You’ve probably done it a million times. I know that I’ve done it a billion. I’ve made a decision with the information available to me. And then two days (or two hours) later I’m wanting to un-decide, to re-decide, to decide differently. With a little bit of thinking (read: constant, incessant ruminating), and a little bit of analyzing (read: obsessively deconstructing every element), I come up with an entirely new opinion or decision on the matter.
What will happen?
What will I do?
What will they do?
Maybe this decision will be better.
If this…then maybe that…then maybe this, then…
I should turn right, no left, no maybe right…
It’s one thing to get totally dressed, look in the mirror on your way out the door, and rush back into your closet to put on a completely different outfit. It’s another to do that with the decisions of your life – a decision you made on a project, a conversation with your parents, who you’re dating, where you’re moving, the place you’re living, the gym you joined.
If you second-guess your every move, you’ll lose your ability to trust any move at all. And what’s at the heart of all your second-guessing is that you’re not, in fact, trusting yourself. Or trusting the flow of life. Or trusting that you indeed have what it takes to handle whatever the fuck is coming your way.
This year I’ve taken on a couple of huge opportunities that I did not see coming. I wasn’t looking for them. And because of that, I could have second-guessed the shit out of moving forward with them. Honestly, I think some of the people in my world did some of that second-guessing on my behalf. But I didn’t – and I’m really proud of that – because they felt aligned, they felt like flow, they felt the right kind of scary (like growth and stretch normally feel). I had a few moments before committing large chunks of my time and energy, where I reflected on a past me that would have second-guessed the crap out of these big moves, because they weren’t the predictable next play. But the Universe brought them to me, and for everything that’s felt so wrong, I knew they felt so right. And because when the second-guessing thoughts reared, I reminded myself of these…which have helped me recover from this unhelpful behavior, and can hopefully help you:
Every time I look back on terrible decisions I’ve made, you know what? I’d almost always say that I’d make them again. Because if I hadn’t, it wouldn’t have led me to the next action, which led me to make X choice…meeting Y person…doing Z…which all got me here. The deal is, you WILL bounce back. You will create a course of action that will be the right one, which could only be informed by taking the “wrong” one to begin with.
And on that note – Trust your future self. Trust your present self. Trust that you will find a way to be OK if you fail. Trust that you have a support system that will lift you when the time comes and you’re regretting your decision. Trust that you have the grit to persist through some shitty stuff and survive. So much of second-guessing comes from not trusting that future you will be just fine. Better than fine. Give her a little more credit, yourself more credit, that you’ll indeed deal. So quit undermining yourself by second-guessing.
Most choices can be undone
Not everything is a one-way door like parenthood. Even buzzing your hair off…it’ll eventually, grow back! But we tend to default to feeling like all of our decisions are permanent. They’re not. They’re not even close to permanent. Will it be ideal? Probably not. Will it be undone immediately? Nope. But with time, a bit of grace, and potentially letting some people down…a decision can be undone later down the road. Remembering that this life of yours isn’t static is a great way to keep from wondering if it’s the 100% perfect decision. It’s probably not. But let it be good enough, for now.
There are many routes to the same place
We forget that as we’re trying to get to point B – our goal, our end game, our mission – there’s a trove of creative ways with which to do that. Sure, we like to believe “we know the one way” but we really don’t. And if you allow “the how” to show up in ways you didn’t expect, you’ll see that even if you pass that one turn you thought you had to take in order to get there…or if you turned down a road you thought was the right one and it ended up being the wrong one…it doesn’t mean you need to turn back. You can keep going, get creative, and find roads you never knew existed to get you to that intended destination. Trust those paths will show up for you, even if right now you don’t believe that they exist because you can’t see them. You will.
Second-guessing will gnaw at that sweet spirit of yours. Don’t let it. By trusting yourself, by trusting the wild turns, by trusting the possibility in front of you that you can’t yet see. Decide, and live that decision…instead of second-guessing it all the time.