How Do You Know If You Made The Right Choice?
We don’t know and we can never be sure of if we made a right decision. But letting go of the perfectionist inside us and accepting these facts can bring us solace.
This is a story, a pattern which comes up very frequently when discussing with people: we all want to know whether we made the right decision or not. Or we are struggling hard in order to be 100% sure that we will make the right decision in a given upcoming conflicting situation.
The thing is, there is no absolute right or wrong. To put it in another way,
>>The right decision is the one you choose to defend. <<
There is no win-win situation in making decisions
Whichever choice you make, you will gain something but also you will lose something else. There is no win-win situation. If you believe something like that, then it's probably the Perfectionist inside you who is telling you that you can have it ALL.
For the same situation, one can choose one way and another the opposite way; believe it or not, both can lead to the right decision. This can apply to many aspects of our life:
In relationships: One may choose to leave a worn-out relationship and win from that; another chooses to fight for the relationship and also wins.
In workplaces: One may choose to see all the opportunities in the job and stay even when discouraged; another may choose to change jobs and go for something more.
Both choices can be defended. Both decisions can be the winning ones.
No Pros and Cons list will help you decide.
If you think that a checklist with pros and cons will help, you are partly right, but also partly wrong.
Life cannot be put into numbers. That comes from the fact that we make decisions not only with our minds but also with our emotions, with our instincts, with our hearts. So if it seems right, but it doesn't feel right, then why go for it?
Moreover, each "point" doesn't have the same gravity with the next one. Maybe there is only one "con" in our list, but that one can be very important for our life and our values. So the comparison can turn out to be unfair in the end.
You might end up in a self-fulfilling prophecy
If you keep saying to yourself that you made the wrong decision, then probably many negative things will keep popping up, "confirming" your claim. In the end everything goes wrong, just as you "predicted" (it is also called "self-fulfilling prophecy"). On the other hand, if you adopt a more optimistic, but still realistic perspective, expecting some obstacles, but also believing in your goal and appreciating what you gain through this decision, then your chances of making the most out of it, are huge!
The decision is yours.
You made the decision, so you cannot blame anyone else for it. If you believe that you did it for someone else, this will make you feel powerless and place you in the role of a victim. This will end up making you feel angry and bitter. Avoid prioritizing first what others want, but focus on what you want to achieve in the end. Remove the bias from your decision-making.
Is this the best decision I can come up with?
This is difficult to say, because you don't know what the result of your efforts are going to be . It is possible that the more you try, the more satisfied you will be with your decision. However at some point you need to decide. So rather than waiting forever for the PERFECT decision, you could start with a "good for now" decision. And that leads us to the next point:
This decision is the right one ONLY for the present time.
No one is in the position to tell or predict what is going to happen in the future. Maybe you change your mind. Maybe you will have different needs and desires and goals and values and perspectives and priorities. You are not going to be the same person for the rest of your life. But for now, this decision is great, and that's OK.
What if I regret my decision?
You shouldn't. If you took that decision, then it was the right one at that time based on your specific needs and specific goals back then. If you regret that decision, you regret who you were back then when you made the decision. And, no, this is not something that you would like to negotiate every time you have doubts about your decisions. Your self-worth is your anchor, and whatever decisions you took back then, they were part of the process of your development.
Is There Something As Making Good Life Choices?
Let's zoom out a little bit: In order for you to make the right decision, you have spent days, weeks, months ruminating over the pros and cons of each option. Meanwhile, you have lost your sleep, you have disconnected from your partner/family/friends, you have constant headaches, you forget easily, the only thing you are thinking and talking about is this decision, you have procrastinated, you have pushed aside other important decisions, you have become more stressed/sad/depressed/irritated and less happy/calm/content.
If the price you are paying for the PERFECT decision is your Mental Health, then it has already become a wrong decision.
That's the point where you have to learn when to say "stop" or "enough" and protect yourself, your mental health, your relationships, and everything that you consider important in your life.
TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE.