We have all struggled with uncertainty at one point or another in life, and you may find that the more you search for an answer, the muddier everything becomes. While using our analytical skills is important to help us weigh out the costs and benefits of various options, our analysis only takes us so far. What can you do when you have weighed all the options, and there is still no clear answer?
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Understand Your Motivation
Make a list of your options. Why are you considering these options? What started you on this journey, what led you to this point? Are you making fear-based decisions, or empowered and confident decisions? This process can help us evaluate how we move through our lives in more significant ways, but also in the ways that seem less consequential.
If we are used to moving through our day to day lives motivated by fear rather than feeling empowered, it is likely that this same pattern will be reflected in larger decisions we make. While there is nothing wrong with playing it safe, sometimes playing it safe can mean shrinking. For instance, if you fear judgement from other people, you might choose to keep your thoughts and feelings to yourself to avoid feeling vulnerable. However, there are times when sharing your thoughts and feelings can lead to a greater sense of feeling connected and understood by others. By playing it safe in this way, you avoid discomfort, but you might also be avoiding opportunities for connection.
Decisions on a larger scale are trickier. With any big decision, we often are not lucky enough to have a clear answer presented to us. An example of this might be choosing to move to another city in order to have a more expansive life experience. There are obvious risks in doing this, but also potentially great rewards.
Questions you can ask yourself to explore your motivation include:
- What might I be running away from or avoiding if I do make this decision? If I do not?
- What feelings do I value in life? Why? (Examples might be feeling adventurous, feeling secure, feeling relaxed, feeling open, feeling engaged)
- What feelings come up for me when I consider my options?
- What am I afraid will happen if I do make this decision? If I do not?
- What am I hopeful will happen if I do make this decision? If I do not?
- Why do I want to make this change? Why do I not want to make this change?
- Is this the best time for this change? Why or why not?
- What will I regret if I do make this change? If I do not?
I am not encouraging anyone to throw caution to the wind and make the more empowered decision if it does not ultimately feel like the right decision. Taking time to reflect on the questions above can help you to sit with and explore your thoughts and feelings in a more intentional way, and hopefully provide you with more insight into what is driving your decision making.
Sarah Tronco, LCSW, provides online counseling in New Jersey and works to develop a strong therapeutic relationship with her clients, which helps to create a secure place where individuals can achieve meaningful change.
Sarah Tronco, LCSW, now also provides online counseling in Pennsylvania, contact her to learn more.
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