Don’t look back

Q: How do I know I made the right choice?

This is a question I’ve gotten since I wrote about quitting. It’s hard making decisions sometimes. Especially if you feel at all depressed. Depression makes it really difficult because of low self esteem or inability to concentrate or inability to feel your emotions. You can’t do what feels good if you are having trouble feeling anything.

Here’s the most truthful answer to this question: there is no way of knowing.

There isn’t even a ‘right’ choice. When you are trying to make a decision and focus on needing to make the right choice, you won’t make much progress. There is no such thing as the right choice. This information can be freeing if you let it be.

Make a decision. Base it on whatever you want/need (maybe I’ll leave further discussion of that for another day). Then, the hard part: you must accept your choice.

This is it. You must accept your choice. The key is not to look back.

How? I’m working on it. This is what helps me:

Notice how you feel after the decision is made and you have taken action. Is there relief? Happiness? Regret? Exhaustion? Whatever it is, allow yourself to experience it. Let it flow through you, without holding on.

Trust yourself. However you came to this decision. There is an experience of growth here for you.

Replace negative thinking patterns. If you catch yourself saying hurtful things to yourself (maybe something like: “why did I do this? I’m so *fill in demeaning label*”), gently stop yourself. Replace this with something supportive and based in truth (example: “I made the best decision I could at the time”, “This is a learning experience”, “I trust myself”).

Use this affirmation that I learned from Tricia Huffman, Your Joyologist: “I choose my choices.” It helps me so much. I need a reminder sometimes. Say this to yourself often.

There is no such thing as a mistake. You may think that you would make a different decision if you could do it over. Recognize this growth. You have learned something from this experience, from trying and taking a step forward. Acknowledge yourself for this.

Remember that inaction is a choice too. So often, I forget that this is true. People choose to stay in situations, they choose to do nothing, they choose to look away. You have made a different choice. We are constantly making choices. You are focusing on only one of your many choices.

Keep going. You’ve made your decision and followed through. With thoughtfulness, keep moving towards what you want and what you feel is best for you.

We can’t be totally sure of any decision we make. If anyone says they are, I don’t think they’re being honest with you (and maybe themselves), or maybe they know some secret that I don’t.

We do our best. We learn to accept our choices. You can do this.

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3 thoughts on “Don’t look back

  1. I love this post. Not only it feels balanced and honest but also resonates with my experiences.

    For my journey the biggest problem I had to work around was the concept of success and failure and how they don’t exist unless I see everything through black-and-white glasses (which is often the case). Once I started accepting that the results of any decision are merely stepping stones and lessons for the next part, agonising after the decision I made, slowly disappeared. But of course, it’s not isolated as such. There was work I did to squash toxic shame over “mistakes”, then accept that outcomes I didn’t favour were lessons learnt and these days my favourite method of checking decisions is how I feel about them. They say that a decision that leaves your heart in peace is the best decision and I find this so true. I try to feel in silence each decision (or indecision) before deciding. After that it’s either “I’m on the right track” or “lesson learnt” but never regret. Funnily enough repeating the same mistakes happens less and less.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

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  2. Thank you Aura! So true. It’s hard for me to go by feelings, but I have been working on connecting with my true feelings about things more and more.
    I love what you said about success and failure. All-or-nothing thinking is such a trap we get into. We need to see ourselves and our experiences as multi-faceted and layered.
    Sending love to you xo

    Like

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