Tough decisions.

How does one deal with the unknown? How do you decide between your mind and your heart?

A few times in my life I’ve had to make tough choices. Ones that at the time I wasn’t sure if they were wrong or right. This weekend someone close to me was faced with making a decision – a real decision, one of life or death. You know..the kind of decision that you cannot possibly prepare for.. A decision where sleep does not come easy because the reality that the outcome is irreversible could haunt you forever…. The power of permanency can be a very scary thing. Since that day I have found myself unable to concentrate, fully adsorbed in my own emotional response to the situation. I’ve also found myself dissecting the responses of my friends and family. I am intrigued by the differing comments and opinions on what they would do if they too were faced with the same dilemma. Quite honestly I feel (see there’s that word “feel”), like I can draw a straight line down the middle of these opinions, separating the emotional thinkers from the logical thinkers. So, I pulled out my life-a-scope (my life microscope of course) to examine the people around me and decide which of my friends/family are mind thinkers and which are heart thinkers.

Which one are you? Do you find yourself drowning in emotional responses to situations or do you see a logical response for every conflict you face?

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I am an emotional thinker, I let my feelings direct me. Most of the time I’m comfortable and confident in my choices because I believe in them. Not…. believe like, I read it in a book and statistically I know that the end result will work out in my favor. I believe in my choices because I have drained every thought from my body to figure out how I could live with the end result. I ask myself, If I make this choice could I look at myself in the mirror everyday and still be comfortable with it? Will I feel guilt or consciously have to suppress my feelings as a result of this choice ? If the answer is yes, I typically try to avoid that choice. I’m not the type of person who can live with that nauseating pit in my stomach, constantly gnawing at my subconscious. My emotions have a psychological and physiologically, hold on me and I have a very difficult time burying my thoughts. However, some of us are better at doing that than others.

Now, for the other side. There are those who are able to make decisions without a glance in the direction of emotion. These emotionless humans live in a practical world. When asked what their philosophy is on decision making …they consider themselves naturalists or logical (ahem *critical* thinkers). I’ve had many conversations with some family members & friends who feel that emotion clouds our ability to think clearly. That emotion is a mask used to avoid facing the true nature of our problems. That emotions are based on fear and without fear, one can see the clear picture and make a sound decision. I’ve heard that the world is black or white, and emotions are silly inconveniences that disturb real problem solving methods. Is that true? Are we distracted by how and what we feel? Possibly…. look at love — the most judgment clouding drug there is (and quite possibly the most powerful emotion).

So of course my emotional response is ….how can you live.. without feeling? How do your suppress these natural chemical reactions? …or do you just not feel them? I’m still waiting on my answer..

Growing up it has been my experience that the military and those in it, lack emotion. I feel as though they are trained to suppress their feelings (especially fear), because they need to have a clear mind to make quick decisions when in danger or need a quick resolution to a problem when time is limited. I grew up a military brat and my mother and father fall on the extreme opposite sides when it comes to emotional thinking vs logical thinking. Believe me, it can be frustrating not being able to relate to someone’s thought process. My roommate and brother also lack emotional IQ. If you ask them, they both lean towards a statistical/scientific explanation for why they make the choices they make. (It definitely makes for interesting dinner conversation). However I will say some of their arguments are quite compelling..We are just pieces and parts of a body controlled by chemical reactions in our brains. We are no different than animals, who lack emotional responses…animals are instinctive in nature, why shouldn’t humans be?

So what process do you follow when faced with those tough choices? Do you grab ahold of your heart strings or do you float above the surface and survey the landscape.. Whatever it is that guides you…make sure at the end of the day you won’t lose sleep, you are confident in your decision, and that you fully understand the choice you’re making and the consequences that may be a result of that choice.

Me?…I’m still trying to find a balance.

“You see, you closed your eyes. That was the difference. Sometimes you cannot believe what you see, you have to believe what you feel. And if you are ever going to have other people trust you, you must feel that you can trust them, too–even when you’re in the dark. Even when you’re falling.”
Mitch Albom, Tuesdays With Morrie

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