person standing in the woods at a fork in the path

Overcoming my Struggles with Decision Making

How to move past the fear of regrets

Mental health and wellbeing
By VoiceBox ·


My name is Daniela, I'm 23 years old and currently studying Sociology and Performing arts. I’m interested in Culture and Human relations.

Overcoming my Struggles with Decision Making

Being in my twenties has been fun. I'm a grown woman, but not with all the responsibilities that brings. I have no need to pay rent (yet) or worry about taxes. I feel so free and with the ability to do whatever I wish. 

However, being an adult means I have to make my own decisions now. From what I'm going to wear today, is it safe for me to do certain things, and even if I should leave it all behind and leave my city?

I don't know about you, but the idea of making decisions for myself has always terrified me, and I find myself asking for an opinion and correct answers from my friends, my boyfriend or my parents. And yes, asking for an opinion is always helpful, but am I actually asking for an opinion? Or am I just trying to flee having to make a decision and let others decide for me with their "opinions" about what I should do?

Thinking about this is obviously confusing and frustrating at times. So I sat down and reflected on where this silly pattern of running away from deciding things comes from: 

Then, I realized I have ALWAYS chosen to make others comfortable with what I do. I tend to worry about how others will feel and what they need from me. What does mom want from me today? Will my friends be comfortable with me not going to the party? By doing this, I have neglected my wants and needs so much that now it is difficult to answer the question of what I want. I might not want to go to the party. So if I don't want to go, shouldn't I worry about how I will feel before worrying about them? 

Deciding whether we like something or not means we let go of something else. For example: if I decide to eat chocolate cake implicitly, I have decided not to eat red velvet. This, applied to every decision in life, leads to anxiety and paralysis at the moment of choosing something. It seems impossible to move from this place, and I can’t help but wonder, did I make the right choice? What if I have regrets?

After thinking about this for long enough, I found solutions to these big fears:

I must learn to put myself first. In any situation, people will be affected by my actions, but why haven't I stopped to think about how I will get affected by my decisions? 

It is clearly not always my responsibility to carry the weight of how they might feel or what they will think if I do something, so I should be basing my decisions on what I need at the moment. It could be a very good start towards figuring out what I want in the future. Perhaps, this will reduce the fear of making others uncomfortable as well. 

Accepting the possibility of failure is the best way to let go of the fear of it: because failing isn't bad, it's actually the best way to learn and grow. So, should we worry about the disappointment that comes if our decision is wrong? Maybe, but stressing about it will only make us feel worse.

If we fail, we’ll fail, get up and start again. That means we will know better in the future. 

And if I eat chocolate cake today, there will always be a day when I can eat red velvet.

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