to Decide

Nickel coin on its edge

Do you ever feel insecure about your choices? This is a frequent problem in my life. I suppose there are bigger issues at play — “voices in my head” telling me that my ideas aren’t good enough, memories of being told that I’m wrong, feeling unacceptable. But I am learning new ways to be more confident about my decision-making.

Sometimes I fall down too many rabbit holes and get distracted with researching all the hows and wheres and whys of my potential options. It’s so easy to do, especially when you can access 12 gazillion website links that tell you more than you ever really needed to know about each alternative. Hear ye, hear ye — I love doing research — but I must put limits on my searching and like, you know, pick something already.

Perhaps I also doubt my decision-making because in the back of my mind, I don’t believe that my future is flexible. In my family of origin, we frequently had Certain Ways of Doing Things and we weren’t often encouraged to change things around. Maybe I need more reminders that it’s OK if I need to alter my plan later.

And several years ago, I read an interesting strategy for figuring out which course of action you’re “secretly rooting for” when you are torn between two options.

Begin by taking a coin out of your pocket. … Now here are the rules. If the coin were flipped and it landed on heads you would be forced to choose “yes” or “A.” If the coin were flipped and it landed on tails you would be forced to choose “no” or “B.”

Without flipping the coin, close your eyes and ask yourself this simple question, “Which way do I want the coin to land? Heads mean ‘yes’ or ‘A.’ Tails mean ‘no’ or ‘B.’ Which way do I really wish it would land?”

When you open your eyes, state out loud whether you chose heads or tails.

This theory is meant to help you make a decision, because the coin can’t land on both sides and most likely won’t land on its edge. It has to land on heads or tails, one way or the other. And connecting with the coin toss, you can “get in touch with your innermost desires and admit them” when you are asked which way you want the coin to land.*

It’s a simple suggestion, but it might help when you find yourself in a dilemma. Worth a try.

* A Fresh Start: How to Let Go of Emotional Baggage and Enjoy Your Life Again, Leonard Felder, Ph.D; Signet Books 1987, pp 175-176.

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