Are you prone to rash decisions dependent on the way you feel about something?
Do you later, on reflection, think you might have made a better decision?
Well, let’s be honest we all make decisions emotionally at times, particularly when it comes to feeling we might be under attack or missing out on something. This is part of our innate natural survival and defensive mechanism.
But when it becomes a pattern that you employ on a regular basis, it can cause problems in your life.
You may be more prone to making emotional decisions at times when you might have been wiser to consider a larger number of factors in a situation.
You may get into arguments, be snappy with other people and generally be considered to be over impulsive, which translates for many people as being unreliable and untrustworthy.
You rely on your five senses to make good decisions: sight, sound, kinaesthetic (feeling), smell and taste. When you are in the fight or flight response (put your fists up or run away) to perceived danger, your strong emotion to do to something immediately can overpower you.
If you are someone who relies only on your emotions to judge a situation then you will likely be in the fight or flight response to perceived danger a great deal of the time. You will be very reactive to often quite ordinary situations and constantly misread other people’s communications.
If you are someone who judges a situation or person solely on whether you like them or not, you will also constantly disadvantage yourself because sometimes what is not pleasant at the time might be good for us and vice versa.
At times parents may have to discipline a child by sending them to the naughty mat when they are poking their fingers in the electric socket. As adults we may also have to take medicine that tastes bitter or correct our behaviours to break through painful barriers.
So if you are making decisions in life only on your emotions you are missing out the visual, auditory, smell and taste information that is meant to guide your decision and your mind needs to be retrained to consider more factors than only how you feel.
‘What about intuition?’, you might say.
Well, intuition is a gut decision that you make based on the knowledge that you already have. It is not a decision based on new information you might need to seek in order to make a balanced decision.
You may be attracted to someone, fall in love with them and lust after them, but if that has only been an emotional set of decisions, they might not be someone you can rely on or who would make a good long-term partner.
You may instantly like a house you go to see but if you buy it solely on the way you feel, you may be in a situation later where you might not be able to pay a high mortgage or it could be too far from facilities you or your family might need. You might not have really looked at the money involved or listened to sage advice from relative or friends.
So people who make decisions overly or solely on the way they feel constantly get into trouble in their lives because they often do not see the bigger picture.
What can you do?
- Take a time to make decisions
- Gather information in more senses including sight and sound
- Be consistent in making decisions with greater knowledge
- Review the decision before you act
- Retrain your mind
- Seek out people who are good at making decisions and ask for help
This is often referred to as gaining emotional intelligence because it means with great information you are making your decision in a balanced, intelligent way.
Dr Tracie O’Keefe DCH, BHSc, ND, Clinical Hypnotherapist, Psychotherapist. Counsellor, PACFA registered Mental Health Professional and Naturopath In Sydney. You can get help by booking an appointment with her at Australian Health & Education Centre.