How do you color the pages of your life wisely? Let’s consider some imagery that might help to understand this question. For just a moment, close your eyes and imagine a beautiful scene. What do you see? Flowers in a beautiful meadow? Snow-capped mountains? A beach at sunset? Now, take another moment to focus on the colors in your special image. Do you see the vivid colors of yellow, orange, and purple in the meadow flowers? Lovely shades of green and white as you look at the majestic mountains? Beautiful blue and green water under a sky of red and pink as you relax on the beach at sunset? Whatever beautiful scene and colors you imagined, we’ll be using these colors as the foundation for today’s discussion about coloring the pages of your life wisely. Now let’s take a look at how color choices are like life choices.
We are faced with making choices and decisions daily. Some small, some not so small, and some life changing. How can we make these choices and decisions wisely? Unfortunately, life does not come with an instruction book; but thankfully there are many ways to develop healthy decision-making skills. Imagine that each decision or choice that you make has a color associated with it. Healthy, positive choices and decisions have beautifully pleasing colors. Unhealthy, negative choices and decisions have colors that are distinctly unpleasant and (well, let’s face it)…ugly.
All choices and decisions we make have consequences, either positive or negative. This can sometimes make decision-making a bit more difficult. It would be great if we knew the outcome of every choice or decision that we make, but we seldom do. Should I move to a new city? Should I tell him/her how I am feeling? If I do, how will he/she respond? What college(s) should I apply to? Should I even go to college? Do I have enough money to buy that new outfit? That new car? That new house? How should I plan for retirement? How should I handle that problem with my best friend? What should I eat for dinner? How often should I exercise? What will happen if I don’t exercise? How much time should I devote to “me time?” How can I take care of my health? How much time should I devote to my aging parents’ needs? How should I respond when I’m feeling overwhelmed, tired, or angry? And the questions go on and on…
When I was in graduate school, working towards my Master of Social Work degree, I became familiar with the Problem-Solving-Model developed by Helen Harris Perlman (1906-2004). A Social Worker herself, she formulated her Problem-Solving-Model in the 1950s. Although written many years ago, her problem-solving model continues to be helpful in today’s world when making choices and decisions, great and small. In her book, Social Casework, a problem-solving process (Perlman, 1957) she outlined three intervention strategies: 1) Ascertaining and clarifying the facts of the problem, 2) Thinking through the facts, and 3) The making of some choice or decision.
In Step 1 we are looking at defining the problem and clarifying it. Sometimes this is quite straight forward, and other times it is not. For more complicated issues, it may be helpful to write the problem, or seek clarification about the issue with someone you trust. It is impossible to make a good decision if we are not clear about the problem. Step 2 is where the problem is analyzed. What are the important facts to consider? A discussion of possible pros and cons may be warranted. Discernment is important in this step…to be able to judge well. To make efforts to decide between right and wrong, between truth and untruth. It is helpful to consider possible alternatives in this step, to brainstorm possible solutions if needed. Step 3 is where the choice or decision is made…and where the decision is then monitored…and the results (a.k.a. consequences) realized. We want to make sound decisions and good choices. If your choice or decision is congruent with what you believe or value, and reflects the truth about the situation, then that decision is probably a wise one. If not, then you have the opportunity to re-evaluate the problem through this three-step process until you reach a desirable outcome.
Wise decisions bring peace, joy and contentment. They are colored with the beautiful hues of life. Unwise decisions bring just the opposite…and they are colored with the negative hues of life. As you make decisions, remember that you are the artist and your life is the canvas. What colors will you choose? A lifetime of wise choices and decisions will result in your own masterpiece!
In an effort to come full circle with this image of color and decisions (and for a little artistic fun), I’m including a link to some beautiful and free adult coloring pages HERE that you can download…and choose to color as you like. This link is from a blog by Andreja Vucajnk called Easy Peasy and Fun. Please check out her blog…it contains many gorgeous adult coloring pages for you to enjoy…as well as other creative ideas! Remember to color the pages of your life wisely. The choices are yours. Make them well.
Peace to you all.