Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Do you hesitate to make decisions? It’s a common problem. Concern about the results of making a choice can drive even the best of us hesitate to commit to something. Yet in order to reach the SUCCESS you’d like, it’s important to learn to trust yourself to make choices.

Everyone has some insecurity, and it can rear it’s head when decisions need to be made.

Are you scared of making poor choices? You may worry about disappointing or inconveniencing someone. So you hesitate and hesitate, as it pounds your confidence to know you just can’t be definitive about making a choice. Waffling puts you on shaky ground. Stammering loses respect, from yourself too.

It can get frustrating when you know you should make a decision but you don’t trust yourself to do it, though you know you should be able to.

Sometimes old habits block our ability to make a decision. Were you reprimanded for mistakes growing up? Or criticized for making poor choices by a romantic partner? That can make you gun shy about pulling the decision making trigger. We get conditioned to expect certain responses. If you got used to expecting to be put down for your choices, you may subconsciously still expect to get nailed for them, even if the circumstances are very different.

It’s important to remind yourself how much you’ve grown and improved. When I was a DoorMat I’d wince inside when I was forced to make a decision. I waited to be chastised for not choosing correctly. It didn’t happen often but when it did, it was painful.

Wanting to please can make even one “wrong” decision feel catastrophic.

Do you play mental ping-pong between what others may want you to choose and what you really want? That was often my case. “Where do you want to go for dinner?” A simple question that made me think about what I’d like to eat, then what would the other person like to eat, then what would the other person like me to choose, then I’d teeter over the answer and ask the other person to choose. Whether it’s a personal decision or one for business, if you’re concerned with what the other person would want you to choose, it’s hard to make a real decision.

Get advice from someone you respect. Make the choice you’d like first and then see what someone you trust thinks. Trusting your choices takes practice. You’ll eventually feel more comfortable. Inability to make decisions adds to feeling powerless. Identify what makes decisions tough to face and how to become more decisive:

Identify what scares you about choosing. Often you’ll see that whatever holds you back can be dealt with to get past it. If you’re just concerned about pleasing others, step back and ask yourself what you think first. What’s the worst that can happen from making my choice?

Don’t dwell on worst-case scenarios. They’re usually much worse than real outcomes. If you think of something awful, consider how likely it really is for it to happen.

Ask, “Am I concerned about pleasing someone?” Practice making decisions that at least take you into serious account, one choice at a time. Consciousness helps!

Picture both sides. List pros and cons of each choice. Then use logic to choose. Always ask yourself first, “What do I REALLY want?”

Don’t blow the decision out of proportion or make any too important. Very little is do or die. I see people get so worked up over having to make a decision when the possible outcomes don’t merit all the anxiety. Keep it in perspective.

Tap your intuition. Your first thoughts are often right. Practice thinking about the first choice that comes to you instead of over-analyzing what to do.

Do affirmations to boost confidence. “I trust myself to make a good choice.” It can help settle you down.

Distinguish between serious and frivolous. Decisions that impact work, health, and family need more thought than where to eat. Make the simpler ones faster.

Practice making small decisions. As you see the world doesn’t implode, tackle more. Each small one you choose makes it a tiny bit easier to make another.

Take a deep breath and just say it. Often the decision just lays on your tongue but doesn’t quite come out. Count to three and blurt it out when you begin to second guess yourself. If it’s not the best choice, you’ll have learned why.

Praise yourself for making a choice. “I did it and can do it again!” Feel pride for conquering blocks.

While making a tough decision, nod your head in agreement to reassure yourself. It helps fight doubt.

You won’t always make perfect choices, and it’s okay. Do your best. Hesitating increases pressure, which increases stress. If it’s not the best choice, it’s okay! Accept you can’t know everything. You can’t predict responses or glitches that can manifest. Evaluate situations and decide based on known facts. That’s SUCCESS—the best you can do!

Thanks to these blog carnivals for including this article.
10 Posts about Realizing Your Potential Aug 2008
Carnival of Self-Mastery
Carnival of Improving Life

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