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.