow that negative ego chit-chat to rule the roost.
Assessing what your gut is telling you is also a helpful guide. Of course, when people talk about this, they mean our intuition. It’s not really coming from our gut, but it may show up as a feeling in our stomach or solar plexus area, hence the common terminology of intuition as a “gut feeling.” Really, what’s going on is that our intuition is related to our emotions and our thoughts. It’s another element in the emotional GPS and it’s also part of our higher self – that other voice we can tap into in our minds; the positive voice that knows what’s best for us, what’s right for us.
Essentially, all these aspects of ourselves matter. However, it’s crucial, to begin with, our emotions. To tap into what we feel in our heart and what our intuition is telling us about a decision. This is the compass by which you can be true to yourself. If you feel deeply in your heart and intuitively that something is right or wrong for you, that’s usually the guide by which you’ll steer. If what you hear in your mind conflicts with that, you’ll want to assess if that’s because it’s your negative ego chatter, rather than your higher self, talking to you.
Here are three key questions to ask yourself when you are working through the decision-making process:
1 What do I want? Think about this. What exactly is it that you desire – not what you think you should want, but what you truly want deep inside.
2 Why do I want it? Understanding the driving motivation behind your desire is a vital step to assessing the situation or the decision. Think about this at a profound level. Think about what will keep you moving forward if you get stuck or run into tough times along the way – what’s the anchoring reason, your “why” for doing what you want?
3How do I want to feel when I have it? Getting in touch with your emotions about your desire helps you better understand and reinforce your why. Imagine yourself having made your decision and you have what you truly want. How does it feel? Do you feel joy, freedom, hopefulness, success, abundance? What is it? Feel those emotions and it will help bring further clarity to the decision-making process.
Put any decision through these three simple, but effective, questions and listen to the answers. Allow yourself to have a balance between your emotions and your mind. You are a holistic being and that means not shutting off different parts of yourself. Allow yourself to access all aspects – listen to your heart, your intuition, and your head.