I’m indecisive, a fact I often find difficult to embrace.
My fight or flight reaction is to freeze and wait for impact rather than squaring up or dashing off.
Funnily, when I’m the only consideration, I can make life-changing decisions or irrelevant decisions in less that a minute. As soon as anyone else is involved, I struggle. Lots of moving parts, lots of feelings and a scary unknown consequence if I make an unfavourable decision.
From ordering food to ending a relationship, I flap, I fluster, I flurry.
Ten words changed this pattern of behaviour. Two sentences that keep me aligned with my truth and honouring the intentions I hold for myself.
Does this keep me free?
Does this lead to love?
‘This’ refers to whatever is before you. From Topshop to eating disorders, these questions have allowed me to define my boundaries without fearing the internal dialogue berating me for making the wrong decision.
Firstly, does this keep me free?
A question born out of feeling trapped by disordered eating and destructive behaviour and yet it’s grown into something beautifully, gracefully functional.
For example if I’m contemplating whether I need a new foundation/overpriced smoothie/pair of leggings, I ask myself if this decision will keep me free? Will it stretch my weekly budget to the point of feeling stressed and anxious? If so, then it will not keep me free, it will keep me trapped. So it’s a no. Will it empower me to feel my best self, to elevate my capacity for love, my self-belief? If so, then it does keep me free. I can sip my bespoke juice in peace.
More seriously, when mental health struggles rear their heads (oftentimes after many moons dormant) this question can save our sanity.
Will binge-eating biscuits, ice cream and alcohol keep me free? Will it elevate me to my highest frequency? Or will it keep me small, coated in shame and guilt? If so I can take responsibility for my choice to stay free and refrain. Similarly, will exercising when I’m injured keep me free? Or will it enforce the exercise-obsessive mentality I know I’m prone to lapse into? If so, then I take a rest day and refuse to partake in the clipping of my own wings.
For me it has helped the most with purging food. Throwing up will never keep me free. Instead it will grant temporary relief followed by a tonne of regret, shame and a couple of heart palpitations to boot. No matter the vice, hang up or pattern of behaviour, this question helps to break the cycle of action and reaction.
Asking ourselves the question takes the impulse out of whatever decision we make. Instead of knee-jerking a reaction that results in our desecration, we consciously choose to take our power back. We remember that we are the only ones who create our reality, and whichever path we tread will be the one we have chosen.
** Not to say that we'll always answer the question in the way we would wish. Many times I would ask the question and yet fear would take over before I could even consider the alternative. **
The gap between asking the question and knee-jerking the reaction grew a millisecond longer each time I flexed the freedom keeping muscle. Eventually they all joined together to create a long enough gap to evaluate the choice before me.
And the second question, does this lead to love?
It dictates everything. Will this decision I make lead to more love, more openness, more grace? Will it allow others to step into their power or will it humiliate them, will it celebrate rather than desecrate, will it embrace or will it reject?
I use this sentence to keep my words and actions in alignment with my intentions. I use it to stay fluid in the real world of sharp words and quick-to-anger strangers on the tube. I use it when I talk to myself and when I talk to anyone else. I use it when knowing what to do or when to go. I use it when I'm treasuring my friendships and when I'm reasserting my boundaries.
I use it to determine when to say no and when to shout yes.
I feel so astronomically fortunate to experience this lifetime. It would be such a shame if I didn’t show up as my most vibrant, most alive, most fully-formed self. I think it would be a damn shame if you didn’t as well.
With love and cheek-aching joy,
(And yes, I'm still terrible at ordering for other people. Just read the menu, dammit!)