Have you ever felt unable to make a choice between two options?
You find yourself weighing up, analyzing, going around in circles, eventually feeling stuck and nowhere near a resolution. You’re afraid of making the wrong decision and end up unable to move forward, depleted, worried and drained.
A few years ago I was torn between moving to a new city or staying where I was living at the time. I made endless lists of pros and cons (which changed daily) and in the end threw them all out the window.
I consulted anybody and everybody, and listened to no-one.
I went backwards and forwards—when I was “here” I thought of being “there”, and over “there” the only thing on my mind was “here”.
So how do you move on from that stuck place? Here are a few out-of-the box practices to help you along:
1. Understand what drives your behavior.
Our core drivers (or values) affect us at a deep subconscious level. They affect every decision we make. We either use them as avoidance from a certain perceived outcome or for aspiration towards something we believe may happen. Ask yourself what lies behind each possible choice. Ask a few times and get totally honest. It may not be the answer you like, but anything less than the truth will only enslave you later.
2. Incorporate humor.
When I was stuck between the choice of two places, people placed bets on what my “decision” would be on any given day! Of course, I did not find it comical at all at the time. But how much easier would it have been if I had just lightened the load slightly by adding a touch of humor to the situation? Needless to say I laugh about it now, as currently I am not living in either place.
3. Get perspective.
This is probably the one thing you can do with the biggest benefit, but it’s still often the hardest. When we are involved directly in the situation, it is often challenging to see it from a different perspective because we are emotionally attached. I use the metaphor of literally being on the wings of a bird, soaring higher and higher until I can still “see” the situation but have removed my feelings from it. It may work for you as well, but it requires practice.
This also means you have to get creative about the situation and discover different alternatives. Sometimes two seemingly extremes are actually the same thing! (A qualified neuro-linguistic practitioner (NLP) can apply a practice called Part Integration to assist with this).
4. Know the difference between your truth and an impulse.
So when do you know if something is a true calling or just a whim? You don’t always know. Often you may just have to trust. Learn to recognize signs around you and be open to symbolism.
There will always be evidence of what the most appropriate course of action is. We often overlook these because they do not always appear in the way we expect them to.
Life has a strange but consistent way of always bringing us back to where we need to be. Be wary of impulses too—these are often just our egos runs amok based on a need for instant gratification.
5. Be okay with compromises.
Many of us have an all-or-nothing mentality, or we think that is how we need to operate. The fast-paced, action-orientated world we live in and the requirement to move on or stay behind requires quick, firm decision making. Nobody wants to be seen sitting on the fence.
But compromising is not sitting on the fence. We have been led to believe that it is a lowering of standards (some dictionaries even say it is!). However, that is only when the standards we so desperately try to uphold are true and authentic (see my point earlier regarding values). Often we cling to false reasons or motivations and refuse to budge. It does not take much to see when this is all built on lies. So what can you let go of? Is there perhaps a middle road or even a slightly off centered one you can take?
6. Be present.
This affects your decision-making, but it is also a reminder that nothing is “forever.” Are you missing out on a present experience because you are worrying about future outcomes? So what if in a few years/months/days it “has not worked out”? What if it has worked out? Of course mistakes may be costly, but face it: the sooner you make the (perceived) mistake, the sooner you can get up and rectify it. Being torn between two choices literally robs you from enjoying any of it.
What if your heart is involved? You or someone you know may have been in a situation where their feelings are literally torn between two people. Here, the same applies. Yes, of course it may be harder because of the nature of emotions, but these practices may still be valuable—much more valuable than running out of steam and not living.
Author: Celeste Du Toit
Editor: Alli Sarazen