In last month’s blog (January 2018), you read about choices and looked at various choices when managing feelings or when triggered by an event. In order to activate a choice, you have to make a decision. But perhaps this is a hard step for you. Let’s take a look at why making a decision might be difficult. All of the following are possibilities:
- Lack of knowledge
- Lack of experience or skill
- Lack of confidence
- Too little information (not enough facts)
- Too much information (mind gets overwhelmed)
- False information (confusing); mind cluttered with other things (unable to focus)
- Expectations set too low
- Expectations set too high
- Remembering previous decisions (not so good, poor results)
- Fear of making a mistake
- Fear of being laughed at, ridiculed
- Fear of rejection
- Fear of what others will think, say, respond
- Fear of possible consequences of decision
- Fear of unknown
- Fear of commitment to a decision
- Fear of responsibility
- Conflict of interest
- Conflict of priorities
- Conflict between others/self
- Conflict with religious or moral views
- Health: tired, hungry, physically ill, mentally ill
Decisions that are made are not necessarily right or wrong … just a path chosen in your walk of life.
There are different ways that people make decisions at different times. Here are a few:
- Get other peoples’ opinions
- Look at past decisions
- Brainstorming (write down everything you can think of about the situation)
- List the pros and cons of various choices
- Weigh the pros and cons by putting a value on them (1= least value; 5 = most value)
- Consider the circumstances
- Look at resources needed: time, money, etc
- Look at your needs and goals: past, present, future.
- Look at broad picture: how will this affect self and others.
- What are the short and long term benefits/drawbacks.
- Sleep on it (subconscious influence)
- Prayer or meditation.
- Trial basis (try something for a designated period of time).
- Process of elimination … what is possible?
- Journal: write about it, often the answer will surface.
- Prioritize: (“now” things; “later” things)
- Flip a coin; draw a straw
- Procrastinate: it may resolve itself or a decision might be made by others
- Ask two questions: What is the best that could happen? What is the worst that can happen?
To make a decision with confidence, you need to feel powerful and strong, to believe you count, that you have value. To do that you need to develop personal responsibility. Response-ability is the ability to respond.
- When you recognize an old programme of unhealthy and dishonouring rules or messages, take response-ability to change this into your new healthy and trustworthy rules and messages which validate and empower you.
- When you recognize an old programme of irrational, damaging beliefs, take response-ability to change this into your new rational, healing beliefs which validate and empower you.
- When you recognize an old programme of illogical, self-defeating thoughts, take response-ability to change these into your new logical, self-enhancing thinking which validate and empower you.
- When you recognize an old programme of painful, intolerable feelings, take response-ability to change this into your new helpful, manageable responses which validate and empower you.
- When you recognize an old programme of few and limited choices, take response-ability to change this into your new many, varied choices which validate and empower you.
- When you recognize an old programme of poor and unsafe decisions, take response-ability to change this into your new wise and safe decisions which validate and empower you. Power is energy directed and channelled toward either destructive or constructive ends. You can choose and choose responsibly. Decisions take place in your head; they happen with your hands and feet. Every time you take an action, you build a new habit. Looking after yourself means you will make sure your needs get met and will treat yourself kindly.
Decisions about looking after myself
- I will care for my body
- Proper nutrition
- Proper rest and sleep
- Proper exercise
- Avoid or limit smoking, alcohol, caffeine
- I will take some ME time everyday
- Get my hair/nails done
- Listen to some favourite music
- Go for a walk
- I will be gentle and patient with myself
- Stop self-criticism
- Stop needing to be perfect
- Get rid of my “should”
- I will develop my emotional muscles
- Use outlets for handling stress
- See positives in my negatives (mistakes, characteristics, situations)
- I will connect with my inner child
- Have fun, laugh
- Do something I enjoyed as a child: skip rope, fly a kite, watch clouds.
- Read a classic child’s book
- I will build a support system
- Be with people who encourage and uplift me
- Have a “goodie” box to lift my spirits
- Pray, meditate
- Ask for help when I need it
- I will make social connections
- Expand my interests: new skill, craft, hobby
- Find ways to be helpful
- Get involved in a community project, charity
- Accept and give compliments
- I will learn to love myself
- Serenity prayer
- Positive affirmations/esteem builders
- Mirror work
- Motivation tapes
As a child, you were not responsible for making poor and unsafe decisions. You do have a choice as an adult about what decisions you continue to make. You have the right to change them to the wise and safe decisions that validate and empower you.
Choose today to start making changes in your decisions. Change will occur as you continue to:
- Recognize your poor and unsafe decisions.
- Replace them with wise and safe ones.
- Start to act on your new decisions.
poor, unsafe DECISIONS wise, safe
few, limited CHOICES many, varied
painful, intolerable FEELINGS helpful, manageable
illogical, self-defeating THOUGHTS logical, self- enhancing
irrational, damaging BELIEFS rational, healing
unhealthy, dishonouring RULES AND MESSAGES healthy, trustworthy given to me as a CHILD
created by me as an ADULT
Judith S. Carscadden