Conundrum – How do you make decisions?

How do you make decisions?

Are you a rational? Do you line up pros and cons, give each a relative weight, then add and subtract until you find the answer that ‘makes sense’?

Are you an intuitive? Do you listen to what your gut is telling you, reading signals like excitement, fear, anxiety, butterflies, desire, and then choose the answer that fits best with how you feel?

Do you combine both methods, checking in with your emotions and then running through your intellectual options? Perhaps on any given occasion one part of you speaks more loudly than the other, and that also forms part of your process.

The thing is, I don’t think I trust myself to make good decisions. When I look back over the major decisions that I have made in my life so far, it’s pretty clear to me that, in fact, it wasn’t me who made most of them anyways. I can point to situation after situation where I allowed my decisions to be made for me, and a whole lot of them turned out pretty badly.

Somehow, then, I have taken this to mean that I can’t trust myself to make good decisions, even though most of these terrible ones were based on only one decision: my decision to allow someone else to make the decision for me, and then not to make a change when I realized it was the wrong decision.

My family is a family of rationals. Everything is rationalized, intellectualized, everything is pro and con. There seems to be little room for what your emotion says because, in their eyes, emotion must be subdued by the rational. I have slowly over recent years started to figure out that that equation just doesn’t work for me. Yet those of you who know me well know just how easily and frequently I have deferred my own right to choose to my mother’s ‘rational opinion’.

So how to change, when I have consistently allowed the voices of others to drown out my own? How to change, when my first instinct is to ask everyone else what they think, and find myself swayed utterly and completely by their opinions?

Maybe I just need to get in there and do it. Maybe the only way to get better at decision making is to start letting myself make decisions, myself. To let go of the paralyzing fear of making the wrong decision in favour of realizing that this is all part of the learning process: sure, it might be the wrong decision, but at least it was my decision.

This, then, is part of a bigger issue that I have been starting to tackle, and one that I am discovering is pervasive throughout every aspect of my life: learning to trust in myself. Problem is, I’ve so often let others drown-out my own voice that today I’m not sure what she’s trying to say to me…

What about you?


1 Comment

Filed under Conundrums

One response to “Conundrum – How do you make decisions?

  1. It’s irrational to discount emotions, wouldn’t you agree? Maybe instead of seeking purely rational decisions, one must find a rational decision that accounts for emotions.

    It’s splitting them into an either/or state that causes problems, only deciding rationally or only deciding emotionally. Reason and emotion can both be tools for living, and work best when they work in concert, not opposition.

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