Whenever I made a bad decision in my life, it was on the basis of me discarding, ignoring or denying my needs. Many times, and sometimes for several years, I have made my life miserable instead of better by making decisions and choices as if my needs didn’t matter. For example:
Moving into a flat share with complete strangers when I really needed privacy, my own space, silence, and to feel safe at home (which is the opposite of living with strangers). But hey, it was an affordable place to live in an okay area, so who cares? Of course, I regretted this decision almost every day.
Spending money on holidays in places I didn’t like because I (thought that) I could not afford what I really wanted. As a result, I wasted money and had no fun.
Studying an academic degree that never really interested me, for eight (!) years, hating almost every bit of it. I didn’t quit because I was afraid of never getting a real job if I dropped out. The irony is, I never got a good job anyway, even with my degree in my pocket.
If these examples of bad decision-making give you the impression that I am simply insane, congratulations on being so good with doing what is best for you – I envy you. If you can relate, welcome to the club! But don’t despair, I might be able to help you.
What is happening here?
You want to or have to make a change and take a decision. You are aware of what you really want and need, whether you allow yourself to fully accept it or not. Because you believe you can’t get what you want anyway, you give up and settle for way less and live unhappily ever after (at least until you change your mind). Giving up sometimes comes in the disguise of talking yourself into believing that you don’t really need X, that it’s actually good to try something new (even if the thought of it makes you feel sick). That it’s not that bad and you’ll figure out how to deal with it somehow.
You go for the thing that’s cheaper, less risky, and that feels grey, dull, yucky, instead of liberating and alive. You spend money on something that makes your life more miserable instead of better. Or even worse, you waste your finite energy and time on this earth in a situation that feels (slightly or strongly) like it’s eating your soul.
Why are you doing this?
Maybe you have been raised to believe that money and financial security are more important than anything and that you will end up homeless if you don’t always choose what is cheapest or (supposedly) most secure. Maybe you were taught that your needs are not important and thus have come to treat yourself accordingly. Maybe you are trying to adapt to what your family, society, cultural icons or your own heroes say is right, even though it simply doesn’t work for you.
I also found that I would hate myself if I got what I wanted and needed, as then I’d be one of the people I envy now, which would be hard to live with. (Being an energy work practitioner, I immediately worked on these issues myself, and you can do the same. Find methods you can easily learn for yourself (like EFT) or practitioners to help you out – Google is your friend.)
How to find out what you really need and get it
Step 1: Take it apart
Think of the choice you have to make and imagine how the situation would ideally be if everything was possible. If you have the money, go ahead and make it come true! If you can’t afford to make this ideal situation reality at the moment, analyze your fantasy to find out what the most essential ingredients in your happiness recipe are. Take it apart: If you remove aspect X from your ideal situation, does it still feel juicy to you? If yes, you can go on and try to remove another aspect. If at any point your fantasy turns icky, you know you have gone too far and left something out that you need to be happy. Whenever you feel ambivalent about something, feel free to take it apart even further, or tweak it until you really like it. The basic rule is: Whatever makes you feel liberated is good, so include it in your ideal situation. Whatever feels imprisoning is bad, so throw it out.
Step 2: Research
The point here is to find out what would make you happy and what would be a waste of your money, time and energy, so that you can make good decisions. When you have figured out what is essential to you, it’s up to you to do the research, ask other people and the internet for advice and leads on affordable ways to get what you want. (For me, that was finding a tiny flat to live alone in, doing lots of research on places to stay before my holiday and finally discovering AirBnB.com (hallelujah!), and going back to university part-time to study what I really want.)
Step 3: Be flexible, but only a bit
The goal is not to make this fantasy come true 100 %, to get it 100 % of the time. Maybe 75 % would be really great. Make room for compromise and even small experiments, but don’t go beneath a certain percentage. Don’t compromise on what you know is essential for your happiness and satisfaction. You don’t need 100 % (you might wait for that forever) because something you already like (say a 65 % match) might develop in a way you cannot yet see but will really enjoy. Or your preferences might change so that you like what you do have even more! But if you start out having already discarded what you really want, you will despise it from the start and it will most likely not develop into a favorable direction.
In the end, it is you who has the obligation and honor of taking care of yourself, so if you don’t give yourself a chance to have what you value most, who else is going to do it for you?
This article merely expresses the author’s personal opinion and is not intended to be followed blindly. Think before you act.
Julia Felberbauer lives in the city of Linz, Austria. She helps people overcome their stubborn problems with remote energy work, using a method called The Emotion Code, in which she is a certified practitioner. Her favorite people are those who really feel drawn to go after their big dreams, and she enjoys helping them remove their inner blocks to the fulfillment of their visions, their happiness and their freedom. In addition, she blogs on her website and is really happy that she has finally found a way to incorporate her enthusiasm for writing and her urge to speak her mind into her business!
photo credit: Womansday