Decions, Decisions

Many years ago I took a course in assertiveness training.  One of the things the instructor taught us was:  Whether you make one decision over another, it doesn’t matter.  It is just a decision you make.  Either way, there will be some kind of outcome.  One is not better than the other.  It is just what you chose to do in that moment.

In retrospect, this seems like a pretty broad statement, and does not apply in all situations. Some decisions will have a huge, and detrimental, impact on others.  The kind of decisions I’d like to talk about today are the ones that won’t make a huge impact one way or another. I wonder then, why it is we tend to agonize over decisions that really won’t have a huge impact on anyone’s life.  Not even our own.  And in the big scheme of things, it doesn’t matter what choice we make.

I know in my own life I have given too much thought over whether or not to take a particular writing course.  Then when I chose not to go, I beat myself up about a missed opportunity.  Maybe I would benefit from going, maybe I wouldn’t.  We cannot know.  I feel that if I don’t make the “right decision” then it will have a negative impact on my life.  I’ll discuss things with friends, consult my Goddess cards, and search for signs in my everyday life that point to the one – the right decision for me. Someone suggested flipping a coin.  Heads, you do it.  Tails you don’t.  Then ask yourself which choice you secretly longed for.  Sometimes I’ll even make a list of pros and cons.  But the bottom line is, if it doesn’t feel right, I just can’t make a decision with any degree of confidence. For me to push past my fears, I need to feel that any decision I make is the absolute right thing for me.

By talking to friends about my choices, I am sometimes given another perspective that I haven’t formerly thought of that will make my decision clear.  Like the time I was uncomfortable with the thought of going to my nephew’s wedding because our respective families were estranged.  I made up all kinds of reasons why I shouldn’t go.  But a very wise friend said to me, “Oh but you must go.  You will always regret it if you don’t.”  I knew in that moment she was right. All of a sudden it was clear what I had to do.  I did go to the wedding.  It wasn’t easy.  But the night before a hymn kept running around in my head — another sign I was on the right path?  I decided to pay attention to the words:

Come to my heart Lord Jesus.
Come to my heart today.
Come to my heart Lord Jesus.
Come to my heart to stay.
Give me the peace and joy,
that only you can bring.
Come to my heart Lord Jesus.
Come to my heart and sing.

The words calmed me and so I held on to them all throughout the day of the wedding. I was then able to get through it without feeling any tension.  But all decisions aren’t that clear.  So what do you do when you’re not sure?

My husband once told me that he doesn’t worry about things until they are right in front of him.  Perhaps I can take a lesson from this.  Instead of trying to figure out what my next step is when my book is finished, perhaps I should just wait and see what arises.  I want to do the right thing.  But what is the right thing?  And does it matter whether I make a decision about it now?  Why not wait until I gather more information?  Or perhaps the right teacher will turn up to show me the way.  What I’m saying here is, maybe it is best to let life unfold a little bit instead of trying to take control of it all the time by making a decision too soon.  If I can’t make a decision about something right now because my way through isn’t clear, maybe I’m not supposed to decide now, maybe never.  So why waste my time agonizing over something that doesn’t need agonizing over?

Sometimes, I’ll worry what someone else will think about a decision I make. Will they agree, or think I’m crazy for making what they consider, the wrong choice.  But in the end, we have to trust our own instincts to do what’s best for us.  Sounds easy, I know.  And I’ll be the first to tell you, it’s not.  There have been many times when I’ve tried to make a decision about something and can’t.  This is when one of my kids will remind me to cut through the clutter of, “should I or shouldn’t I?” and ask myself, “Do I want to do this or not?” If I decide yes, then things will unfold in one way.  If I decide “no”, then it will unfold in a completely different way.  Either choice will be what it is:  a choice I make, and nothing more.

Another way to approach decision making is to ask yourself — and I got this from same wise friend, Helen.  “What’s your highest intent in this situation?”  Do you want to learn something?  Are you hoping to overcome a fear?  Would you like to meet new people? If you can determine your highest intent, it may help to make your path clear.

So there you have it, a few thoughts about decision making.  Some of you may already have a decision making process that works for you.  Some don’t.  I didn’t until I started to write about it.  Writing helps me to sort things out in my mind and make them clear.  So, if you don’t know what you’re decision making process is, perhaps you too, can write about it on your blog.  I’d love to know what your decision making process is.

Categories: Memoir

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