When you have a choice to make and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice. – William James
I struggled to find myself during my youth; to be brutally honest, I’m still searching. My life is a work in progress. As long as I am moving forward, I feel I am making progress.
Have you ever given in to what others think about you, your life and your choices? Did you regret it afterwards because it wasn’t the right thing to do?
I have – too many times to count. I cannot fathom why I would think someone else knows what is best for me in any given situation. Why didn’t I trust my own judgment?
I often wonder if it’s because I could hold someone else accountable if things didn’t turn out well. If I screwed up and made the wrong choice, I’d have no one to blame but myself. The burden of making a choice was off of me if I followed the advice of others.
People meant well by giving me advice, but…
People meant well by giving me advice, but I was wrong to listen so intently to all of it. Not that I don’t appreciate people sharing their thoughts and opinions, but because I took everything to heart and trusted others’ decisions more than my own.
I hadn’t learned the lessons of becoming independent and choosing for myself. I did not feel competent to make the best choice for myself. Why? I sought the approval of others because I lacked self-esteem, didn’t believe in my own abilities, and could not summon the courage to be more assertive.
I didn’t want to be ridiculed for making a bad choice. No one wants to hear, “I told you so.” However, until some walks in my shoes they do not know what is best for me and they should not tell me how to handle my life.
What changed for me? TIME. Time to develop self-esteem, time to learn independence, time to learn from my own mistakes and bad choices, time to learn who I am and what I want.
Trying to rush change never works. You miss the opportunity to grow and learn along the journey.
Now, if I make a mistake, it’s mine to make and there is no shame in making a wrong choice. Good or bad, I will take ownership. I’d rather make the wrong choice than to be so paralyzed with apprehension that I never decide.
I’ve been down that road too – too afraid to make a decision so I’d let things happen as they may. When things turned out to be different than what I hoped for, I had no one to blame but myself.
As a result, when I am struggling with a choice, I will:
- seek guidance from those that I trust and have my best interests at heart.
- take all advice with a grain of salt, as I am the only one who can appropriately choose the best option for myself, and whatever the outcome I am the one who has to live with the consequences.
- own every choice I make, even the wrong ones. I do not want to fear making a decision because fear keeps you stuck, unable to make any choice.
- do what feels right and trust my instincts more.
Valuing your opinions and your choices is empowering. It means you are taking ownership of your life and molding it into something you desire. I choose not to be dependent on what others think I should do or what they tell me I should do. I will listen to the input, because I always want to consider all options, but I will never again value someone else’s opinion over my own.