respond [LISTEN]: Do you actively listen to your inner voice/conscience? Describe a time this year you heard and responded to it.
So my instinctive response to this was, yes. But on second thought, I’m not so sure. My inner voice tends to be more of an inner debate, whereby I incessantly weigh pros and cons before making a decision. I once read the Linda Goodman description of Libran character traits and it explained exactly what I do – which is endlessly go back and forth in the pursuit of finding that perfect balance.
V is also a Libran but he is a very quick decision-maker (the stars must have been differently aligned when he was born). Making decisions around him became a source of great angst for both of us. I could literally feel him breathing down my neck. From his perspective, it was frustrating standing around tapping his foot while I went: “Okay this, no this, no this, no that” seemingly ad infinitum. From mine, the sound of his tapping foot threw my train of thought out of whack.
Initially, this led to some tension, then I followed the path of going with his decisions a lot, then I began to rebel leading to a lot of tension and now I’m trying to strike some balance again. The truth is that V’s decisions, by and large, tend to be pretty good, especially the big ones. Like my current job. When I got the offer I was dithering as usual – not helped that I was in Bombay at the time and my father was not exactly thrilled with the idea of me doing something so low profile – and finally, V said, just do it.
So it is tempting to let him make all the big decisions, partly because he has a high success rate, partly because he’s quicker and in very small part because he bears a slightly bigger responsibility then (though I almost never rub this in). However, this goes against the grain of my feminist beliefs and also, he can get really overbearing. I am okay with him making decisions about my life when I am okay with it but not without asking. Thus, when I had to buy a phone and he was quite clearly trying to bludgeon me into his preferred route, I did not appreciate it.
Nevertheless, being around V has made me a quicker decision-maker by force of husband’s irritation. Thus, for the smaller things, I just make quick decisions and compel myself not to go back obsess about them. For example, choosing what to eat at a restaurant. It used to be one of those things that annoyed him because I hadn’t made up my mind right up to the time I was giving the waiter my order. So for these things, I adopt a just-choose-something-and-stick-with-it approach. For a while, V had been edging me into decisions or outright telling me what I should order (often he got it right) but I no longer accept this. Same with shopping.
The hardest decisions to be made were when our babies were very little. I just could not accept V’s knee-jerk decisions because with my babies’ health, I wanted no margin for error. I wanted to weigh pros and cons but I was also paralysed by lack of complete information, guidance and a patient spouse. It was a very tough time.
My inner voice also leads me to be a softie. If someone is selling something, I feel like I have to reward their effort by buying it. Especially, if it has some feel-good tag be it “charity” or “organic” attached to it. So, for example, I signed up to do a scheduled monthly donation to a charity. I’m actually happy about this but it means I need to be very firm when approached by other charities because I’m already committed. It also means that last weekend, I bought two beetroots for HK$50 because I felt the need to support the farmers at a farmers market. V stood by shaking his head.
I will say, though, that for the medium-to-big decisions, the ones I am most satisfied with are the ones where I have spent a decent amount of time mulling over, and then they turned out well. For the small things, I’ll acknowledge Just Do It works.