In my ongoing exploration on decision making I am facing a hard truth. One of the biggest barriers I face in decision making is other people. Or more specifically, what other people will think of my decision. I don’t even want to admit this is an issue in my decision making but I know it runs deep in me. At this stage in my life, I am disappointed that I still deal with this self-imposed limitation.
WILL I EVER GET BEYOND IT?
I can blame it on my MBTI type (ENFJ),my Enneagram type (4), my ‘conditional love’ upbringing or my 'potentially self-limiting value of needing to be liked'. I could probably blame it on my gender as well.
I often wonder if spending most of my adult years in a religious community with strictly defined behavioural norms that needed to be adhered to in order to secure my social standing within the community is at fault. I know every community has their own set of norms, but I went along with a lot of things I didn’t agree with because my husband was the lead pastor and I knew my honesty could be career limiting for him. The irony was that my/our fear of being really honest was probably a key factor in our demise. We tried to please all people and in the end pleased no one. (The good news was losing that community, eventually led to my emancipation and a really sweet new tattoo.)
It doesn’t really matter what the cause of this barrier is, being aware of it and finding ways to address it in my decision making is most important for me if I want to make truthful decisions that take me where I really want to go in my life.
I love this quote from Louis CK, a comedian who seems to have worked out all his issues regarding offending people, “Offending people is a necessary and healthy act. Everytime you say something that is offensive to another person, you just caused a discussion. You just forced them to have to think.”
I am reading You are a Badass: How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life right now. The author, Jen Sincero, has surfaced this topic of what other people think several times. She says, “the only questions you ever need to consider when making decisions about your life are:
- Is this something I want to be, do, or have?
- Is this going to take me in the direction I want to go (not should go)?
- Is this going to screw over* anybody else in the process?
*The definition of screwing someone over is taking their money and doing a lousy job or destroying their water source or enslaving populations, things like that - your mother being disappointed or your father disapproving or your friends being outraged does not qualify as screwing someone over.” (p. 64)
I don’t think I am alone. I would love to talk to you about how this issue impacts your decision making. Do other people’s opinions of your decisions get in the way of doing what you really want to do? I’m going to continue unpacking this decision making conversation over the next few weeks.
Join me in thinking honestly about this question, “Whose opinion is holding me back from living my truth?”