I’m standing in Whole Foods the other day staring at the coffee. I like instant decaffeinated coffee; this one brand in particular. Right beside my favorite coffee is a tea that looks, smells and “tastes like coffee”. Now you can enjoy a steaming cup of deliciously rich, deep-roasted, fresh brewed flavor that delivers all the satisfaction without the caffeine and acidity of coffee! it said.
I was their target market and they had my attention. All that sounded so perfect.
I weighed the benefits of having one versus the other, the cost of both versus the amount of tea and coffee that would be a possible future experience for me. I stood there for over 5 minutes reading the tea box and coffee container hoping the words would help me make my decision. I was definitely at a crossroads. For the life of me, I could not decide which one to buy.
So … I bought the tea. Why? Because it was what I thought I should do, not what I wanted to do. I wanted the instant coffee. I like it so much better than the tea. (Believe it or not I’d been down this same road before.)
What contributed to my actions? I had read once that coffee, even decaffeinated contributes to migraines and … I have migraines. I had the author’s voice in my head saying, “YOU MUST ELIMINATE ALL OFFENDING FOODS IF YOU EVER WANT TO GET BETTER!”
Have you ever been in a situation like this … where you made a decision based on what you thought you should do, instead of what you wanted to do, because of outside influences or the opinions of others?
As I walked out of the store with my tea purchase all I could hear in my head was, “You should have gotten the coffee. You really like the coffee better.”
For three straight days, I thought about the coffee. I drank the tea, yes, and I really did try to like it … but want I really wanted was the experience of drinking my favorite coffee.
How about you? Are you drinking tea when you really want coffee? That’s a metaphor, of course, but a good one none-the-less.
There are infinite opportunities in life for us to do what we think we should do, to be influenced by the opinions of others, instead of what we want to do. One could even argue that there are 7 plus billion different opinions on any one given topic as we all look at the world through our own beliefs and experiences.
What I love about those beautiful opportunities for growth and awareness (by that I mean a chance to choose to do this or that on many different subject all day long) is that they will never go away. Nor should they. We love being reminded that staying true to what is right for us is our highest priority and it’s a skill that we can always get better at.
Maybe it’s the real (or just in your head) voice of your parents, friends, kids, or spouse suggesting you get tea instead of coffee, do this instead of that, buy this not that, say this never that, be like this not that, think this which is “better” than that.
The source of the opinion, whether it’s your mother, friend, spouse, child, doctor, or a book you read, is less important than the opportunity to stay in alignment with you. YOU are the only one who knows what is best for you and allowing yourself the grace and strength to say, “Yes, I really want the coffee, not the tea!” and feel good about your decision, despite what others think of your choice, is such an empowering space to live in.
It’s always okay to say to the loved ones (or in my case, the doctor who wrote the book) who are suggesting it would be best if we did “this” instead of “that”, I love you all so much and want to thank you for supporting my choice! even if they don’t.
At this point in this story you should know that I went back to get the coffee three days later. Boy, did that make me happy. Instead of listening to someone else’s voice echoing in my head, I listened to my inner EGS (emotional guidance system) and because of that choice, I feel so much better.
Most of the, “Tea or coffee?” decisions we have to make are not about such simplistic things like which yummy hot beverage to consume. They’re about things with more weight like which relationships, activities, foods, reading material, and jobs are the best choice for us. It has been my experience that if I choose the “tea” over the “coffee” and do so because of trying to please someone else or listening to the advice of another, instead of my own, I feel bad.
And feeling bad, well … just feels bad. Spending time in that yucky emotional place is not fun.
So what does a person do when they are faced with a bigger, “Tea or coffee?” type decision? You start from where you are, knowing that if you choose the tea today, when you really want the coffee, that it’s more than okay. It’s actually perfect.
But perhaps, as you sip from your delicious hot cup of tea, notice how you feel. Did you feel “off”? Not quite right? Like you’d really rather be drinking coffee? If you do, that’s the perfect time to give yourself permission to go get the coffee (that’s code for change your mind) instead because that’s really what you want and it’s the decision that feels the best to you in that moment.
You inner EGS will never misguide you, or lead you astray. If you’re supposed to get the coffee instead of the tea, you will know that that is the best choice for you by how you feel. Your EGS really is the purest, most unbiased “advice” you’ll every receive.