Sometimes we are faced with impossible choices. The ones that bring us to our knees and make us wonder how we can ever find a “right” answer when it all feels hard and impossible.

The sun was setting through the floor to ceiling windows blanketing my students in Shavasana with a pink and golden light. I fingered through my journals looking for a reading to end the class when something I wrote made me stop.

My journals are where I keep my favourite poetry, stories, and bits of epiphanies and insights that I’m compelled to remember.

I like the cardboard journals in deep browns that are embossed to look like old bound leather books with gold trim. I like them even more if they have an envelope in the back to keep printouts in and a magnetic flap in the front to keep it shut.

I don’t remember where I heard this advice (maybe a Ted Talk years ago), but it was good enough to write down then and still powerful enough that I want to share it with you now.

When choices are hard and seemingly on par, neither option is especially attractive, or obvious, then ask yourself this: What do you want to stand behind?

This reframes the question from “what should I do?” to “what do I want to stand behind?” It’s a braver stance and often a clarifying one. It reflects what you want to put your agency behind and what you stand for.

You become the author of your life, rather than a drifter who lets the world author for you.

Whenever I ask myself, “what do I want to stand for?” the choice becomes clear.

For example, someone I love is going through a tough time and is being less than kind to me. Do I let it go and practice loving kindness for them hoping they get through it, and if so, for how long? Or do I say something knowing that they’re already going through a lot and potentially risk our relationship?

What do I stand for?

The answer becomes clear because the question aligns me with my values, and the world I want to live in. Even if it means I have to be braver than I’m feeling in the moment. It’s still what’s true for me.

I want to hear from you now, what is the best advice you’ve received on making hard choices? Tell me about it in the comments below.