The fear of making the wrong decision is not all that uncommon. People feel it at different levels but what most of us don’t realize is that a deep fear of getting it wrong is linked to bigger problems. We live in a time and age when there are hundreds and thousands of choices available to us in pretty much every sphere of life, let alone the dating world. Some of the questions you need to ask yourself-
Are you scared of commitment? Ideally, you make a decision and never look back but for people who struggle with commitment, that’s difficult to do. You find yourself sitting on the fence and not being able to move forward or let it go.
When we’re stuck in indecision about a potential relationship, we start to feel anxious. Pretty soon, frustration creeps in. You’re so overcome with making a decision that you’d rather wait till things fizzle out on their own. You try to buy time. The more you try to delay making up your mind, the worse it gets and you start to feel pressure. In the end, you end up taking a decision that’s not really in your best interests. Once that happens, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy where you think things ended because you of your own issues. You end up feeling bad for yourself. There starts the self blame game and reinforcing negative stereotypes about yourself. It’s a vicious cycle that just won’t stop till you acknowledge and do something about it.
How long are you going to let your circumstances dictate your life? Part of what gives us self confidence is that WE get to decide what’s best for us. Yes sitting on the fence, won’t change anything so technically things can’t change for the worse. But things won’t change and therefore can’t change for the better either. It makes us feel ‘safe’ but it’s anything but that. Any situation that is stagnant will put you on the back foot over time. You’ll trust yourself that much more when you don’t act out of fear, but by using your own judgement.
Are you seeking others’ approval? We do this when we lack the conviction to decide what is right for ourselves. Your life choices are only about you. You’re not answerable to anyone about who you choose to spend your life with, so why should you pick someone based on what others might think of the two of you together? If they care about you, they will not only accept your choice but be happy for you. The rest really don’t matter. So impressing someone other than yourself shouldn’t even be a consideration in this matter.
Do you have a fear of missing out? Often there’s this feeling that by choosing that one person to date, we are somehow letting go of potentially ‘better’ options. Many just carry on dating multiple people because they can’t make up their mind. It’s not just about what you think, it’s also how you act. What are doing or not doing to help yourself make a choice.
If you really want to make a decision and be happy with your choice, you’ve got to let go of your safety net. That means not dating more than one person at a time, not actively looking for new dates online once you’re getting to know someone, not resisting commitment by not being in it 100%. If you can’t do this, no matter how right someone is for you, it would still not work.
Yes, making choices mean that you let go of certain possibilities. But if you keep focussing on the options that you let go of, you won’t be able to give your attention to the person that you chose to date. You won’t be able to make an informed decision about the other person. We create a lot of these distractions because of a fear of commitment.
So, where does all this fear really come from?
It’s right there within you. Our experiences teach us that we can’t control other people or their actions. Sometimes, we push the pain we felt from our past experiences (including our childhood) deep down. Certain events and circumstances trigger vague memories and behavioral patterns. As time passes, we try to do everything possible to get away with making as little changes as possible and somehow reach a ‘settled’ phase in life. Everyone has a past and if your experiences taught you that being vulnerable means being at the mercy of others and if you had difficult relationships as a template on top of that, then it’s only natural that your mind would be programmed to not take a decision that involves other people. You may feel that doing so can potentially expose you to instability and more difficulties.
Sometimes, we get overwhelmed by the sheer number of dating choices out there. What seems like a genuine problem is often used as an excuse to not make a decision. There are times we never really make a choice because of our fears. You have to remind yourself that it’s about committing to a decision, not to it’s outcome. The people who struggle with taking a stand, making a choice or a decision have one thing in common, they want guarantees. They want to control the outcome.
Here’s the thing though, there will never be a situation in life which is risk free. Yes, decisions come with consequences. That’s where the real fear lies. We observe past relationship patterns, both of people close to us and our own history, and decide that we’re better off not risking anything. But we forget that not risking anything also comes with consequences. As they say, indecision is also a decision.
In any situation, you need to feel like you’re capable of handling things if they go wrong. If you don’t trust yourself, you can’t back yourself. This is why indecision has its roots in low self esteem. This is turn, is caused due to us not knowing our values. Till the time you are not clear on your values, you will not be able to take a decision. In other words, you need to know what is important to you before you take the decision, so that you are in agreement with yourself as to why you made the decision in the first place. In any decision making scenario, there is an optimal time window in which to make a decision, after which you lose the motivation to decide. You’ll likely overlook this, if you don’t know from the beginning what you want.
You’ve got to learn to trust your gut. Sometimes, we don’t quite understand a reason for choosing or not choosing a particular person to date. That’s fine, you don’t need to justify things to yourself. You just have to be at peace with your decision and the way to do that is to be completely honest with yourself about how you feel.
What are your thoughts? Have you been through or are currently in a similar situation?
Let me know in the comments.