How do doubt and indecision show up in your life?
Is it difficult to decide what you want for dinner or what project you want to tackle next?
Do you avoid experiences and situations that you are not sure about?
Do you criticize yourself or avoid engagement?
Do you notice having trouble getting started in a direction, because your effort “may not be worth it?”
Do you often wonder if you’re making the “right” decisions and/or do you find yourself worrying about whether or not other people are happy with you?
When faced with uncertainty, do you find yourself making up worst-case scenario stories in your head or notice yourself wanting to avoid unpredictable situations altogether?
Doubt and indecision are common human experiences, especially in today’s fast-paced and success driven environment. We are often overwhelmed with so many choices at any given moment, not to mention what we are supposed to do with the rest of our lives. I often find myself overwhelmed in the yogurt section of the grocery store, actually.
We also, often, hear about passion and purpose. And that we all need to identify what that is for us so we can be successful and happy. This is another aspect of doubt and indecision, as many people who I talk to struggle to find out what there purpose and passion is. And here comes doubt… how can I be sure? What if it doesn’t work? What if I am not good at it? What if I am not successful?
Paralysis. Anxiety. Exhaustion.
We are thinking too much about outcomes. Expecting too much too soon. Wanting perfection. Putting pressure on ourselves to live by certain codes.
In today’s world, we seem to want certainty around how we will be different, what will be gained or what opportunities will present themselves if we give effort in a particular direction. This direction may be related to our purpose or may be as simple as “What will I gain from practicing meditation the right way?”
We want to have certainty about how things will turn out or we often won’t even get started.
Herein lies the trouble. Without a doubt, my passion at 23 years old was very different than my passion at 45 years old. But at 23, I wasn’t consumed with finding it. And if I was consumed with trying to find it, I may have never found myself here where I am. Not that there is anything wrong with purpose and passion, because when we are truly connected to that for ourselves, we have many opportunities to thrive. The finding it, however, comes in the practice of being alive, trying new things, curiosity, being open, learning about what we don’t like, etc.
Engagement with life.
I think it’s important to recognize for ourselves what may increase our feelings of doubt and indecision as a basic self-care practice to ward off symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.
For starters, you will want to know how you experience doubt. What is your response to it? Is that response working for you or is it keeping you stuck? This is the part where you really get to know your own experience of doubt. Meditation, daily reflection, and conversations with another who can help you sort this are wonderful ways to get started.
And, second, you may want to look at your taken for granted expectations of yourself and the world around you?
Do you have to be good at everything you do?
Does it have to fit into your vision of success to even get started?
Do you have to know that you will have a certain kind of opportunity before you invest your time in the practice of the experience?
What if you just let yourself practice something to see what comes out of it?
What if there is no expected outcome to be had?
What if whatever happens is okay and good enough?
What might happen with the levels of doubt and indecision then?