I’ve always been a terrible decision-make. And by that I don’t mean that I make bad decisions but rather it is the process by which I reach pivotal action points that’s sort of disturbing. Behind my indecisiveness is an ingrained fear that I may have missed out on some element of the equation that will throw off the entire result.
This is probably why I’ve spent many, many hours of my life indulging in “mulling”. I used to think I was making “informed” decisions, but basically all I’ve been doing is complicating my life. I’ve stood in grocery aisles weighing in on which soy-sauce was least likely to spike sodium levels and yet taste yummy, browsing through online stores and enthusiastically adding items to cart only to trash them in the end thinking “I really should go to a store and try stuff out to see if they suit me”, researching for months to find a school for my daughter which had an educational system that provided fun, deep understanding, holistic development, spiritual enhancement, self-love and in the end deciding that selling a kidney for such a place was not worth it and opting for the closest school to our home. Oh and let’s not even talk about ordering at restaurants! A soup and starter versus just a fancy main-course versus bottle of wine with some free bread please?
It all sounds so silly but there’s a very psychotic rationale behind me being like this. And it goes something like having the following trains running through my very jammed head:
“But what if I don’t pick the best school for my child and she winds up hating herself and hating me and that’s the end of the world just because I didn’t google properly enough?”
“But what if its cheaper somewhere else?”
“Sigh. I wish I’d ordered the tofu laksa.”
Apart from the self-doubt and questioning lies another problem. I tend to involve friends, family, the internet and sometimes even my pet parrot in my conundrums. It really would have been easier if I’d created a single group for “Sangee’s Mental Aid Support”, thus making the whole process more efficient by saving me the time of relaying the same problems to the multiple individuals in my not-so-privileged circle of trust.
The biggest realm that this trait of mine has had an impact on is in the raising of my daughter. Till she was three, I could not make any decisions without consulting two people- one was a close family member, the other a good friend. I called them every time there was a forked path along the parenting journey. They held my hand, even when they were exhausted themselves and should have told me to fuck off and go figure it out all on my own.
But they didn’t. Because they loved me. And that love although comforting, was not the stick I needed on my bottom to push me to do better on my own.
There were several messy outcomes, classic examples of “too many cooks spoil the broth”. Conflicting opinions, questions, thoughts got dunked into the contemplation cauldron fueled by my simmering mind only to produce the broth of half-baked conviction.
At the heart of this is a simple truth- I don’t trust myself. It’s always been easier to wait for someone else I trust to say “Yes- I think that’s what you should do.” or “Yeah, you’re right, go ahead.” It’s assuring. And also cowardly. Because what this process has done is offer me the luxury of not bearing the weight of my own burdens. Instead of relying on my gut , I’ve used others’ perspectives which have been shaped by their own expectations, risk appetites and overall outlook of life.
Which gets me thinking about several questions. Is there really such a thing as “the right choice” or is everything a consequential journey to be made to enable self-growth? What were the mistakes I missed making on my own had I not benefitted from the wisdom and kindness of others? How do I draw the tough line between collating relevant inputs from people to aid my process and making them choose for me? Will I ever be a person strong enough to stand by a decision, watch it land me in a mucky puddle and still move on with faith in myself?
I began 2017 with a lot of grand promises (not resolutions- I hate that word). One of them was a commitment to introspect on my life, attitude and my future. This looking inwards thing is really not fun, especially when you discover what a hot mess you are!
So here’s the first pledge I take- to trust myself more and accept that there will always be a better dish on the menu. And as a good friend of mine told me the other day when I was complaining to her, “Just remember, you brought this all on yourself.”
A toast to living your own mess- CLINK!