I am on a quest.
A quest to trust myself more. Especially in the arena of decision-making.
It sounds easy enough, right? I mean, I am me. So it makes sense that I should be able to make decisions and act on them. Easy-peasy.
I have thoughts and feelings. I reference the information stored in my brain and body that I have gained through experiences in my lifetime until now.
I know my values. I have my goals, my aspirations. My action plan. I have one, five and ten year plans in place just like experts tell you to. These are supposed to be the touchstone from which you make decisions. Check in with what they are, and if the thing is in alignment with them, voila, you have your decision. What’s not to trust?
But the process above is not the way it goes for me. I agonize over decisions, major and minor. Whether it be deciding what restaurant to go to for dinner or if I should buy a new apartment.
In my decision-making process, I am riddled with doubt at every turn. There is a constant loop of second-guessing that plays in my head. What “should” I do? What are other people doing? What if I pick the wrong thing and ruin my life forever? What if I regret my choice? What if I could have made a better choice? I torture myself.
I used to explain this away as a Libran “ism.” As a Libra, I am prone to weigh the different sides of things. I can see the value in opposing sides. Fairness is of high importance to me. I can see the good in the bad and the bad in the good. It makes decision-making a tedious mess. I end up feeling torn.
I have also pointed to my being an actress, a storyteller, as part of the issue. When posed with a scenario, my mind naturally starts to put together paths of logic that stem from every possibility. I have a vibrant and active imagination and can envision potential outcomes in great detail. This does not necessarily make for easy decisions.
I have even thought that my difficulty making decisions had to do with being the youngest. Often, as the youngest, you grow up doing what others want you to do and going where you are told to go. You learn to follow your older siblings’ lead. You want to do what they do. You want to be where the action is. You don’t know there is any other way than how the family treats you: as the littlest: you are usually just told what to feel, think and do.
I also come from a Protestant people who I think are quite fear-based, so it is in my genes to be cautious and to fear bad things happening as a result of one’s own actions. Don’t rock the boat. Go with the flow. Don’t make waves. This desire to fit in and to protect myself by blending in is often at war with my other desires and impulses, making decision-making all the more tricky.
I also know that due to traumatic events at a pivotal time in my early childhood, I learned to discount my own experience and sense of truth. To doubt my inner truth in favor of what others’ think. That certainly has messed with my ability to reach within, make a decision and trust it.
Though all of these may indeed and probably do contribute to the problem, they aren’t the root cause of my decision-making difficulties. The root, I have come to learn, is satellite thinking.
Satellite thinking/living occurs when a person makes other people’s ideas and opinions and actions have more meaning than one’s own. To be constantly seeking outside evidence, clues and advice as to what to do.
I didn’t even know that is what I was doing for many years. That I was always looking outside of myself to decide what to do. It is incredibly painful to live that way. It’s exhausting!
I know it now, and I am so grateful.
There’s no fulfillment in that way of living. Ever.
It has been quite an awakening to realize this and to shift into my own core. It has been perhaps the most amazing healing work I have ever done in my life. It has taken patience and tremendous love. I have had to learn to really listen to my own voice within and to discern it apart from those other voices inside my head that have worn their groove into my neuropaths.
And I now feel that I am at the last phase of becoming core-centered. I am at the phase where I actually jump off the psychic edge of the familiarity of looking to the outside to guide me. Where I willingly fall into the unknown abyss that core-centered living feels like.
It is flat-out terrifying. And exciting.
When I think about truly entering into this relationship with myself: asking myself alone what is the next right action; when I think about asking questions of myself such as how do I really want to lively life, and what does a meaningful, well-lived look like to me; what will I feel was a “worthy” life when I am on my deathbed…when I begin to live with these questions, really listening for the answers within underneath the cacophony of those loops, I feel dizzy and disoriented, literally.
It feels like I will become like the astronaut in 2001 A Space Odyssey who is disconnected from the mothership, floating away into black nothingness…
A terrifying image. That is truly how scary it feels. My entire relationship to life is changing. Scary, to be sure. And yet.
It also feels like finally coming home to roost. Like the Eagle has finally landed.
Like I have finally found what I have been looking for and missing my whole life.
Can I ever truly erase that ever-playing loop of doubt in my head? That constant tendency to look to see what is happening “over there,” to ask what are “they” doing in order to decide what I want to do? To question my own sense of reality and defer to what others say is the truth or what I think others would do or what I imagine they want me to do. Can I halt that loop?
Maybe not. But I know it for what it is now. It is just old static. I can brush it away, like a stray hair that is tickling my face.
I can tune the knob and find my own frequency inside. Sometimes it takes awhile to find, but it is always there.
Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz discovering the power to go home again, I find I’ve had it in me all along.
Turns out, I am my own mothership.