Stupid, Stupid, Stupid!
You made a decision. It backfired. Blew up in your face. Ruined everything…for you and everyone around you. You suck. You are an idiot. You are not an adult. You cannot be trusted, or respected, or loved. Ever. By anyone. ANYONE!
Plus you’re ugly.
(PAUSE TO LET THAT SINK IN)
Ever make a big decision that didn’t turn out exactly like you planned and had that fun convo with yourself?
Well, I did recently, and you know what? That is a very selfish response. So, add selfish to that list.
Before I share why, let me take you through my process.
After I beat the crap out of myself for having made THE WORST DECISION EVER, I began frantically searching online to learn how to make good decisions. (Because I’m a fixer. And that self-loathing list stung like the dickens, so I wanted to find evidence to the contrary. Fast!)
My initial search led me to advice that made me want to punch someone in the Adam’s apple. “Have confidence.” “Distinguish smart risks from foolish risks.” “Work with a therapist.”
B*tch, if I were confidently able to distinguish smart from foolish with my therapist, I wouldn’t be in this pickle. Next!
Several tearful minutes later, as I sat there second-guessing myself into hell, I came across an article in Bustle with a quote that was gold. In it, Confidence Coach Steve Errey said, “Second-guessing is what you do when you don’t know what’s going to happen. You spin narratives about this and that, conjure scenarios where things go great and things go south, and try to reason your way through all the fiction.”
All…the…FICTION! That was the part that stopped me from waterboarding myself. Because it IS fiction. Even the part we can see with our own eyes. Reality doesn’t have much, if anything, to do with the result of a decision. What does?
And those little bastards can wreak havoc if they are not managed.
You see, the narrative I was spinning was that the decision I made was making everyone in my family miserable. But, you know what? That wasn’t exactly true. Sure there were adjustments, disagreements, even some stonewalling, but we were all alive, well, and relatively happy. I was fretting over the illusion that I had forever, negatively impacted their lives and that this decision was the only thing they would reflect upon after exiting my life forever, never to smile again, and I would hate myself more and more every day until I died alone.
And therein lies the selfish part. You see, at the bottom of that whole shit heap, were my feelings – my fear of being unloved and alone. Of course, I care about my people and want them to be happy, but I was convincing myself they weren’t, and the fear that they would one day separate themselves from me as a result, was driving me bananas.
The truth: One was happy. One didn’t care. One one was pissed…but that had more to do with him than my decision.
As I continued down my new, awesomely paradigm-shifting rabbit hole, I found more wisdom to yank me out of my funk, which you can apply to any decision, before, during, or after.
First, tell all that negativity you ain’t playin’. Picture a big, red pause button, a cleansing rain rinsing away your B.S., or just say, “Shift.” Then ask, “How would I respond if I were at my best?” (I love that last part. Deeming yourself capable is super empowering.)
Next, get cozy with the age-old adage, “Know thyself.” What are your values? You might know the answer right away, but you may also find it helpful to reflect on those times when decisions came easily, because you were acting from a place of pure you-ness. Once you identify your values, you can use them as a filter for your options and determine which choice honors your values best.
Finally, accept that you don’t own a magic wand, and you will never make a decision that is 100% “right”, because every decision comes with items in the “con” category. As I shared with my son the other day around a decision he was making, “Life is pretty much a guessing game, so take your best guess, and if it doesn’t turn out like you pictured, guess again.”
But no matter what, don’t rewrite history, beating yourself up with imaginary scenarios around the perfect life you would have had if you made a different decision. How do you know? THAT decision could have put you on the wrong street corner at the wrong time only to be taken out by a bus. (Yeah, bummer example, but you get the point.)
And last, but certainly not least, know this: regardless of the outcome of any decision, you…will…be…okay. True story.
Now, for those of you who like a list, I cobbled one together in case you want to take a screen shot for emergencies. And bonus, it has some cool tips I didn’t mention above.
1.) THINK OF YOURSELF AS A LEADER
2.) LIST THE QUALITIES YOU WANT TO CULTIVATE
3.) REMEMBER YOUR GREAT DECISIONS (THERE’S AT LEAST ONE)
4.) GO EASY ON YOURSELF – NO HATORADE ALLOWED!
5.) USE POSITIVE SELF TALK, SMARTY PANTS
6.) START WITH SMALL CHOICES TO BUILD YOUR DECISION GAME
7.) TRUST YOURSELF AND TAKE A STEP, JUST ONE, IN ANY DIRECTION
8.) LET GO OF CONTROLLING THE OUTCOME AND DECIDE
Okay, go get ‘em, my little deciders! I’m so proud. Sniffle.
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