To go or not to go?

Image: Mark Asthoff

Sometimes it’s hard to tell — is it the devil on the right shoulder or the angel on the left talking to me? Sometimes it’s clear. But often times, it’s not.

They say to do what scares you, right? Well, sometimes doing that thing ends up being good in all ways — like tackling a long-delayed creative project, or writing that vulnerable letter to a special someone that shifts the relationship for the better.

But other times, it’s just flat-out futile. Like when it involves harming yourself or saying something hurtful to a loved one out of blind rage. Sure, these things are scary, and we kinda want to do them. In the moment, it can be hard to see that they’re obvious bad choices. The angel and devil on your shoulders start morphing into one scary-ass demon unicorn.

Here’s how to tell which voice is pulling you — your higher self or your ego…

Ask yourself this question…

Am I feeling a sense of contraction or expansion when I think about doing what I’m about to do?

So.. You want to do something. But you’re hesitant. Fear is kicking in. Check in with yourself… Do you have the feeling of shrinking and closing up? Look at your body language — are your shoulders slumping? Has your posture collapsed? Has your breathing shallowed? That’s contraction, baby. Take a step back from that ledge.

On the other hand, have you leaned forward a bit? Is there an evil smile on your face? Have your eyes widened? Has your lung capacity increased? Do you feel your shoulders have fallen back in line and even, possibly, your hands and arms have opened like a damn bald eagle about to pounce on a spotted owl? Then move forward, amigo.

I like to think of a roller coaster. Roller coasters aren’t for everyone. If you immediately lose bodily function and roll up into the fetal position as you approach it — please, for your sake and everyone behind you on that ride, DON’T. BOARD.

But if you’re pretty scared — but scared in a crazed, excited, can’t-wait-to-go-scream-my-face-off-while-laughing-hysterically kind of way — buckle up, bucko. This ride is for you.

Expansive? Or contractive? In just about any aspect of life — business, relationships, health, or finances — these two feeling-states will lead the way.

Props: Thanks, Marie Forleo for the inspiration.

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