• Tara

What's your preference?

How many times has someone said, "what do you want for dinner?" And you respond, "I don't know. What sounds good to you?"

It seems insignificant, but according to Jack Canfield the habit of disregarding your preferences causes you to become numb to your own desires. No matter how small or large, you should get in the habit of "honoring your preferences." He refers to it as reowning your power.

For years I struggled with feeling like what I wanted didn't matter. Things were always happening to me instead of for me. I said, "whatever," "don't care," and "I'm indifferent," a lot. I didn't even think my preferences were an option. And over the years I started to forget who I was, and what did I want? It was just a bad habit that I thought was protecting my feelings if I didn't get what I wanted. Or that somehow it was selfish to have a preference.

You can be a caring, generous, grateful human, and still have a preference for the way you want things. Having a choice and making the decision based on your preference is the only way to honor your power. It is not selfish to care about your self. However, if you care about your self and lack empathy for people affected by your decisions, you're probably selfish.

Every time you find yourself saying "I don't care," ask yourself, "what would I choose if I did care?" Every time you're about to say you don't have a preference, make a decision based on what you would do if you did have a preference. As you continue your decisive habit, the connection with your self and your desires will grow. You'll begin to feel valuable simply by honoring your preferences.

This year my 2020 resolution was to focus on the details. Funny thing, my mindset used to be "good enough" but I always felt "not good enough." Now, "it's all about the details" and I want to feel "extraordinary." The concept of being decisive down to the smallest details is a difficult one for me. I used to think making decisions all day was exhausting, but it's probably because they were decisions made based on someone else's preference. It doesn't take much energy to know what is innate in yourself vs trying to feel out someone else. And it's absolutely draining to feel like no one cares about your wants, down to the cup you want your coffee in.

You may not have control over everything, but the things you do have control in should be your starting point for being decisive.

For example, coffee. I don't just want any brand coffee, prepared any way, in any cup. My coffee preference has evolved to a specific brand, freshly ground just before brewing, French press (even though it's a pain in the ass to clean every day), a specific creamer and a specific sweetener. Don't forget, in a specific cup. I can't get a better cup of coffee than the one I make for myself. This is because I started to acknowledge my preferences. It might seem silly to someone else, but to me, it's honoring what I enjoy.

The wants of others should always be acknowledged, but ultimately your decision should come from being honest about what you want too. This is not the same as saying, "it's my way or the highway." It's about making decisions based on what you want when you have the opportunity. If your decision making is affecting someone else in a negative way, you may want to evaluate why choosing to satisfy yourself causes so much distress for the other person. Or, ask yourself why you would be willing to sacrifice so much of your own wants for someone who wouldn't be willing to do the same for you?

Imagine the future you. Based on the decisions you made today, how much of your life experience was the outcome of allowing someone else's preferences drive the decisions in your life?

I've been slowly reading "The Success Principles" by Jack Canfield. Slowly because each couple pages has so much information and deep thought concepts. Right now I'm working on the first few exercises. It started with making an "I want" list. 30 things you want to have, 30 things you want to do and 30 things you want to be before you die.

It's odd, but mortality is something always in the back of my head. So much so that I've expressed multiple times that I want my ashes to be turned into a diamond when I die. I even have an amazon playlist titled "my funeral." When I take photos or videos, I'm always thinking about how I need to make sure I'm in front of the camera too, so they can be used for a slide show. 30 things I want to be before I die was strangely difficult to get out. A lot of the things are things I'm already doing but I just want to do them better.

Practicing this exercise was a reminder that if I don't honor my preferences, then I won't have clear responses to these types of questions.

See if you can catch yourself avoiding making a decision that benefits you the next time you get the opportunity. Something as small as the pen you want to write with counts.

Focus on the details of your decisions.

Stay well.

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