Fear of decision making: what is it, causes and how to manage it
Jul 20, 2021
Decision-making fear is common, since deciding is something we do practically every day and there is always a certain fear of being wrong or not living up to what we have chosen.
On many occasions, this indecision is solved by allowing a little time to pass, meditating more deeply and obtaining a little more information to finish deciding.
However, sometimes it can become a real problem, a situation of constant doubt that traps us, limiting our lives by not making the decision to choose one path or another. Let's get into this curious but troublesome situation of hesitation.
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Fear of decision making
Making decisions is not an easy task, especially if we have to decide on something very important. Every decision has consequences and, although we always want good things to happen, this is not always the case. That is why it is normal to be a little afraid before deciding on an issue, for fear of making a mistake and that what comes afterwards could harm both us and third parties.
But life is full of decisions. We have to decide to change jobs or continue in one that burns us but gives us economic stability. We have to decide between having children or waiting a few more years. We have to decide, and in many things. This is why it is so important to learn to manage the fear of decision making, to learn to handle the uncertainty of our lives and to face situations with more calm and greater security.
Some call fear of decision-making "decidephobia." It is not an academic term that refers to a specific phobia, since it is not. It is simply the situation in which we are afraid, almost afraid, of having to face a situation in which we have to choose between two or more options, which can be a momentous decision in our lives. This situation generates anxiety, stress and, in the case of living with a lot of psychological discomfort, it can be said that it acquires psychopathological nuances.
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What does the fear of decision making imply?
In decision making there can always be a certain component of fear, a certain fear that once we have chosen an option, this turns out to be the wrong one and whose consequences will be to a greater or lesser extent responsibility our. Having to carry the weight of guilt for not having chosen properly is something that we do not want to have to face and, therefore, during decision making this fear appears.
However, If this fear is too high, preventing us from choosing one option or another, we have a problem. In life you have to choose and, although we are not sure, sooner or later we will have to choose an option. We cannot delay the decision any longer because, otherwise, the current situation may worsen, making the options old ones are no longer valid and are replaced by new ones, which can make us enter a new situation of indecision.
The fear of making decisions can be so high that we get to avoid having to make a decision in an exaggerated way. We launch a passive response, deciding to wait for the situation to fix itself, trusting that time will solve the problem or reduce the original options and facilitate decision-making.
When we stop facing what generates fear, we think that this emotion will end up disappearing by itself, but this is not really the case. The fear of consequences continues and, although we believe that those consequences will no longer be responsibility, the truth is that not choosing is also a decision and therefore we are responsible of it. In addition, in this case we can find ourselves in a worse situation, in which we have not been those who have chosen enter a situation of great uncertainty without knowing what is going to happen.
Another of the behaviors related to fear of decision making is the delay of the decision motivated by the idea that we need to obtain more information to opt for an option. It is true that waiting for us to have more information on a certain matter can help us, making us make a better informed decision. However, it can also happen that this is an excuse, and that the reason behind is not really an interest in having a broader vision but to delay decision-making, hiding from the fact that there is still not enough information.
It is normal that when we have to decide on something very important we get blocked. All kinds of negative and catastrophic thoughts go through our minds about how bad it can go if we choose a path or another, causing fear to paralyze us and lead us to a situation of constant doubt, making us hesitate about absolutely all options. Not knowing what to do, we get stuck, which causes us a high level of anxiety.
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How to manage this indecision?
While feeling a little fear and anxiety while making a decision is normal, it stops being so when it makes it impossible for us to go on with our lives completely. We can't make up our minds, getting stuck and feeling a lot of anxiety, which is a problem that must be learned to handle. There are several strategies that can help us manage our fear of decision-making.
1. Identify that fear
Fear is a necessary emotion, a feeling that helps us prevent danger. It is natural to have it when we are in a situation where we have to decide. However, if we try to deny it, run away from it, it will get bigger, making us delay our decision making for a long time, bringing with it only discomfort and potential negative consequences due to neglect.
We must listen, accept, dare to feel and understand that fear, knowing that we feel it because we We find ourselves in a situation where we have to decide on something that will bring, like everything in this life, its consequences. Listening to it will help us to understand its meaning, to know what we are afraid of and it will make it easier for us to assume the future consequences of our choice.
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2. Accept uncertainty
Uncertainty is always present in our lives. It must be understood that when making decisions there is a certain degree of control, but we cannot control everything since there are circumstances beyond our control.
That is why we must tolerate uncertainty, understand that in life there are always things that are beyond our control and that of others. We must trust more in our ability to choose and, also, in our ability to face the consequences of our decisions.
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3. What's the worst that can happen?
The anxiety and fear present during decision making cause our mind to be invaded by a rain of pessimistic thoughts. All kinds of catastrophes come to mind, situations in which we do not want to find ourselves, scenarios that we want to avoid at all. Sometimes there are so many thoughts that go through our head that we do not even have time to process them.
A good way to deal with them is to ask yourself "What's the worst that can happen?" When we do this question we can put a face and a name to our fears, associate them with consequences concrete and We see that they may not be so bad and that the best we can do is make a decision at once.
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4. Learn to feel capable of making good decisions
The fear of making decisions and the passive response of waiting for the time to decide for us can put us in a very limiting situation. By not being able to decide on our own, we run the risk of missing many good opportunities to growth and well-being, in addition to trapping us in a feeling of helplessness feeling that what happens to us does not depend on U.S.
In life you have to have very bad luck so that everything we decide to go wrong. It is true that there are times when mistakes are made, but if you think deeply about the decision to choose this happens with less probability. For this reason, you have to learn to feel capable of making good decisions, be aware that as long as We reflect on what we are going to do, it is quite likely that we will have more positive consequences than negative.