The space in between

Sometimes in life, we find ourselves stuck in between choices. We go on with our days but somewhere behind the scenes, an issue is nagging us. We keep weighing the pros and cons of each option only to find ourselves stuck in the middle unable to make a decision. This can be a great source of anxiety and frustration.

A friend recently told me about such a dilemma. On the one hand, he loves his girlfriend and wants to marry her. On the other hand, he wants to move back to his home country to be close to his aging parents and start a life there. He has spent an awful lot of time debating the two options and feels stuck. We all face dilemmas like this with important decisions like where to work, who to marry or where to live. Some ways we respond are to continuously delay making the decision or let the fear of what other people think drive us or pick the decision that causes least conflict or effort.

I think what’s happening when we catch ourselves in such dilemmas is a conflict between our analytical minds and our intuition. Our gut always knows and tells us how it feels but the analyzing mind takes over. Simply trusting our gut seems foolish and we feel the need to rationalize our decisions. So we find ourselves bouncing back and forth examining every possible detail of each option. To overcome this, we have to learn to read our intuition and acknowledge which way it leans in relation to the decision. We have to then decide to either trust or quiet the intuition. One way to do this is to impose a timeframe on ourselves within which we must make the decision even if we have to force ourselves.

Once the decision is made, we must also commit ourselves. If we don’t, our mind will always wonder if the other option would have been better. But if we do commit, our mind will automatically start focusing on all the good aspects of the decision and why the option we chose was better. In short time, we would have moved on and forgotten that we had the dilemma in the first place.

Finally, it is also helpful to think of the bigger picture and realize that most decisions we make are neither good nor bad. They just represent a moment in time in our lives and what makes them good or bad are the stories we tell ourselves about the decision. Those stories are in our control and the same decision could be viewed as glass half empty or glass half full. So, more important than focusing all our energy on making the right decision is learning to appreciate whatever comes our way as a result of the decision and continuing to move on.

One comment

  1. I really like the conclusion. Instead of worrying about making the perfect choice, which is often simply impossible, we should just pick a route and be grateful for what it brings to us, nonwithstanding of what we are missing out by not picking the other option.

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