Making Tough Decisions
So life isn't going quite the way you wanted. You have some tough decisions to make, but you keep trying to put them off. You may have been in denial for a while, trying to keep distracted with your work, trying not to think about it, trying to be the hero and just keep trudging on. Maybe you've been holding back, trying to wait it out to see if something will change or somehow the problem will just go away. How's that working for you?
Are you putting off ending a relationship that isn't working? Have you been avoiding finding other work because the job you have now isn't meeting your needs? Is there a family member that you need to deal with but can't seem to muster the energy it will take to face the confrontation head on? Maybe you have a friend who's been draining you for years and you've gotten to the point where you just can't bear their presence in your life any longer. God only knows it would be good to get it dealt with once and for all, but it just seems easier to keep to the status quo. Really though?
Look, we all have crap we like to avoid. I get it. It's become our way of life these days. We say stuff like, "I just can't bring myself to tell her it's over...I don't want to hurt her...", or "I can't tell my mother-in-law she has to move out! My wife would never forgive me!" or "I'm afraid to have that conversation with my boss because it's not going to change anything...this is the way it's always been!" There are an unlimited amount of excuses to draw from when it comes to what's keeping us from moving forward. At the end of the day though, they all amount to the same thing - Bullshit.
Making tough decisions can be one of the hardest things we ever have to face in life. Let's face it, we'd rather do ANYTHING than deal with conflict or risk the uncertainty of dealing with the consequences of our choices. Heaven forbid we make a mistake! The toughest part of making decisions is the fact that we can't control the outcome, and that scares the crap out of you!
Then there's the issue of how it's going to make you look. Someone, after all, might think you're mean, that you're callous or uncaring or cold. Maybe you're afraid to piss someone off because they might not like you any more. Maybe you're afraid of failure or defeat or terrified of the thought of being alone. Perhaps you have made yourself financially dependent on someone and now you've decided that they're a complete a**hole, but you can't leave because you have no idea how you're going to support yourself in the future. And so, you carry on, just like nothing is happening. Except something is happening. And that something is beginning to take its toll.
Here's the think and thin of it. You can't keep doing this forever. Trust me, you won't last that long. Truth is, none of us will. It is a false perception to think that any kind of problem is just going to resolve itself and let you off the hook. Life doesn't work that way and the reason why is that it's not supposed to.
But here's the good news. People are actually really resilient. None of us give ourselves enough credit for it, because it's easier to pretend we are victims of our circumstances, and that our power lies somewhere "out there", constrained by somebody or something or some situation that us poor, unfortunate and helpless people have absolutely no ability to do anything about whatsoever. Well I call "Bullshit!"
The only thing we are victims of when it comes to making the decision to stand in our power, is our own self limiting beliefs, or in other words, our stories. The stories about not being strong enough, capable enough, knowledgeable enough, experienced enough, and at the bottom of it all, just plain not enough. We tell ourselves we have to please people, protect people, we have to walk on eggshells around people...why?? Because people are so fragile that they can't handle the truth?
The funniest and most ironic part of it all, is that all the decisions we work so hard to avoid making are always easier than the crap we put up with while we're spending so much time trying not to make a decision. Think about it. Is it really easier to watch your entire relationship go down the tubes because you can't bring yourself to tell your partner that their parent needs to move out? Is it really easier to struggle under financial debt because you can't bear the thought of telling your wife she has a shopping problem? Is it really easier to stay stuck in a job that is destroying your physical and mental health because you're afraid there won't be another one to go to if you quit? I doubt it.
The biggest problem with putting off decisions that you know you need to make, is that the longer you allow the problem to persist, the bigger and the uglier it usually gets. This is not something you don't already know. You've just conditioned yourself to associate more pain with making the decision than you do with making a change. But here's the question you have to ask yourself - what's the cost of keeping things as they are? And what is it going to cost you and others in the future?
If you feel like you need the Certainty that comes from the familiar, make a decision to find another way to get it. Certainty is a myth. The only guarantees in life are death and taxes. Develop the ability to get Certainty from the fact that you are determined to do what you know is right - regardless of the consequences.
If you feel that you need the Variety that comes with staying in a dysfunctional relationship, find a new and healthier way of getting that need met. Take up skydiving, go on an adventure, join a dating site or volunteer with a soup kitchen or animal shelter. Focus on the Variety you'll get from taking the risk to spend some time alone to re-evaluate what kind of partner you would be better suited to.
If you're worried that you won't get to experience the Love & Connection you crave, make a decision to start getting to experience more of it by giving it instead of relying on others to give it to you. Give your time, your energy, your money or your wisdom to someone or something that will allow you to make a contribution that is beyond yourself and your own desires. People are naturally drawn to those who are generous with their resources, and chances are you will get back ten times what you put out in terms of love and gratitude.
And if you are concerned about losing your Significance because you might not be able to control how others think about you (you never can anyway), make a decision to focus on the things that you can control and that will have a positive outcome for everyone involved. You will gain much more Significance from knowing that you have stood in your power and taken ownership of your life and your results. That kind of Significance is something that lasts by the way, and no one can ever take it from you because you have found it within yourself.
Take it from someone who has walked a mile. or two. or three. Putting off making tough decisions does not ever, in any way, alleviate stress or resolve a problem. All it does is delay the inevitable - and history has proven time and time again that only worsens as time progresses. People may not like what you have to say, and they may not be happy or agree with the choices and decisions that you make, but you are the one who has to put up with you for the rest of your life. Wouldn't it be easier to just get it done?
If you need help finding the strength to stand in your power or would like to gain new insight about your situation and/or options, contact me to find out how I can help! I offer a complimentary, one-on-one, 2 hour Coaching Consultation Session which can give you a tonne of valuable feedback and introduce you to the tools and strategies of Strategic Intervention.
About the author
Tamara Dodgson is a Certified Strategic Intervention Coach and Life Strategist, trained by Robbins Madanes. She has accumulated over 500 hours of Professional Coaching and has spent the better part of a half century studying, researching and learning about Personal Growth and Development, Self-Help, Spirituality, Leadership, Success, Achievement and Philosophy. She is a writer, philosopher, life coach, mother, fitness enthusiast, nature lover and book fanatic. She is also the proud author of "Designing Your Life - A Guide to Help You Consciously Create Your Future" and has recently released a new educational program called "2017 - Your Year of Transformation." You can connect with her on Facebook at Forward Coaching & Consulting Services, on her website at www.tamaradodgson.com, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.