“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” -Dale Carnegie
I enjoy a contemplative, logical thought process of making decisions. It’s my default setting. I feel uncomfortable with emotional decisions that are made quickly without having time to weigh the pros and cons. Because I tend to think this way, those pesky emotions really get in my way sometimes.
“Jeez, and this is a therapist talking! Why am I reading this?” I wouldn’t blame you a bit if you felt this way, but if you’ll stick with me, I hope to explain.
We are always rushing. We rush ourselves, we rush our kids, we rush our clients to make progress, talk about things, and meet their goals. We are rushing simply to get to the next thing that we can rush through. We hurry to look productive for our boss and we rush to feel like we got through the never ending to-do list. And we rush when we make decisions and when we react to things, especially when there is emotion involved. Emotions, especially those of anger, hurt, or anxiety, want us to respond so we can feel better, not necessarily to make a sound decision. Just like popping a balloon, the emotion may dissipate, but that doesn’t mean we made the best choice.
In an earlier post, I alluded to once almost giving into the emotional decision of buying a minivan. We found out about a major car repair and panicked- that’s all it was. I’m so glad we waited, because we really didn’t need to do anything other than fix the car that we already owned. I remind myself of that situation frequently, because for me, it’s not the time to act. It’s a time to sift through the emotions and make a practical, logical choice.
As therapists, I sometimes think we haven’t done a great job with how we talk about emotions. Everything doesn’t have to mean something. Sometimes they do, and we honor those in order to care for our emotional well-being. But some of it is just static. It’s simply noise getting in the way of us thinking clearly. For some, it’s the distorted voice of depression or anxiety making things more difficult. It may take longer because you can’t rush through it, and with a mood disorder, it requires more effort and skill. Society tells us it’s not okay to take our time, but I’m here to tell you that it is.
Don’t rush. Ask yourself if this is something that you really need to figure out emotionally, or are you ready to make a choice? Make sure you have solid footing. Your feelings may still be floating all around you, and only you know if you can see through them or not. Don’t make a blind choice, and make sure you can see through the feelings fog before you act.
Sometimes hindsight-feelings aside-is all that’s required to see you made the best choice.