#31 Emotional Decision Making
Have you ever been called overly emotional? If you’re like me, you might have heard it so often it’s a bit of a trigger word. For the longest time I tried to lean into reason and rationality for decision making and tried to switch off the emotional side of my brain (and I still most often do).
But what happens when you can’t reason yourself into an answer? Where both decisions are equally as valid and tempting and there’s nothing to sway you either way? I think that’s when emotions come in.
There’s many choices I need to make in my day to day life, some bigger and more important than others. From what job to take or apply for to who to ask out for dinner, sometimes simply weighing pros and cons is tiresome, guilt-inducing and impossible. I don’t like comparing my friends’ company and I don’t like to imagine what my life could look like in 3 years. It’s impossible either way.
A few days ago I got reminded of a medical case I read in a book: after a brain injury a man lost the ability to feel any emotion. (This isn’t psychopathy, psychopaths can still feel anger, jealously etc, this man could feel literally nothing). Although he had all his higher levels of functioning, intellect and reason in place, he became incapacitated. He couldn’t leave the house in the morning, because he’d spend 4 hours staring at his blue and yellow tie, without being able to make a decision on which to wear. There’s no good reason to wear either. The point was, we never realise the little decisions we make every day based on emotion.
Our feelings tip us ever so slightly in one direction: Chinese food instead of burgers, bus instead of tube and sleeping in 5 more minutes instead of getting up. So many choices we think are reasonable are actually the function of little (or big) feelings. And I’ve decided to take this a step further.
Having trained myself to be a child of rational thinking as much as I can, I’m now giving these lists a break. I’m focusing on what I feel like saying, doing, answering, experiencing. I’m doing (or not doing things) for no better reason than that’s what feels right. And it’s so liberating.
I know this isn’t groundbreaking stuff, and perhaps most of you will be rolling your eyes at the ceiling if you even made it so far. But if you’re like me, if you’ve been guilted out of emotion in favour of “reason”, maybe try out giving yourself a little break too. It really is a new type of fun.
Wishing all the overly-emotional ones out there an amazing week,