How Chinese Medicine Can Help You Make Decisions (3 minute read)

Some decisions are hard to make and some are easy. Making a decision like ‘where do you want to go for dinner?’ may be easy for someone and hard for someone else.

When I was in my early 20’s, some of the simplest decisions would stress me out. There were days when I couldn’t decide if I should wear blue, black or gray pants because I honestly thought wearing the wrong colour would ruin my day.

Deciding what to eat would often take hours because my head would go into overdrive, weighing all the options, taking into consideration my diet, my cravings, my budget, what I have or haven’t tried, what’s trending, “what was that place my friend recommended again?”, “let me check Yelp” and so forth.

That luxury of having all these choices was actually a burden for me. *Cough*...“First World Problems”. But then as I got older and the more I knew myself, those decisions failed to stress me out. Indecisiveness isn’t a natural trait of mine and during those years, I let what everyone else was doing influence my decision-making skills and I wasn’t being true to myself.

I really cared about what other people thought about my clothing and food choices and so decisions were stressful. 

I mean what if they thought my pants were last season? Maybe they would think I'm cheap for buying my clothes at that discount store? Or maybe they would think I'm not easygoing if I didn't feel like burgers for dinner like they did? I think my mom knew I was being influenced by social expectations.

My mom loves watching those popular Chinese medicine talk shows (Well, popular amongst older, Chinese women who are very ‘8’...which is a Cantonese slang for ‘nosy’). There’s always a segment in these shows that talks about how if you have certain body and/or facial features, it will predict how your life is going to be. Like if you have moles, it means you’re either going to be lucky or unlucky depending on where they are.

Another one is if you have a meaty nose, you’ll be rich. Or if you have long ears, you’ll have a long life or something like that. I guess she enjoys staring at people (strangers, her kids, her grandkids, neighbours, her son-in-laws etc.) and sussing out how their life is going to be or has been.

One day, she asks me if she could 'read' me. Skeptically, I agreed to let her read my palm.

On both of my hands, the life line and head line do not touch.

A gap between these lines meant that I don’t take a long time to make decisions, as in I tend to make them recklessly and on impulse. Then she looks at me with that smug face and nods.

I roll my eyes and scoff while telling her she’s “Chee Seen” (‘Crazy’ in Cantonese). I didn't want to give into her Chinese quackery. I have my Graduate degree in Health Sciences. Where was her peer-reviewed research? Have they done a study looking at these lines and how decisive people are? What's the correlation?

I’d say most of the time, I am my father’s daughter in that once a decision needs to be made, I quickly weigh the options and pick something. Analyzing options and researching the potential outcomes of each path actually stresses me out.

The more I know how each option will play out, the longer it will take for me to make a decision and I know I freeze when that starts happening (my mind is great at creating situations out of nothing).

So in a way, my head dictates the speed at which a decision is made since logically, by making decisions quickly, it can prevent the burden of choice and bypass the overanalysis paralysis route. However, this doesn’t mean it’s easy for me to make decisions.

When making a tough decision, I use my head and my heart. The head and heart don’t always agree. Like there are decisions when I know what the right thing to do is and my head is pointing me in that direction; however, my heart feels what the heart feels and sways me in the opposite direction.

However, thinking about what she said and how she said it, I start to reflect on my decision-making behaviour as I've gotten older.

As for the decisions that I make every day. I go on autopilot and neither my head or my heart is engaged.

So did my mom know something about me that I didn’t know about myself?


However, I don't think she knew that about me only by reading my palm. She also really knows me. She's my mom. I think it was her way of telling me to stop overthinking, to stop worrying about what other people think and to be comfortable being myself, a decisive woman. Reading my palm was merely her tool to communicate that message to me without directly tell me who I am.

By being open to learning about my mom's interest in Chinese Medicine, I'm hoping to create my own parenting tool to initiate difficult conversations with my daughter during those moments when I know her more than she knows herself.

So many years down the road when she starts to feel insecure about whether her friends like her, or whether that pimple on her face will ruin her day, I'll take a cue from my mom's book of wisdom and ask if I could read her hand. Then I'll share with her how my mom's Chinese Medicine made me become true to myself.

So Readers, take a look at your palms. Do the head and life lines meet? Do you think decisiveness is pre-determined or does it just grow as we know ourselves more?

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