Who has never been unsure when it comes to making a decision? Choosing a profession, the right person to marry, having children early or only after advancing in your career, changing jobs or not, starting a new business or taking the dream holiday. It is normal to feel insecure before hitting the hammer for something that can change the course of your life. Besides, it is not easy to reach the conclusion that one option is the best between two or many. Mainly because there is the likelihood of regretting it.
But life is not only made of important decisions. Many are routine, such as what we will wear, what we will cook for dinner, read a book or watch TV, go out or stay at home on the weekend. While most of us take these small, everyday choices in stride, some people feel torn between them. Some reasons why this happens include: insecurities, over-perfectionism and the habit of procrastinating. Our daily decisions are made in a personal way. People attach more positive or negative connotations to certain situations and this makes the decision-making process easier or more difficult.
Put an end to your doubts
There isn’t always a right and a wrong answer when it comes to making a decision. Many times there are only possibilities that can lead us to different paths. Even so, making a mistake is the biggest fear of many people and for this reason they are reluctant to take risks. But they shouldn’t because that is one of the best ways to overcome indecisiveness. Taking a risk can be a way to face the fear of choice. It is not easy because it means win or lose, get it right or get it wrong. But it is important to learn how to deal with mistakes.
At such times it is worth listening to the opinion of experts and asking for advice from people who are close to you, while knowing that the final decision will ultimately be yours. It also helps to try to remember how and when this struggle began, identify fears and try to see yourself outside the situation. As well as evaluating the pros and cons of your choice, imagining the possible consequences and asking yourself if you are willing to face them – if possible writing them down – doing research and even resorting to faith.
This evaluation helps us to decide in a more conscious way. Generally, the decisions that bring us closer to where we feel happier are the right ones. A decision is not always rational, and it doesn’t always need to have a 100% clear explanation. It is enough to be authentic and to assume the risk that it may or may not be a good one. It may even work out wrong, but it is a way of returning to some peace.
When does deciding becomes difficult?
But at what point in life do we develop a positive or negative outlook on decisions? You have to go back in time to find the answer. Decision-making is a learning process that begins in childhood with parents letting their children decide whether to decide or not.
In other words, children who are encouraged by their parents to choose clothes, toys and friends will be more decisive adults. On the other hand, those who suffer punishments when they choose something have greater chances of carrying fear and insecurity for the rest of their lives. But not everything should be blamed on childhood. Bad decisions we make throughout our lives also contribute to this feeling of being incapable. If the person believes that they always make bad choices, the tendency is that they will no longer want to take that responsibility.
Our decisions are determined by our previous experiences in similar situations and by the effectiveness of discriminative stimuli and other contextual cues present in the decision environment. When these experiences are negative, they reinforce the fear of making a mistake, of being judged and mocked, and bring with them a high level of anxiety.
Does waiting make us more certain?
Thinking long and hard about the matter can be a way to mature the decision and not act hastily. This does not mean that quick decisions are better. The person may be impulsive and not have a rational filter that we call inhibitory control. Those who invoke a lot of inhibitory control spend more time imagining a solution before the final verdict. This mechanism is useful for avoiding words that hurt other people or making impulse purchases, for example.
However, letting too much time pass can signal an inability to decide. Postponing makes it difficult because it increases our insecurity, anxiety and suffering. Taking too long to make a decision is also bad because it can cause us to miss opportunities. That’s what happens when we think too much about whether we should buy a house, another client comes along and buys it.
Indecision is bad for you
Getting our thoughts around a choice locks us into it. Often the person remains closed. He doesn’t expose himself because of a series of fantasies and assessments he makes of his own inability. As the mind gets too busy with that issue, performance in other activities can be compromised. Recurrent negative thoughts are usually associated with low serotonin levels, as happens in people with depression. That is why it is sometimes necessary to take medication.
This standstill doesn’t just cause anxiety. There is an increase in stress, which releases hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline in high amounts. When this happens, the body can become ill. Headaches, gastritis and insomnia are very common and the immune system can also become weakened and prone to infections.