Being an attorney with a strong analytical mind, I like to use my brain for decision-making. Making lists of “Pros and Cons.” Calculating risk. Assessing the upsides and downsides.
I look at a number. A score. An amount. How much will this cost? How long will it take? When I am on a roll in the search for my perfect answer, I seek more opinions and do more research. I can get lost in time on websites taking me deeper into the abyss until I’m going in circles of increasing confusion. Analysis paralysis sets in. I get stuck.
The problem with using only my head for identifying choices is that my brain is smart enough to make a case for anything I want, and my decades of lawyering have taught me just how to gather the evidence. If I decide I want to buy a Mercedes Benz, my mind can make the numbers in my budget add up. If I decide I want the chocolate lava cake for desert, my brain calculates tomorrow’s calories I promise to burn faster than my Fitbit can count them.
Fortunately, our brain is not our only source for decision-making. We have a gut and a heart, too. Like the characters in The Wizard of Oz, we have the brain the Scarecrow wanted, the guts the Lion wanted, and the heart the Tin Man wanted. We need only to remember to use them.
“In my gut, I know it’s over” and “I know in my gut it’s what I have to do” are words I’ve heard clients say when the deepest levels of who they are informed them. Most of us have had those experiences where we ignored our gut, only to see our decision turn to regret.
And then there is the heart. My heart has caused me to make a fool of myself as I abandoned all pretense of not caring and let another person know how much I loved them. My heart, when consumed with generosity, has led me to give away large sums of money. My heart has allowed me to follow my path when others would have thought me illogical.
While my heart is a comfortable home to go to when I make decisions, I need to remember that the love and compassion it emits apply to me, too. Am I being kind to myself? Will this choice be loving toward me? Am I allowing room for self-compassion? Am I being true to the values I hold in my heart? When I listen to my heart, it helps me discover matters most.
The divorce journey is a challenging one. We need all of the help we can get. Whether it is deciding to meet with a divorce attorney, to file for divorce, or to agree to the terms of a divorce settlement, don’t let your head do 100% of your decision-making. Use your gut and your heart, too. Slow down. Pause. Resist overthinking. Be in the silence for a bit.
Using your head, your heart, and your guts, you won’t have to work so hard “thinking” of the answer. Instead of being stuck, you’ll be striding forward on the road that is yours to take.