Single moms, we’re faced with so many decisions that we have to make all on our own. Big decisions! So what’s the best way to go about making them? We say “I just need some time to think” So we think and stress and think and stress some more until we’re so overwhelmed and tired of thinking that we make a blind decision. Meaning we make a decision not really knowing how we feel about things. I’ve learned a much easier way to go about making decisions. Decisions in anything. My way involves a very intricate system that we are all born with and it’s so available and natural that we take it for granted.
One of the most overwhelming aspects of being a single mom for me was facing decisions and overthinking my options to the point that I would doubt myself. I guess it was easier (although not necessarily better) to make decisions when I was married because I had my ex-husbands help in making them. Finally, I got so tired of thinking things to death. I realized that I was making a lot of wrong decisions because I thought it was the right thing to do. What I realized was I needed to stop thinking so much and start feeling.
Our emotions are the most honest part about us. We can control our emotions but we can’t prevent them. Why? Because they are such an honest part of who we are, such a primal part of who we are and we need them. We need our emotions to guide us in what we do. If we’re doing what’s good for us, we feel good. If we’re doing what’s bad for us, we feel bad. It’s that simple. Our emotional guidance system as I like to call it is an important tool that we were born with and if you use it, it will always lead you down the right path. So how do you use your emotional guidance system?
Pay attention to how you feel. We’re so used to putting our own feelings on the backburner to take care of someone else’s feelings but you have to stop doing that. Start putting your feelings at the forefront of your conscious awareness. You can do this simply by asking yourself “How do I feel right now?” throughout the day. Take a few minutes and mentally note how you feel at a given moment. If you feel bad, point your thoughts in the direction of something that makes you feel good. For example, thinking about watching my son win a match against a really tough kid in his Jiu Jitsu class and how happy he was always makes me feel better. So if I ever need to feel better instantly, I think about that. Paying attention to and caring about how you feel is important.
Stop over thinking. When faced with decisions, we over think and analyze things to death! We don’t trust ourselves to make the right decisions so we go through every option and possible consequence until we’re too afraid to do make the decision. But you have to understand that our thoughts have a lot of power over what we do and this can be a bad thing or it can be a good thing. We tend to think about things that stress us out and bring about negative feelings out of fear. Fear of getting hurt, fear of loss or fear of hurting someone else and these thoughts can hold us back from doing what’s best for us. Have you ever done something you thought was right but all along you just felt bad about it? You tried and tried to convince yourself that you were making the right decision but that feeling just wouldn’t go away. That’s because you were thinking too much and not trusting how you feel. Your feelings are more honest to who you are than your thoughts. So take a deep breath, go for a walk and stop thinking so much!
There’s no right or wrong feeling. Sometimes we think about something we want or want to do and as we’re thinking about it, we feel good or even excited. But then we tell ourselves that it’s not right to feel good about it so we talk ourselves out of having or doing what it is that makes us feel good. There is no right or wrong way to feel! And there’s no need to understand or analyze how you feel! There’s feeling good and there’s feeling bad. Take a child for example. You ask them to clean their room and they say “I don’t want to” so then you ask why and they repeat “I don’t want to”. A child wants to do what feels good. It doesn’t matter to them if it’s right or wrong, it just feels good or feels bad and to a child, cleaning their room feels bad. Playing feels good! The difference is is that they don’t feel the need to justify how they feel like us adults do. There’s such simplicity in this principle. Do what feels good and don’t worry whether it’s right or wrong. It doesn’t have to make sense because if it feels good, it’s what you should do.
Trust yourself. We are so accustomed to doubting ourselves that we limit ourselves and hold ourselves back from so much. We seek other’s advice and direction when all along we have the truest answers inside of us. Your guide is your emotions. If you can trust yourself to follow your feelings and use them as a guide, you will tap into a happiness that is never ending and more fulfilling than you’ve ever imagined. I found this happiness by trusting myself that I’m the one I need to turn to when it comes to making decisions. I trust myself and my feelings and I’m being 100% honest that since I’ve put this precious trust in myself, I’ve never let myself down.
You have all the answers you seek inside of you but you can’t find them if you try to understand them and put them into words before you trust them. Trying to understand and analyze your feelings can create doubt. Trust your feelings to guide you in life. Just like a child knows, your feelings may not always make sense in words but that’s because they’re telling you something more than you can see at the moment. Follow your feelings and they’ll make sense when the time is right.
Exercise to try with your children. I want to teach my children the benefits of paying attention to how they feel so I had them start a diary. Every night before bed, I have them write down 2 feelings that they felt that day and what prompted these feelings. It’s very interesting to see the connections they make between their thoughts and feelings. For example, last night my daughter wrote down that she felt like the smartest kid in class because she got an A on her test and as she told me this, she started smiling rather uncontrollably. I smiled back and said “that’s a good feeling, isn’t it?”.
Have your children start a feeling diary. There’s no rules. Just tell them to write down a few feelings they had that day and what prompted their feelings and then go over them. Don’t judge them, just let their feelings come out in their true form. Giving conscious attention to their feelings will teach them to acknowledge and empower their feelings. Have fun with it!