We all have that little voice in our head that gives its unsolicited advice whenever we’re in a bit of an ethical pickle. Some people call it that “gut feeling” or the angel and devil sitting on each shoulder. We try to listen to these logical parts of our psyche but sometimes what we know is right is very different from what we want to do.
Let’s be honest: Sometimes we want to be bad. We want to have that extra drink. We want to stay out a bit longer on a weeknight. We want to… well, our wants can be quite strong cravings. But, as we all know, many times we end up kicking ourselves for not listening to that little voice. We knew the voice was right. We knew we were getting ourselves in trouble. Yet we did it anyway. Then where are we? In bed with a scorching hangover trying figure out how you’re going to make it to work in the next 30 minutes. Then we’re in the office, groaning next to the coffee machine. A co-worker comes in and asks what’s wrong. While you might have a great story to tell, you don’t feel all that great.
My stories from back in the day all tend to start the same way. Something along the lines of “So my friend and I were at this bar…” Cue the hilarity that resulted in bad decisions and a hangover.
So, why is our little voice so ineffective? We have that shot glass in our hand and the voice says, “You should not be drinking tequila right now. You need to be awake in five hours and you will regret this.” Yet, gulp. Down the shot goes because it’s going to make the rest of the night that much more fun. If we know it’s looking out for our best interest why don’t we listen more often? Simple. It’s too easy to ignore.
Imagine if our little voice could manifest itself in no uncertain terms — clear and obvious STOP signs that appears right in front of you rather that just rattling around in your head. How great would that be?! I know for a fact this would be more successful in stopping our foolish choices because I’ve seen it happen.
So my friend and I were this bar… and while she had made the decision to save herself for marriage (a decision I admired greatly), the alcohol had loosened her up a bit on this particular night. We were hanging out with some friends and closed the place down. Unwilling to concede that the night was over; we joined an after party at one of our friends’ places. I will never forget that night because while I’m in the middle of mingling with friends in the living room, here comes my friend traipsing down the steps laughing her fool head off and ready to go home. I didn’t even realize she’d gone upstairs, but she wasn’t out of sight for more than ten minutes.
Here she came, giggling like crazy as she weaved down the stairs. The guy she apparently stole away with quickly followed… begging loudly as he stumbled after her, and wearing, I kid you not, nothing but a pair of the absolute brightest neon smiley face boxer shorts I have ever seen in my life. They were so superbly comical that I could totally see why my friend had a moment of clarity smack her right in the face as it were.
That was her sign. That was her little voice jumping right out of her head and showing her (not just whispering to her) that what she was about to get into would be a serious mistake. And boy did it work.
As she told me later on, she had been internally waffling on what to do about this guy even though they hadn’t gotten into anything “serious,” when he suddenly excused himself to go to the bathroom and surprise, surprise, he came back in nothing but his crazy boxer shorts… and the absurdity of it hit her.
I wish we had more of those blatant signs in life. It might help me say “no” to a relationship with someone I know is bad for me from day one. If the guy had an insanely, neon smiley face tattoo on his forehead that would really help save some time.
Just in general, signs would definitely make decisions so much easier. Then we’d know, okay, this situation is so damn laughable and so crazy there’s no way this will end well. We’d save ourselves a lot of remorse, embarrassment, and heartache down the road. Until then, I guess trying to listen to the little voice is the best we can do. It’s certainly there for a reason.