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Decision Making

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Alicia Divico

Licensed Mental Health Counselor specializing in addiction therapy

How to make great decisions
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Decision Making

I have noticed that a lot of my clients worry about making the wrong decision. We put so much pressure on ourselves to get things “right”, but my question is, “How do you know what is right for you?” My clients would be annoyed with that question as they often look to me for answers, but here’s the thing…no one on this earth can tell you with certainty what is right for you. Why? Because sometimes we need to make mistakes; sometimes we even need to suffer. I am by no means saying that we shouldn’t do our best. Of course we should!

Ideally we would:

  1. Conceptualize/understand the problem
  2. Gather information. Anxiety loves information!
  3. Analyze data/options or in layman’s terms, weigh the pros and cons

So read, do your research, talk to those that have been there and done that (seek counsel), check in with your body (heart and gut check), sit on it before you make a decision, but in the end, know that you did your best with what you had and you can learn from any outcome.

Examples:

  1. If you date someone with red flags. Let’s say you saw the red flags (we often do) in the beginning, and you went for it anyway. When that ends terribly, you will most likely be inspired to leave the next time you see those same red flags.
  2. If you buy the house you weren’t sure if you could afford and it goes into foreclosure, you probably won’t be able to buy another house for a while, and in the meantime you will likely be more aware of your budget, etc.
  3. If you go to college for business, and you realize you hate it, you either switch your educational focus or when you graduate you get a job that has nothing to do with your major.

Sometimes I think that we really can’t help ourselves but to go a certain direction, and then later we beat ourselves up saying it was a wrong choice. Was it? Even the darkest times in our lives can teach us something beautiful. I hate suffering, trust me! My career is built on try to help people minimize suffering; however, I have learned that suffering is necessary. In fact, we don’t escape life without some type of suffering. It is a necessary evil in this life, and without it, we wouldn’t experience our positive emotions in the same way.

We angst so much about right and wrong in our lives, but the truth is that things are not black and white. The other thing to realize is that there is no need to criticize ourselves or anyone else for “mistakes” made as we all have our own path to take and our own roles to fulfill in this life. No one else can feel our feelings, have our exact experiences, or consider things in our unique way, and as such, there is no comparing stories, because there are too many variables. We all have idiosyncrasies, only the individual can say what is best for him/her.

If you really contemplate these concepts it really shifts our ability to pass judgment…perhaps another blog for another time…

FAQ: Navigating Decision-Making and Learning from Mistakes

How can we determine what is the right decision for ourselves?

Determining what's right involves understanding the problem, gathering information, and weighing the pros and cons. Trusting your instincts and making informed decisions is key, but it's important to remember that no one can predict with certainty what's best for you.

Is making mistakes an essential part of decision-making?

Yes, making mistakes is often an inevitable and necessary part of the decision-making process. Mistakes can provide valuable lessons and inspire better choices in the future, contributing to personal growth and understanding.

Can suffering and difficult experiences lead to positive growth?

While suffering is challenging, it can lead to significant personal development. Difficult experiences often teach us valuable lessons, enhancing our understanding and appreciation of positive emotions and life's journey.

Should we criticize ourselves or others for making mistakes?

It's important to avoid harsh self-criticism or judging others for mistakes. Everyone has their unique path and experiences, making it impossible to fairly compare decisions and outcomes. Embracing our individuality and learning from each experience is crucial.

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