Tuesday, 20 July 2010

And now for something a little different...

A crossroad.

When you are at a point in your life where self-esteem is at an all time low, it can be incredibly difficult to make certain decisions. It is hard to know when to trust yourself to make the right one and how to be certain that that path you choose to take will get you to where you want to go, especially when you are not entirely sure where you want that path to lead.

Sometimes you can let others make the decision for you. If you get offered a certain opportunity, then you take it, end of, they make the choice and you live with it. If that advert comes on one more time during the course of the film, you will buy that product. If you see two magpies, you will have a good day. Putting decisions into other hands can make you feel better for a time, but how do you know that their hands are more capable than your own?

In some circumstances, you put the choice into someone else’s hands and then they pick the route that you know you don’t want to take. Then what? Sometimes you can’t get that decision making power back and you are stuck going down a road you never ever wished to travel, just because you couldn’t summon up the courage to say what you really wanted.

But the worst situation is when you know exactly what you want and you simply don’t have the power to make it happen. You can let indecision rule the rest of your life and you can spend every day unable to decide between coffee and tea but when you know what you want and someone else takes that option away from you, you can crumble.

A wise woman once taught me a great technique for decision making. She said that you have emotional reasons and practical reasons for giving two options pros and cons between them. She told me to list all of these in a kind of Venn diagram. Once you have done this, exhausting all possibilities, thoughts and arguments, you just sit back, close your eyes and mull it over. After time, your emotional mind and your practical mind will give way to the part of you which just knows what the right choice is. This is the knowing mind or wise mind. You can then make your decision.

Ultimately, when it comes down to it, we all have the ability to make a choice whether we feel confident enough to or not. You weigh up your emotional reasons and you weigh up the practical reasons but something has to give, something has to carry more weight. For me, it has always been happiness, always striving to make the choices that won’t make me wealthy or give me the best career, but the choice that will simply make me happy.

The more I strive sometimes I think the more I push happiness away. It needs to be thought out in simple terms. What would I like to do every day? Be with someone who loves me. This doesn’t seem to be an option at the moment. What’s the second best option? To love myself. How do I do that? By doing something that I love every day.

This is why I have today handed in my notice at work. This is why I am giving up a job during the recession to follow my dream and go to drama school. This is one decision where, as long as it has taken me to get my head around, I didn’t need a Venn diagram to know my path.