What’s best for ME?

Deciding what is best for me may be a simple equation. Weigh both sides and see which option tips more positive. Logic says to pick the most beneficial one. Right?

Yes, but sometimes it isn’t so clear cut. It’s all about profits and losses and sometimes the statement carries hidden costs.

I am presently facing a dilemma where I must choose between two options. Both have obvious benefits and both have some drawbacks. How do I establish the weight of each of these, their respective value, in order to calculate the overall advantage of each side?

As I make the list of pros and cons, I look at how the two options affect me and my life. I will look at gratification, opportunities to fulfill my needs from the bottom up, how the situations make me feel inside and how they affect my immediate environment which in turn will affect me. Each of these points has value to be established. Each of these points also deserves careful evaluation.

My main concern today is gratification as it seems to be a major issue for me. It may also play a big role in your decisions. It is in my opinion the one type of benefit that should be placed under the microscope as it isn’t always what it seems.

In other words, some forms of gratification may acquire higher face value than they should.  When I put a lot of importance on gratification from an outside source, one that may have very high cost for me, the value of that benefit should be decreased considerably in my decisions. For example, recognition is a huge motivator for me in my job. I strive for it and I have the opportunity to get plenty of it when I work hard to get it. It comes from the outside and it definitely fuels me.  It is a very powerful candy! I will do practically anything for it. But where does that put me? In a pressure cooker environment, exhausted from the hard work, trying to find balance, struggling to find time for my kids, my housework, my financials, ME! So where is the benefit? How real is it? How much value is left? How will the scale tilt?

Sometimes, it isn’t even as clear cut. The gratification you receive may also come from helping others. This may be an issue particularly for women. Bringing happiness to others gives me happiness inside, therefore I give it value. Do I calculate the cost?  Although I get benefit from the fruits of my labor, I also have to look at my losses, in the exact same way as I analyzed recognition.

Add to this the notion of guilt. Another shriek for women (male readers should give me their point of view on this!) If I decide that the scale is tipping on the side that tells me to stop helping others because it is to my detriment, how can I accept that? I will try to find every single possible way to reason my way out of that decision. I will try to find compromises to remove the guilt, to continue giving. Guilt takes away the objectiveness of the evaluation and makes the scale tip the wrong way.

The equation isn’t as clear cut as we would like it to be.  Making decisions sometimes involves a lot of thinking and writing in my journal, making lists of pros and cons, digging deep to make sure I uncover all the pluses and minuses, the gratification and related costs, as it should for you too. Major decisions in our lives deserve this type of careful analysis. The I Love ME process requires it. After all, our happiness depends on it.

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Related posts:

  1. I Love ME Gratefully
  2. I Love ME with an open mind
  3. I Love ME to Love You better.
  4. I Love ME; I set me free.
  5. I Love ME; R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

6 Responses to “What’s best for ME?”

  1. Peter Wright says:

    Carmen, I will email you some ideas on using a matrix for choosing between choices.

    On the gratitude / guilt thing from a male perspective, perhaps it’s a benefit of age and having lived a very interesting and unusual (for North Americans) life, but I don’t have too much problem with it.

    Firstly, yes I enjoy helping other people, I like to make people happy, but I accept that I will not be able to make every one happy all the time. That’s just the way it is and I don’t feel guilty about that.

    Secondly, if I don’t look after myself, physically, emotionally and financially, I will be unable to help others. I have taken considerable risks to help others in the past, these were spur of the moment things, which I would do again if the situation arose.

    So while I am willing to help, I do not consider myself a saint who must always be on a crusade to save the world.

    Thirdly, my experience as an employer of a large workforce, senior management in a large corporation, and military service, taught me that sometimes for the greater good of the group (all the employees for example) decisions had to be taken that made some individuals unhappy. No amount of guilt can change that.

    I believe that there is a momentum to life which we can influence by our good actions and thoughts, however some bad things happen to good people, call it God’s will, divine intervention, chance, bad luck, whatever you like, but that’s life.

    You or I worrying ourselves sick with guilt are not going to change that.

    Do I ever feel guilty? Yes, if I have unintentionally let someone down, not done my best, forgotten to phone someone, I do feel guilty. But then I do what’s needed to fix it and move on.

    Back to the age thing, I am also comfortable being unpopular, if a matter of principle is at stake or my core values are threatened. It might also be a macho male thing, but I would rather be unpopular than unprincipled. I am also comfortable and sometimes enjoy, being contrarian.

    • Carmen Marie says:

      I think the main idea I want to express to my readers, mostly the women, is that, like you said yourself “if I don’t look after myself, physically, emotionally and financially, I will be unable to help others”. In this statement, there is no room for guilt!

  2. Jennifer says:

    Interesting post. I agree with you that gratification is one of the reasons why we need to decide on something. I’m glad you’re thinking things over. This must be really something like a life-changing decision?

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  3. Peter Wright says:

    Wow Carmen, you have certainly got into some thought-provoking stuff with this post.

    I would rally like to add to the discussion on gratitude / guilt & male / female perspective of both, but I will have to do that later.

    When trying to choose between 2 closely matched options, instead of just listing pros and cons, I create a matrix with a weighting for each factor. If this exercise is done impartially, the choice becomes mathematically clear.

    Thanks as usual for an inspiring post.

    • Carmen Marie says:

      Peter, I will need more info about the way you use matrix to weigh each factor. Impartial weighing is already difficult enough, I wouldn’t know how to be completely objective in the values I assign to each factor!! I am in the midst of serious decisions now and I think your suggestion might help a lot!

      I think the thought provoking post came from the fact that thoughts are actually exploding within me for some major upcoming decisions. The emotions were felt by many of my friends who read the posts regularly.

      I’ll wait for the male/female discussion!! I’m curious and eager to read your comments! Thanks again Peter!

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