June 14, 2011
If ever you’ve gone through trying to figure out your place in the world, you understand the weighing and mental back and forth that goes with making big decisions. You try to match your passions with the reality of the world. You try to figure out how to make a life and make a living and fight between your dreams and reality, being foolish and practical, hoping and enduring.
I wrote a friend recently who was going through this and here are the things I’ve learned by making big life decisions:
1. Making this kind of decision is hard — even if you’ve done it before. Never met anyone who found this easy.
2. It’s never clear. There’s no 100% certainty. There’s always enough light to hope and enough shadow to doubt. And sometimes one goes from light to dark in short periods of time
3. How do you know which decision to take? One level is intellectual (write pros & cons of each decision) and then the level of affect (emotion– imagine the 2 choices you are making one at a time and see how you feel about them). The one that gives you peace, hope, a sense of freedom is the right one — even if logically it’s the wrong one.
4. If there is peace (even in the face of difficulty & uncertainty, it’s the right choice). If there is anxiety, fear, restlessness (despite what other’s say or what our heads try to convince us of) it’s the wrong thing. St. Ignatius said that.
5. Something from my old spiritual director: God wants us to be happy. — So the reverse is true (again from St. Ig) anything that doesn’t create that joy, peace, freedom is from the “enemy.”
6. We are all built differently. What you like is what you like — basta you really like it and it comes from you. It doesn’t matter if it seems “mababaw.” I have a friend who likes to look at the moon and listen to Martin Nivera songs. I like star wars action figures & beer. Another friend loves anime and everything pork. There is no such thing as shallow if we are authentic.
7. There is no failure you can’t recover from. No such thing as one big wrong/right move that’ll determine everything from there. The key is being faithful to who you are.
8. I like the idea of failure in “Meet the Robinsons.” If you fail then you learned that that road wasn’t right. That’s one step closer to success then before. So celebrate failures and what they teach you.
9. But this also asks you to revisit your definition of success. And sometimes here, we discover conflicting parts of ourselves — which is still normal… conflicted but normal.
10. Part of choosing is letting go and forgiving I think.
11. Part of choosing is self definition: This is who I am or want to be, so this is what I’ll do. Tita Ems says, “In this decision, how do I expand my soul?”
12. In the end, all will be well. As one spiritual friend once said, “God hasn’t brought you this far to let you down now.”