© Rhoberta Shaler, PhD
My partner and I are very different in the ways that we approach decision-making. He thinks things through, comes to a well-reasoned decision and that's it....forever! I think and feel things through and come to a decision...until I change my mind. At least, that's the way it used to be. Now, it's a little different.
I used to count on the fact that, if we had a discussion which called for him to consider a new point of view or a change, he would first dig his heels in. But, I came to know that he is a "thirty-six hour" man. A big ship that takes quite a while to turn! Within thirty-six hours, he would re-visit the conversation and often have found a way to drift a little towards a compromise. Over the years, this has changed. He can now entertain a change, sometimes right in the initial conversation
Now, for my part of the equation, I used to agonize over decisions. I was raised in a home with little money and the fear that demands perfectionism. Don't you dare make a mistake! It would be remembered, rehashed and re-visited, repeatedly.
"So, you had better choose wisely the first time, young lady. "
So, every decision became a HUGE deal. I would order the best deal on the menu, whether or not it was what I wanted to eat. I had to, because to get less than I could meant I didn't appreciate the value of money. If I simply loved a dress, that was insufficient reason to make a purchase. What if I did not get years of wear out of it, or, what if it did not go with everything? That would be a travesty.
Thankfully, this has all changed. It has softened, but not gone away. Our old scripts never go away. We just have to remind ourselves that we now have a replacement for them. We say to that perfectionist, penny-pinching, afriad-to-be-wrong script,
"Thank you for sharing. I know you served a purpose to keep my mother happy, but, now I use a different system of decision-making. I have given up the fear system."
What I've learned about myself and what I've learned from my partner is invaluable. My self-esteem is not connected with the outcomes of my deliberations. This was a hard-won transformation. Imagine! The world will not stop turning if I don't like what I bought. Of course, these days that's helped a lot by being able to return it..lol.
But, it is much deeper than that. If there is something that can add beauty, order, functionality or pleasure to my world, it is likely a good idea to bring it home.
My partner seems to be enjoying the "wiggle room" that he has found in opening himself to the possibility of changing his mind. I am enjoying thinking through a purchase, making it and enjoying it. The second-guessing seldom rears up.
Finding peace in decision-making is a good thing! How are you with it?
Rhoberta Shaler, PhD
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