When you can’t make decisions for yourself, it can feel like there’s no hope. But in truth, there are a few reasons why this happens, and they’re all solvable!
If you’re having trouble making decisions for yourself, it’s not because your brain is broken or your life is falling apart. It’s because something in your environment is preventing you from thinking clearly about the situation.
Maybe You’re Afraid of Making a Mistake
When you’re faced with a tough choice and having trouble making decisions for yourself, it may be because you’re afraid of the consequences.
Whether You Make a Big or Small Decision, It Will Have an Outcome in Some Form – Good or Bad
If you don’t like the outcome and it’s not what you wanted, you may feel you made a poor decision. And if you make the right decision but lose it again (e.g., because you changed your mind), you may still feel that you could have made a better decision!
Mistakes Are Just Part of Life
They happen to everyone – even those who’re good at making decisions for themselves. So if you’re struggling with this, don’t beat yourself up – just take a deep breath and remember that you’ll get through this together, no matter what! And remember, making decisions for yourself doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind later if something doesn’t work out the way you thought it would.
If you need extra help making decisions, you can ask for advice from someone who makes good decisions for themselves-someone who’s a lot of experience doing this (for example, someone in your family, a friend, or a mentor).
Make sure, however, that the person you choose helps you make a good decision rather than scaring you or affecting your mental health. Some people are more prone to anxiety and decision fatigue because they simply don’t have the mental capacity to make an important decision for themselves.
When We Think About the Consequences of Our Decisions, We Can Get Scared
One of the most common reasons people can’t make decisions for themselves is the fear of making mistakes.
And that’s understandable! Making mistakes is scary and can feel like a big deal, especially concerning something you care about.
In Some Situations, It Can Even Lead to Anxiety and Mental Illness Due to a Lack of Sleep and Self-Care
For example, I was once faced with the choice of staying in a toxic job that was an excellent opportunity for my career or quitting because staying would have a long-term impact on my mental health. Not because I’d have mental health issues but because I had a boss who forbade me from working from home until I found medical treatment for my migraines.
Working with migraines was challenging because of the light and noise, while at home, it was doable. This caused a lot of anxiety every time I went to the office, and eventually, it was the right decision to leave, even though many people told me it was a bad decision to leave. Sometimes health care decisions are more important than career, and I never regretted it. It was the right thing to do.
You’re Worried That You’re Taking Too Long to Make a Decision
It’s okay if you’re afraid of making decisions and sticking with them. We all have to make decisions sometimes, and we’re not always the best at it. We may go for one choice and then change our mind after we’ve already started working on it. Or we may make a difficult decision and then realize we don’t like it anymore or that we could have made a better decision.
It can be hard to stick with a final decision when you’re no longer sure about it, especially if other people are involved – for example, your friends or family members who may think it’s not a good choice and give you a sense of indecisiveness again.
But there are ways to prevent that from happening! If you know how to make the right decision (the kind that will help you reach your goal), then there’s no reason why you can’t stick with it throughout the process. The key is figuring out what choices work best for you.
You Want to Avoid Responsibility
It’s normal to fear responsibilities. We all do it sometimes – it’s easy to tell yourself that life is easier when someone else is in charge. However, the problem with that is that responsibility makes your life easier.
When you’re in charge of a decision, it gives you a sense of control over your life and future. You have the power to do the right thing, and it can feel good to know that you have the power to change things for the better.
But if you fear responsibilities, you don’t have that power – you just let life happen to you instead of shaping it yourself. And, how much control do you really have if life happens without your input (or with minimal input)?
Being responsible doesn’t mean being perfect or never making mistakes; it means taking responsibility for your choices and not blaming them on others. What would your life be like if you started taking responsibility for everything?
You Think You’ll Find Out Later
We’ve all been there. You’re faced with a problem, and you know that if you make the wrong decision now, you’ll have a hard time solving it. So you put off making the decision, hoping you’ll find a solution to your problem soon.
But putting off a decision doesn’t eliminate the problem – it just makes it bigger and creates internal conflict. If you wait too long (and we’re talking months or years here), when you finally decide to deal with the problem, you’ll have more significant later decisions as the problem grows.
So rather than putting off solving your problems, tackle them head-on. Don’t wait too long to solve problems as they arise, so they don’t become big problems later.
You Don’t Trust Yourself
There are many situations where you just don’t trust yourself. You may be sitting there, staring at a problem, thinking, “I know what I should do… But what if I’m wrong? What if it’s the wrong decision? How am I supposed to know?”
And then you think about how many times you’ve made a bad decision in the past – and how many times someone else has made a poor decision that turned out well. And then you think about how much better off we’d all be if everyone just waited for someone else to make a decision first. It would be so much easier! Then we could just follow behind them, like sheep following their shepherd.
But then again… maybe not. Because someday one of these shepherds will get lost or eaten by the wolves – and then where will we be?
The truth is no matter who makes a decision or how confident they seem in doing so, no one knows precisely how things will turn out. That’s why we need each other – so we can take risks together and try new things that may not always work but may also take us places we never thought possible.
Other People Can Be the Source of Indecision
There are two types of people in this world: those who like to give advice and those who like to take it. If you belong to the latter group, you’ve probably already figured out that other people are one of our most significant sources of indecision.
It’s not just that others want to tell us what to do, but also that we have a hard time making decisions when we know others have opinions about them.
Whether it’s a friend or family member, a colleague, or just someone on the street who’s nothing better to do than give you advice, there’s no shortage of people who can give you advice.
But do you want their advice? Or do you just want them to leave you alone so you can make up your mind?
If the latter, here are some ways to tell other people to keep their opinions to themselves politely:
- Be firm but polite: “Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic, but I’ll let you know how it goes once I’ve formed an opinion.”
- Be brief and direct: “Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this issue, but I’ll let you know how it goes once I’ve made up my mind.”
- Just say no: “No thanks, I don’t need more input right now.
Maybe You’re Waiting for Someone Else to Make the Decision for You
When you’re faced with a big decision, like whether or not to take a new job, it’s often hard to know when to stop waiting for someone else to make the decision for you.
Maybe you’re waiting for your boss who’s busy with other tasks, or you’re waiting for a friend who’s out of town. Or maybe you’re waiting for a sign from the universe that you should do that.
Whatever it’s, your indecision won’t go away. It’s right in front of you, becoming more real every day. And if it goes on too long, it can affect your ability to make decisions in other areas of your life – things as simple as deciding where to eat lunch!
So don’t wait too long if you don’t have to! You don’t always need the permission or approval of others, especially if they’re never going to help you.
Sometimes We Need to Make Decisions for Ourselves
We often find ourselves in situations where we’ve to make decisions that aren’t easy for us. Maybe we’re torn between two options, or we know what we want but not if it’s the right thing to do. Or maybe you feel like you don’t have any option: someone has made the decision for you, and now it’s up to you to live with the consequences.
Whatever your situation is today, I want to encourage you to ask yourself what you want, not what you should do.
You know yourself better than anyone else. You don’t have to worry about what others think or say about your decision – the only person who has to live with it’s you.