Finally, making a rational decision versus an emotional one can be better rewritten as "How do I make a choice based on my Values and not on my fleeting emotional state?". This rewrite helps include your reliable emotional/rational state (i.e. assigned by your values). It also reminds that how you feel now, is not necessarily who you are now (i.e. does the emotional state come from what you believe or from a complex state of unhelpful insecurities).
So, how do you discover what are your Values. I have had a few clients of late coming in with difficulty articulating their Values and therefore assuming they don't have them. In session I believe that one of my strengths is being able to provide a language to those who have difficulty in this area. I've written about Values and the four core segments of your life where they apply. Let's revisit them. Try not to get too caught up on whether these areas overlap, because they invariably do. We use these definitions, like any word you can imagine, only in so far as they work for the activity in which we are using them. Consider the realms of your Relationships, Work/Education, Health/Spirituality, and Leisure. Think about your Values in each of these areas. Perhaps in Relationships you value loyalty, or being a loyal father. Remember you never really "become" a loyal father, you work toward it every day.
When making a decision then you will be faced with two choices, doing something emotionally or practically difficult or following your Value. A simple example of this would be watching your son's soccer match instead of going to football with your mates. While this example seems a fairly easy choice for most of you (and the rest of you are probably aware of what society would generally expect you do), it really is analogous of a high percentage of the difficult decisions you are faced with from day to day. Meaning, that you know what you have to do, but it's going to be a difficult process living up to that value. The most proud moments I have heard my client's achieving is when they put their fear aside and attempt to live up to their value. Notice I've said attempt, not succeed. The outcome is not as important as your commitment.
However, following the example of "Loyal Father" above, what if your child has committed a serious crime? How do you remain "loyal", what does that word mean to you now? What if your commitment or the outcome would betray one of your other important values? That is indeed a big can of worms, and I'll open that up on my next blog.