Being Emotionally Honest With Yourself

The reasons people offer for making a decision often don’t match up with their real reasons. Real reasons are generally emotional, not logical.

People hide and guard their real reasons for making decisions. When you quit a job or leave a relationship, how often do you tell your boss or partner your real (emotional) reason for moving on? Even if you try to do that, will the other person accept it as valid?

We tend to discount making decisions for emotional reasons, even though that’s really how we make them internally. We act on our feelings and then layer them with logical explanations afterwards. It’s hard to just come out and say, “I’m going with my feelings here.”

Could you quit a job because you’re not feeling it anymore? Could you quit a relationship because you feel more inspired to go in a different direction? Sure you could. But who’d buy that if you offered that as your reason for leaving?

How would people react if you told the real truth?

For instance:

  • It feels good to know that this is my last week of work here. You have no idea how stressful it’s been to keep showing up this past year.
  • I’m relieved that this relationship is over, and I feel so much lighter now that I can finally move on from it. I’m excited about having some time to myself and also about the opportunity to meet new people.
  • I’m thrilled to finally be leaving town. It’s the smell!

Even if you offer up logical reasons for your decisions to satisfy others, it’s good to maintain your own emotional frames for explaining your decisions to yourself.

For instance:

  • I get up at 5am each morning because I love being an early riser. It makes me feel good to start the day before dawn. I love seeing the sun come up during a morning run. If I sleep in late, I don’t feel as good.
  • I closed my computer games business because I wasn’t feeling it anymore. Switching to personal development seemed more exciting.
  • I write a lot because I like writing. I can justify it in all sorts of ways, but the simplest reason I write is that it feels good to write. I love how the ideas dance around in my mind as they take shape. It feels satisfying to publish a new article.

Don’t get caught up in the social frame that says your decisions must have logical explanations. You can make decisions for emotional reasons and let that be enough. It’s fine to take action in the direction of emotions that entice you and away from emotions that repel you.

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Steve Pavlina

Steve Pavlina is an American self-help author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur. He is the author of the web site and the book Personal Development for Smart People.

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