Watch the full training HERE.
We want to believe that we’re making our own decisions in life. And all too often, our decisions are actually being informed by what we were taught by our families, culture, history, religion, and schooling. Because of this, it’s surprisingly difficult to choose our own path.
Today I’m going to talk about how to get better at discerning if decisions you’re making are actually yours, if they’re true to you, or if you’re living a life that somebody else prescribed for you.
Here are 5 ways to sharpen your ability to choose your own path.
1. Slow down
When you have a big decision to make, give yourself space to hear your thoughts. Take your time, so you can distinguish the different voices at play in your head.
2. Get clear on what the different voices are in your head
If you’re one of the 70% or 80% of people who have inner narration going on, get to know the flavor of the different voices that are talking to you. Like, when this one’s talking, it’s your inner teenager. That one’s your judgmental voice, that’s your inner critic, this one’s your fear, etc.
Begin to get some facility with recognizing the different voices that speak in your head, so that when you’re faced with making a major decision and want to choose your own path, you can tell who’s out front trying to make the decision for you.
3. Decide who you want in charge
Cultivate a relationship with your adult, which is also called your aware ego, or your integrated ego. It’s the part of you that can survey your choices and the situation without reacting to it out of your childhood wounding, cultural conditioning, educational conditioning, and/or religious conditioning.
My recommendation, and what I teach my clients, is to get your adult in charge.
Because choosing what you’re going to do in life out of your rebellious teenager or your wounded child, or your fear, or any of the other aspects of the self that can influence your decision-making is going to have unintended consequences based on having made a choice out of reactivity instead of clarity.
I like to use the image of a car. You want to put your adult in the driver’s seat. Your child can be to the side or in the back. Your teenager can be there, too. Really any number of your “inner pantheon,” as I like to call it, can be in the car. You don’t throw them out of the car, because they’re a part of you.
You just don’t want them taking the wheel, and for that reason you need to put your adult in the driver’s seat.
4. Take action
Choose an action and do it. And if it doesn’t feel aligned, then change it.
There’s no way for you to work out every single variable in advance. Sometimes you just have to make a decision and do a thing, and the doing of the thing shows you the next thing to do.
Be willing to try stuff and iterate it if what you try at first doesn’t work. This will show you your path way quicker than trying to figure it all out in the abstract.
5. Handle your need for validation and affirmation
If you’re being driven by validation and affirmation needs, then you’re not going to be able to make an independent decision.
Instead, you’re going to make decisions based on what you think other people will find acceptable, which hampers your ability to truly choose your own path.
So be aware when your validation and affirmation needs are operating and either be okay with making choices through the lens of needing to please others, or work on loosening the grip of those needs, so you can make choices that are truly your own.
Wishing you well!
Watch the full training HERE.
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