Many women struggle often with making decisions. I don’t know about you, but for me, sometimes I can have a steady diatribe running through my head saying, “Are you sure? What will others think/feel/do? Make sure no one’s hurt. Don’t be selfish. Make sure you make the best choice…” It can be daunting at best when I get caught up in the diatribe. I know I’m not alone with this struggle and I also know how important it is to get this straightjacket off if I have any hope of making a good decision.
Below are a few tips to help you when that nasty little tape starts to play in your head about an important decision. When trying to decide remember to T.U.N.E.I.N.:
- Tune into your instincts: Take time to slow things down and simply tune in. What are your instincts saying? Do you have a gut reaction, a certain sense or a nagging feeling about this decision one way or the other? Tune in and notice it; don’t dismiss it.
Unhook from others’ reactions: When trying to make a decision, take the possible reactions of others out of the equation and get clarity about what you want. Women are raised to please, be nice and to nurture others. This pressure to please is one of the biggest obstacles to good decision-making. When making a decision, it’s imperative that we not make a decision based on how we think others will react or respond to our decision. There’s a difference between not being hurtful versus not wanting to upset anyone. Don’t be hurtful, mean-spirited or thoughtless in your decision…and know that hard decisions may very well be upsetting to others. Allow others to have their reactions and know that those reactions are theirs to work through, not yours to manage.
No knee-jerk moves: Be sure your decision is coming from a healthy place rather than a reactive one. Know what your knee-jerk move tends to be in general so you can be aware when it’s showing up. If you tend to rage, shut down, attack, silence, give up, get passive-aggressive, etc., then recognize when these patterns are at play and don’t try to fool yourself into thinking they’re healthy decisions and not your reactive attempt at self protection.
Examine your motivations: Is this decision coming from a desire to seek revenge, teach someone a lesson or as a way of lashing out at a person for hurting you? If so, then rethink your decision. While it may feel good in the short term to get back at someone who has hurt you in some way, it seldom pays off in the long run. Take the high road always—while also having your back. Stay "clean" on your end and you will like yourself so much more down the road.
Ignore fear, “shoulds” and guilt: Be sure this decision is in your long-term best interest and not made out of fear, guilt or "shoulds." Allowing any of these three pressures to determine your decision will guarantee that you’ll make the wrong decision. Acknowledge the fear, guilt and “shoulds” and then push them aside while you decide what you know in your heart is the best choice for you. Remember that because you are the one who will have to live your life, you get to make the decisions regarding your life.
Name it: Once you’ve made the decision, say it out loud and imagine following through with it. Walk yourself through the conversation, the follow through of the decision and the end result. Do you feel relief, peace and calm, or angst, questioning and doubt? Although any difficult decision involves some angst, the right decision is often accompanied by a sense of peace, calm and even relief. If you have a gnawing feeling or doubt and questioning then it may be a good time to pause, pull back and slowly examine what that feeling is about.
Making hard decisions is not easy. Taking the time to think through your options, your motivations and your goal, however, will help in the decision making process. Always take the high road, have your back and make the decision that is in your long-term best interest.
Challenge: The next difficult decision you have to make, remember to TUNEIN. Good luck!