A family member of mine was recently faced with a very tough decision. She had to decide whether or not she should take an opportunity that may help her educational pursuits.
If she decided to go, she would risk upsetting the wishes of her parents. When she called and asked me for my advice, I sat quietly and listened. We talked through the pros and cons, I played devil’s advocate and we looked at all of the options. I worked hard not to press my personal opinion on the situation or allow myself to project on what she was going through. It was tough!
In the end I think the best suggestion I could give her was to “sit with it.” She was a bit confused at first. Wasn’t all the talking and mental gestation “sitting with it” enough? To clarify, I asked her to sit in a quiet space, take a few long deep breaths and ask her question out loud—“what should I do? Do I stay or do I go?” Then I told her, don’t jump to any quick conclusion and don’t try to fill in the silence with reasoning, instead, sit with the question and allow it to marinate. Try not to judge or explain your way through in order to get the answer, instead, allow the answer to come to you. The next time we spoke she had made a decision and felt clear and good about the choice she made.
So often I find that when faced with tough decisions we work really hard to defend our personal preference and explain ourselves every which way from here to Timbuktu in order to get the answer we think we want or need. This often leads to confusion and regret as our decision may not have been the best one for us at all. If we stop talking and start listening, we find it is much easier to make an objective decision rather than a rash one. Very often, the answers are right in front of us, yelling and screaming for our attention from behind a wall of judgment and perception. If only we took a moment to just sit with it we’d more easily navigate the decision making process all together.
I’m still working on this myself. Over the past few years I’ve been faced with some really difficult decisions. Sure, my ego thinks it “knows” what’s right for me or maybe fear keeps me from moving forward and dismissing ideas too quickly, but often when I sit with what I’m contemplating I more fully see the road ahead of me and make much more sound decisions that, nine times out of ten, turn out exactly or even better than I hoped they would.
The next time you’re faced with a tough decision; take a moment to “sit with it,” whatever “it” is for you and you may just find the answer you’ve been looking for all along.