Episode 87 | Why Right Choices Often Feel Terrible

We are taught that if something feels bad, then we shouldn’t pursue it. Although that may make sense in some circumstances, most of the time it holds us back from taking the actions we need to take to stay in alignment with ourselves, and move toward our goals and dreams.

In this episode I explained why Right decisions sometimes feel sooooo terrible, and shared a recent experience that helped me untangle this dichotomy in a tangible way.

I also shared why it is essential that we follow through with our “right decisions” even when it feels terrible is exactly what you need to grow your self confidence and move toward your dreams.



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This transcript is auto-generated and may contain typos.

Why, right choices often feel terrible and why you should follow through with them. Anyway, that's what we're talking about in episode 87. I'm Dr. Cari Wise, and this is the Joyful DVM Podcast. Hello my friends. Welcome to episode 87 today. We're gonna be talking about why, right choices often feel terrible and why you should still follow through with those right choices.

Anyway, now this idea for a podcast came to me as I went through a scenario around cutting down a tree on our property. Now hang with me because I promise you we're gonna get back to right choices. When we moved to this property back in 2015, there were a lot of trees. It's a small farm, and it's here in Missouri and I love the trees.

It's one of the things that I love the most about where we live and the trees, every time, there's one that needs to be taken down. I always feel a little bit of sadness around that. Well, let's be honest. I feel a lot of sadness around that. If they're diseased, if they're already dead, it's a little bit easier.

But when there, for other reasons like the power company says, we're cutting this tree down. Whether you want us to, or not, those situations usually leave me feeling a little bit uncomfortable. I'm usually a little resentful. I feel a little bit sad and eventually it does pass. The tree goes away. We all adjust life goes on, but recently we cut down a tree in our front yard and it was a decision that I made pretty much all on my own.

When we first moved into this property, this tree in the front yard was really out of character for the property itself. It wasn't a tree that matched any of the other natural trees anywhere around us. It had obviously been planted by the people who lived here before us, and it was just way too close to the house. I remember thinking back at 2015,

dang, that tree is really close to the house. And at that point it had probably been there two to three years, I would guess. And I always thought we need to take that tree down, but we didn't get around to it. And as the seasons would change and it would drop all of its little needles everywhere. I would usually be fussy about that and annoyed with its existence.

I didn't like the way that it blocked our view out of our front bedroom window. And I had all these reasons why this tree was a problem. But another thing happened in the years since we've lived here, because as I record this it's 2022. So we're seven years into this and this tree was still there up until yesterday over the last seven years,

that tree continued to grow and I didn't spend as much time as the years went by being annoyed by the tree. I actually found a way to become friends with the tree. If you will. It became a great tree for hanging bird feeders on. And if any of you who've been listened to the podcast for a while, you know, I love to watch the birds around my house.

So it was great for that in the wintertime, when it would snow, it was really fascinating to watch because it would get so heavy and it would droop so far down. But there was another thing that also happened over the last seven years as this tree continued to grow. And the trunk size probably doubled in the last seven years, the root system also expanded.

Now, of course it did, we would expect it to right, but it expanded in a way that it was popping up all over the yard. And another thing that also happened within the last year is that the front wall of our foundation in the basement has started to push in. We could actually see it downstairs. So as I noticed that in the last year,

this need to take care of this tree really escalated because now not only was it just too close to the house, there was also evidence that it was too close to the house, or at least that's what I believed. And so we did make the decision this fall, that it was time to take this tree down, that we needed to get the foundation expert in,

to fix our foundation in our basement so that we don't have an entirely caved in front front wall. And that we could also stop this upheaval of the entire front yard, where all this root system is coming up. So we made this decision and I feel felt really good about this decision. And I still feel really good about this decision. It was the right choice,

was the right choice to cut down this tree. This tree was never planted in the right place. In my opinion, obviously just my opinion. It just wasn't ideal. And although I knew that when I, we moved in seven years ago, there are consequences to not doing it right away. And those consequences today have been a major disruption in the terrain of the yard and now a foundational issue on our home.

This is something we can remedy by cutting down the tree. So we have this tree scheduled to be cut down and I noticed this week, but had not yet connected the two that as the day got closer, I was in a bit of a funk and I really didn't know where it was coming from. I thought maybe I was just tired. I'd overdone it.

There was a lot of activities and appointments and things this week. And I thought, well, maybe I'm just, you know, having one of those weeks. And then yesterday, the day of the tree reckoning, it hit me. That's what the, the pending doom had been all about. It was the cutting down of this tree that I knew that once we cut it down,

there was no going back. And I recognized a few things in that moment. Number one, still cutting down the right tree was the right choice. So I was really solid in that, but what I thought was really interesting as I explored, it was just how uncomfortable that fit situation felt. That decision felt. And it reminded me that oftentimes when we make a right decision,

it feels terrible. So I dug in a little bit, you know, me, I always wanna understand why if I go back initially, I think about the choice itself. That's where it's a good place to start. Let's look at the choice that we're making. So you can apply this to whatever choice you're making or have already made in your life.

Look at that choice. Do you like your reasons? That's gotta be first and foremost, do you like the reasons why you're making the decision that you're making? And I know without a doubt, when it comes to this tree, that the answer was, yes. I liked the reason that we were going to preserve our home by taking down this tree.

It made a lot of sense. I liked that we weren't gonna continue to tear up the yard with tripping hazards because of this tree. So the bigger picture of what we were trying to create, looking at our goals, looking at what we want for the future of this home and what we wanna do with this home, this tree staying where it was just,

wasn't part of that plan. So when we look at our decision that we're making, considering it through the lens of our bigger goals in our big picture, in our lives, I think that's important. What are you trying to create overall? And the thing that you're looking at deciding about does that contribute to, or hinder you from that bigger picture? In this case,

the tree was a hindrance toward the bigger picture for lots of reasons that I've already explained. So that's the first part with these decisions? Do you like your reasons? And that's a yes. Now it would be wonderful if every time you make a decision and you like your reasons, that means it feels amazing as you move forward. And that's where it gets tricky because that's what the world teaches us.

We're taught really early on to strive for happily ever after that, if you make the right choices in your life, that you will be happy and things will be easy, but that's not the way this life experience works. Part of being a human is experiencing both sides of the emotional coin, the comfortable and the uncomfortable, because friends without the uncomfortable, we wouldn't even know the comfortable existed without happy or without sad.

We wouldn't know happy. So both sides of the emotional wheel are absolutely part of the human experience. And so it is a falsity that right choices come along with good feelings. That's just not the way that it works. You wanna feel good about the decision that you made, but that doesn't mean that all along that decision process as is executed, that you're gonna feel amazing.

And that's exactly what happened with this decision to cut down the tree. As I dug into the why to understand where all that discomfort came from, one of the things I realized was just my own awareness of the ripple effect of my choice. So I liked my choice to cut down this tree, but there was a ripple effect and that ripple effect is so much more evident to me now as an adult than it was as a younger adult.

So what am I talking about specifically? Well, in the case of this tree, I'm talking specifically about, I killed this tree, this tree wasn't one that was diseased. It wasn't one that had been struck by lightning and was dying. That's another tree on our property. This one was living its best life. It was getting bigger. It was happy where it was.

And I decided that it didn't need to be there anymore. So I decided to kill this tree. I know that sounds dramatic, but if I'm being honest, that's part of what was feeding my discomfort and sadness over this situation that I made a choice to kill this tree as somebody who truly values wildlife in trees in particular, that was a hard one to swallow.

Another piece of awareness of my ripple effect had to do with the wildlife habitat itself. Wondering would the birds come back? Would they find the new feeding station that I had set up for them just a few feet away? Would they use it? So part of this awareness was that over the years of living in this home, that I had come to value what the tree provided for me,

which was this endless opportunity at any moment of the day to walk and look out my front window and see a whole variety of wildlife in this tree, birds and squirrels and all rabbits hopping around the outside of it. I know it sounds very like iconic, but it's, that's what we experienced here. And so part of this was the ripple effect of that.

Would they still be there? Would the birds still come back? Would the squirrels still be around? Would the, would they, would the birds use that feeding station that I set up for them? I tried to plan ahead and think about the impact, but there was still impact. And so it was my awareness of that ripple effect of my choice that was causing me some discomfort,

because I did feel sad that I killed the tree. And I did feel a little bit guilty for taking away this tree from the wildlife that had been using it. The second piece of awareness that came from this decision making process and, and through the discomfort that I experienced in this right choice was just a reminder that status quo is always way easier than making a change.

That's right for us, status quo is easy. Even if it's uncomfortable, even if we feel like crap, it's still easier than making a change. And that's because anytime we change anything in our lives, it's scary. We don't know exactly what's gonna happen next. And it's the, what if monster that actually creates all of that discomfort. We don't know if it's all gonna work out.

We don't know if it was absolutely the best decision for everybody involved. We don't know if the birds are gonna come back and feed at the feeding station. We don't know any of those things. If I'm looking at this specific choice. And so change is scary. So even though I 100% still think it was the right choice to cut down that tree,

the process of it and the moving forward from there is still scary because it's uncertain because it's unknown because we've never been here before. I've never done this before. We've never not had that tree before. And I know, again, this sounds overly dramatic, but I think it's a great example for us to apply to any decision that we're making in our lives,

because it's not the decision itself. That is the problem, the right or the wrong choice. It's what happens in our minds around that, that creates the entire experience for us staying, where we are not making any new choices at all is super easy. And that's part of the reason why for seven years, this tree that I believed would needed need to be there still stayed until I got to the point that I couldn't argue with the other facts of the situation.

In this case, specifically, the catalyst in deciding to cut down this tree was simply the, the collapsing foundation in our basement. It just had to go, it, it was either the house or the tree, what it boiled down to. And I I'd be lying if I didn't think about, well, we could move the house like for a split second.

My mind went there, but in the end of the day, that wasn't easier moving the house, doing all that, like there was a lot involved in that and it wasn't what I wanted. It, wasn't what I wanted. What I wanted was to preserve the house. And what I wanted was to cut down the tree and going through that process,

becoming aware of the ripple effect of those choices and stepping into the unknown. That's where the fear came from. And ultimately it brought me to another place, which is just this recognition that I think we all need to remember, which is we have the capacity to hold space for both. This is the human experience we do have free will. We do get to make choices for ourselves.

And as we look at what we want for our lives, what we wanna create in our lives, what the goals that we have for ourselves, for our families, for our futures, as we make decisions in support of those things, we are going to feel uncomfortable. It's not gonna be easy all along the way. Now that never means that the choices you're making are wrong.

So if you've been associating discomfort with wrong choice, I want you to start to pull that apart because that discomfort that you're feeling is probably more of an indicator that you're on the right path than it is an indication that you're on the wrong path. Every time we turn away from discomfort and we stay where we are, we don't make any action. We don't take any progress toward the goals and toward our dreams.

We need to learn to just allow to ourselves, to hold space for both this let's go of the idea of happily ever after this embraces the idea of the human experience, where as a human, you will experience both uncomfortable emotion and comfortable emotion. You will experience both sides of that emotional coin. It's not a problem. The world has taught us that feeling uncomfortable,

feeling bad, feeling scared, feeling anxious is a problem to be solved for the world is wrong about that. It's all part of the human experience. It's part of the reason that we're here and it's when we allow ourselves to make decisions that are right for us. And to intentionally then experience that discomfort that we grow. Not only do we grow in our own capacity,

but we grow in our self-confidence it. As our self-confidence grows, then we are more and more likely to make more decisions and interact in new situations that push us beyond our comfort zones. Everything that you want for your life is on the other side of discomfort. And for me, cutting down this tree is simply no different. I can hold space for both.

I can simultaneously be sad that I killed a tree because I don't like killing trees. That's just not my thing. I can simultaneously be sad because I believe that I've taken away habitat and that I've messed up this beautiful opportunity to watch the birds in my front yard every day. But neither of those things is going to help me. Long-term it's okay for me to notice that that's where that emotion comes from.

But if I stay in it, it will keep me from moving forward. When I focus on that perspective, that brings in that regret and that guilt and that sadness, it's not useful. Long-term the way that it impacts my net emotional state. My average emotional state is gonna be to pull the entire vibration down. And when we allow situations to spin in our minds that keep creating regret and fear and anxiety and hopelessness,

then that pulls our entire emotional state down. When we're in a lower vibration, the actions that we take in our lives don't lead us to a higher vibration state. They don't lead us toward our goals and our dreams. They keep us stuck, right where we are now, the lower brain is completely fine with that, because if you're not out there trying something new,

it's very unlikely. You're gonna be eaten by a lion or by whatever big, scary thing. It's pretty sure it's about to kill you, but it's wrong about that. It's always looking for risk. There really isn't any risk in this. It was a tree and to me, a tree has great value and I made a choice. And in that choice,

though, that choice still led toward the bigger goals and dreams that I had for what is important to me in the rest of my life. And we will all make choices like that. Some that many of us will believe are much more significant than simply removing a tree. But regardless of what the decision is, you have the capacity to hold space for both to be both sad and maybe a little bit regretful or guilty,

but then also feeling confident in your choice. I like my reasons for cutting down this tree. And if I remind myself of why it's much easier for me to move forward, but if I then instead slide back into all the other side of the coin, the narrative, the story that my mind wants to offer me about being a tree killer about taking away habitat from wildlife,

that pulls me in a downward spiral. Both sides are available to me. I can hold space for both, but the amount of time that I spend in any given side is gonna determine what happens next. And that's the most important part here. We spend a lot of time trying to solve for the negative side, the uncomfortable side, trying to make ourselves not feel uncomfortable.

That's not necessary. It's totally fine to feel uncomfortable about that. It's totally fine. That part of me is like, you're a tree killer and you took away habitat for wildlife. Like it's not a problem that I've got that story. But if I focus on that story, then that's gonna pull me down at all kinds of areas in my life. And that's what I experienced this week without even realize what was happening instead,

I can be like, yeah, I did that. I made that choice and I don't know what the impact is gonna be on the wildlife. I did my best by putting up a feeding station and I hope and pray that all those birds still come around and whatever new thing I plant there, that's not gonna get as big and is not gonna interrupt with the foundation.

I hope that they take to that. Like they took to that tree, but I don't know. And it's that one statement, I don't know, that creates the most anxiety. That's what creates the most fear. I don't know. And that is the question that is on every side of big, any big decision we make, every decision we make,

quite honestly, we never know what's gonna happen next. It's when we allow that lack of knowing that lack of certainty, when we allow that discomfort in that fear to keep us from making the decisions in the first place that we stop living our lives, we give into status quo. It's easier, but it doesn't get you where you wanna go ever. It's not useful long term.

So the skill to be developed is really twofold. Number one, make the decisions that you like. And by like, I mean, do you like your reasons? You're the only one who has to like the reasons for the things that you decide you have free, will you get to decide for you? So do you like your reasons if you like your reasons awesome,

move forward. And then number two, when you feel uncomfortable all along the way, because you will just realize that's just part of the human experience, that discomfort isn't going to kill you, no matter how much that lower brain tries to convince you, otherwise, you always have the option of going back to the reasons you made your decision in the first place.

And I can guarantee you this, that when you like your reasons for making a decision, those reasons are in support of your greater goals and dreams in your life. And when you stay forward focused, when you say focused on those goals and dreams, you can't help, but move forward. It's only when we give in to the other side, when we give in to the status quo,

when we give in to the false narrative, that if it feels uncomfortable, then it has to be wrong. It's when we give in to that, that we stop moving forward. And it's that, that kills our hopes and dreams. It's not our ability to make new choices because we always have that ability. It's where we decide to focus once we've done it.

And if you've made that hard choice and then you've give into the fear. Anyway, that's the worst case scenario of all, because not only have you experienced the discomfort of making that decision in the first place, which is a really good thing, remember the right choices often feel terrible, but then having had that victory, you don't even give yourself any time to celebrate.

Instead, you're turning around, you're punching yourself in the face and you're now regretting the decision that you made. That's never going to be useful. It argues with the reality of what is what's done is done. No matter how I wanna think about this tree and my decision to cut this tree down, the tree is gone and I can argue with that reality all day long,

but it will never make me feel better at this point. My only path forward is to remember why I made that choice in the first place. And to look at that decision in the grand scheme of my bigger goals and dreams for not only where we live, but for my life overall, when I focus on that I can move forward and whatever decision you might be facing in your life,

it's exactly the same thing. Like the reasons for making your choice. And then when your mind wants to offer you all the reasons why it's the wrong choice, simply redirect to what's true for you because it comes down to this. My friends, there are no right choices and wrong choices in this world. There are simply choices. And what you believe about the choices you make is yours and yours alone to decide there's no upside to believing you made a wrong choice.

So let's take the choice for what it is, which is now just simply part of our factual framework. And let's create the narrative that serves us best as we move forward. All right, my friends, I'm gonna leave you with that sign for now.