Have you ever wondered why some of us have a hard time making decisions or being confident in the decisions and choices we do make?
I have, and sitting at Starbucks it reminded me of something I wanted to share.
A mom comes in with her daughter, all excited, and says, “What do you want? Whatever you want.”
The daughter (about six years told) responds, “Chocolate chip cookie.”
Her mother begins to speak over her, “Ooh the snowman cookie looks good, how about that? Are you sure you don’t want the snowman cookie? Are you sure? Are you really sure? Because I’m going to get the snowman cookie and you’re going to be jealous and want some.”
All well-intentioned, however, it reminded me of the time I asked my daughter what she wanted for dinner, and when she told me, I replied in much the same manner as the mom in Starbucks. She has some gonads,my daughter, and said, “Mom, don’t ask me anymore, since you decide for me and don’t ever listen to my suggestions or what I want.”
Ouch! She is so often my mirror for the things I need to work on, and I’m thankful she’s a kind yet honest mirror. I do my best now to honor what she says, and if I’m going to decide for her, I just do. This gives her the ability to trust her decisions and feel good about knowing what’s best for her. It also allows her to experience her own consequences and learn on her own to make better choices.
As a child, I didn’t have the opportunity to make decisions, and when I did, they were more often than not the wrong choice, or not my mother’s preferred choice, and so I felt much like my daughter:
Don’t ask me if you’re going to do what you think is best.
The thing is, it didn’t teach me to have trust in my own decisions; instead it taught me to look to those I thought were superior to me to make decisions for me.
I’ve been fortunate to have met some incredible people in my adult life who have either helped me make good decisions, or helped me trust my decisions and supported them; as well as people who have shown me that when I give up my right or ability to decide, I’m giving up responsibility for my life. It causes disagreements when someone makes a decision I don’t like, because then I can blame them—yuck!
As I get wiser, I am learning to trust my decisions more and ask less for opinions. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the help—because I do. It’s because at the end of the day it’s my life, and I am the only who lives with the decisions I make. I’m also learning to answer honestly when someone asks what I want, and trust that they will honor that.
As I tell my daughter now when I see her grappling with decisions, “Babe, there are no wrong decisions or choices. Nothing’s permanent, you can always make another one.”
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Assistant Editor: Lauren Savory / Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: SweetFixNYC / Flickr