Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Without a Doubt: Coping with Indecision
Oh, to have a crystal ball. Or even a Magic 8 ball that offers up something more decisive than "Ask again later".
Perhaps better than relying on outside oracles is to learn to tap into our own. Problem is, mine often seems to be dozing. I can sometimes nudge her awake with meditation or a solitary walk.
But too often, if she's offering up any answers, I can't hear them over the sound of my critic. The one who reminds me how often I'm wrong about things. The one who urges me to rely on others' advice instead. The one who whispers "you'll regret this".
Iyanla Vanzant, who writes "Iyanla, Fix My Life!" in O Magazine, recently tackled the "stay or go" question. Phrased as "How Do I Know When I'm Settling for Less?" it might as well have read "How Do I Know Whether to Stay With My Cheating Bastard of a Husband? because "settling for less" is what we often feel we're being asked to do.
Iyanla is a wise woman who knows a thing or two about betrayal. She also knows a thing or two about nudging that sleeping inner oracle awake. Her approach is to make some observations.
For instance, when your focus is on the time and energy you've invested in an endeavour [or person] rather than the love, joy, and gratification you've gained, you're probably settling. It doesn't matter if you've spent five years or thirty with someone if many of those years have been unfulfilling. But if you can honestly say that, within the time you've invested, you've experienced much joy and contentment, then it might be worth a second chance. The emphasis isn't on the investment but on the returns you've already experienced.
When you're making excuses about why you should stay put rather than going for what you truly want, you're probably settling. Sometimes we truly need to stay put in order to create circumstances that allow us to leave safely. But it's important to be honest with yourself about whether those reasons for staying are legitimate or simply excuses to allow indecision. If you stay, make sure that's a choice and not an abdication of choice. Similarly, if you leave, make sure it's a choice and not something you feel you should do because that's what our culture would have you believe.
Perhaps the wisest question we can ask is that age-old Ann Landers nugget: Am I better off with him or without him?
If you can't hear your inner oracle over the deafening sound of your own breaking heart and our culture's collective roar to kick him to the curb, then the wisest course of action might be what the Magic 8 Ball recommends: Ask again later.