Advice abounds about what to do when making a decision. There are the “What Would (fill in the blank) do?”suggestions, ranging all the way from Jesus to Madonna (the singer, not his mother). Some recommend making a list of positive and negatives while others say to follow your gut.
The one that appeals to me the most comes from Jesuit priest James Martin in the book The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life. He suggests that we ask ourselves what would our best self do? And then do it.
I like this idea because, unless you’re a sociopath, you do have a sense of the right thing. In my case, all I have to do is go through the mental list of the things that I wish I’d done or not done at the end of the day. It goes something like this:
- I wish I had not posted that mean comment on Facebook.
- I wish I had bought a copy of The Contributor from the woman at the intersection.
- I wish I had visited my friend who can’t get out any more.
- I wish I had emailed my other friend who’s been sick.
- I wish I’d worked more on that essay and not caught up with the Kardashians.
You get the idea. There are a thousand good excuses in the moment not to do things. But when I ask what would my best self do, there’s really not much discussion to be had.
So I’m trying to bring my best self to the table at all times. It’s a continuing battle. But worth it.