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How to Make Decisions When You Disagree With Yourself

Updated: Sep 5

We are complex beings. I think it's too simple to say we have one mind, one personality. For example, do you sometimes find making decisions difficult because you can argue several points of view? Or have you ever felt drawn to more than one career, where one is vastly different from the other? Or perhaps you've dated someone that part of you thought was wonderful while another part was sounding alarm bells.

I have found it helpful to look at myself as a whole of parts; a pie with multiple slices, so to speak. Each slice has it's own distinct flavour. This notion has helped me to understand why I can feel paralysed at times by decisions and why I can argue against myself in an endless stream, getting nowhere.

Think of your psyche as having various characters (or archetypes) sitting around a table, all with different goals and points of view. Suddenly it seems only natural that there might be a debate, sometimes over the simplest of things. The inner Adventurer may want to take a trip while the inner Hermit wants a permanent staycation. The Artist may want to paint while the inner Child is afraid to display the work. The Poet wants to write all day while the Strategist thinks thats a hopeless waste of time.

When you hear someone say, part of me wants this, but part of me wants that, it's an apt description. Even those who make decisions easily may simply have one or two parts that are highly dominant and the dissenting voices may have been locked in a proverbial closet. Or some lucky folk may have archetypes that naturally tend to agree. But for the rest of us, how do we navigate this chaos?

signs point different directions
"We're built of contradictions, all of us. It's those opposing forces that give us strength, like an arch, each block pressing the next." - Mark Lawrence

There are two things I find particularly helpful. Most importantly, all voices must be invited to speak. There should be no dictatorship. If you ostracize a part of yourself, it is never good for your health and well-being. The ostracized part won't like it much and may go underground and get sneaky, causing all sorts of trouble. Aside from this, all parts will have a valid and important piece to contribute to the puzzle. Some parts will be more logical and others will be more connected to the heart and emotions. Others may be more spiritual and aligned with the bigger picture. All of these points of view are important and necessary for making a sound decision.

Secondly, while you don't want a dictatorship, someone needs to be in charge. The buck has to stop somewhere or nothing gets done at all. When I work through the Archetype Wheel with clients, they know exactly who's on their team and that makes it much easier to nominate a Captain. Some rational, benevolent force has to weigh everyone's input and make that final decision through an act of negotiation.

That's the beauty of the Archetype Wheel. You see your team and can work with your team in a conscious manner. It prevents confusion and it prevents stagnation. Everything is aligned, all the yous are at the table. It may not be perfect. No group or family is, but stuff gets done and no part is locked in the cellar.

Whatever method you use, it's beneficial to have a general idea of your different selves and what they're after, remembering that all parts are trying to help you and all have something useful to contribute. It's a 'house divided against itself cannot stand' sort of idea. A decision that appeals to most of you and doesn't wholly alienate or devalue any other part is the most likely to be successfully implemented and produce a positive result.

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