What is decisional balance?
Have you ever had someone tell you what you should be doing? Has someone given you advice on how they would “fix” something in your life? Given you full details or steps you need to take to make things better in your current situation?
I know if you are like me, an image just came to your mind, perhaps a person or persons in your life even health practitioners, that know exactly what you need to do in order to change your weight, cholesterol values, your depression, loneliness, marital status, etc., etc.
It all sounds like a broken record circling around and around. Feelings well up inside as the person describes what you need to do like a large wave building from the swell of the ocean, and as it reaches the shore of your mind, crashes. It loses force and suddenly is pulled back into the ocean once more. The good intentions of others and the list of actions you are told how to do, crash in your mind and foster desire, sometimes, then fade away back into the ocean of darkness when out of sight. Unless you are like me and replay repeatedly in your mind crowding out the present reality.
What is a person to do with all this chatter, confusion, inadequacy, and remorse? The constant frustration over what I should be doing and not doing? It sucks out all the desire, energy, time and ability. Usually the answer lies somewhere between: “I’ll start tomorrow,” or “I don’t have the time,” or “I’ll never be able to change,” etc., etc. “Calgon take me away!” If you are not old enough to remember this great marketing quip, please Google it.
So, what is wrong with you and me? The answer may surprise you: nothing at all.
We are human beings created with a free will and every day we based our decisional balance on comfort and ease. It is an oxymoron, though, as our choices and decisions over time can create dis-ease and dis-comfort in our mind, body, and spirit exactly, what we are trying to avoid in the first place, and once it hits this new level, we typically start the revolving door doctor show.
I have traveled this road myself with conditions such as functional bowel irregularity, irritable bowel symptoms, constipation, bloating, weight gain, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, lack of energy, insomnia, stress, loss of any desire to be creative, and dissatisfaction with my life. In addition, I developed urinary symptoms, thyroid nodules, and food sensitivities from decisions I made consistently.
Thus, began my trips to several different medical specialists for treatment and answers, with each one treating me separately without looking at the whole person in mind, body, and spirit.
I was caught in this cycle of dis-ease for several years unaware of the contributing factors until a major event took place in my life and I ended up in the emergency room one night with an irregular heart beat and high blood pressure that required nitroglycerin to bring down. I was suddenly awakened to the reality of the situation and decided, yes, decided to dive deeper into my own awareness of myself and become willing to walk the path of change.
What did I utilize to start this new path of discovery / decisional balance?
Remembrance of a time in my life when I was successful in changing a habit or situation. I drew on previous success to foster new success and confidence. I started with one area, not all the areas I needed to change, and I changed the inner conversations with myself. I stopped letting the waves crash into me from others, who offered their advice, and instead created my own waves and how they were formed.
Once I was successful in one habit or area, I added another area and over time more and more successes came, and my confidence increased in my own abilities and choices.
Of course, I have failed, as everyone does; however, the difference now is I recognize the behaviors, thoughts, and tendencies that lead me to disappointment, stress, and dis-ease earlier and I change them. I get back on the horse or in my case, my bike, because I love cycling! I remember I always have a choice; my environment may not be able to change, but I have a choice in how I want to react to myself and others.
I also ask for help when I need it despite how vulnerable I feel when I do, and I open myself to change because let’s face it, you only get wiser and more beautiful with time, at least I believe that! Humor, as you can tell, is something that brings me joy and happiness, and I love being happier.
Remember, life is challenging in of itself and now we are in a Global Pandemic! I encourage you gently, not like a wave crashing, but like a gentle breeze, to be open and vulnerable in this difficult time we are living in and reach out, ask for help if you need it, explore what area you want to work on and remember your previous successes no matter how small, and build a more beautiful life you desire and dream about.