Thursday, October 5, 2017

Decision Making for the Perfectionist

I've been in a pickle lately because I can't make good enough decisions. When options arise and I have to make a choice, I seriously want to check out. There's been a negative cloud around every decision, saying things like:

You don't have enough information to make the right decision.

You have conflicting information and who do you believe?

Your instincts may not take you where you ultimately want to be.

Is that your instinct or your rebel side?

You've made what you thought were right decisions before, and you're still not where you'd hoped.

Do you actually think it's working?

Even if you get four out of five goals accomplished with one decision, the one you missed is crucial.

You can't relax/enjoy your life unless you find the perfect route through this day.

All of this dooms me and I have sludged through life lately, never feeling free to be happy. 


When I said I was a recovering perfectionist, I wasn't lying. 


What the what.

So guess what woke me up?

Making a super hard decision not to go to the Boundary waters with my family and father-in-law this weekend. I had no peace when I planned to go and none when I planned to stay. I just had to make the call based on what I know of me and my health right now. How long would I pay for sleepless nights? Would the therapy of being in nature outweigh the tension from being cold? Would I feel so sad and lonely at home, knowing I was missing this experience with my people? 

When I felt sure I'd be better off at home, a part of me would say, What if it went perfectly? What if the weather wasn't rainy and you didn't injure yourself (actually a concern, but won't take time to explain) and what if it was magical?

It was torture. When I told the kids I wasn't going, I cried. Then I felt the need to do a big project to justify staying home. Then I told myself that could wear me out too. Then I felt like throwing caution to the wind and going. I told my chiropractor and she said, "Those are hard decisions. You've worked really hard to feel as good as you do and you don't want to throw it all away in a weekend."

The most important part was hearing someone affirm this isn't a simple/easy decision. That made it okay to not like things about either option. It helped me accept that neither was ideal and stop telling myself I had to force whatever I chose to be magical. I also don't have to point to five hundred things as it's playing out to justify my decision. Or condemn it.

The best thing I can do for me is decide I'm not going to stress about right or wrong, better or best.

Because sometimes there's a way that's clearly better and sometimes there isn't. And when there isn't, we roll the dice. Like it or not, there's so many unknowns, we have to sometimes. And the only time that's detrimental is when we tie ourselves in knots trying to concoct a perfect solution and then pick apart the outcome under the guise of "trying to learn from it." That whole process, repeated over and over all day long, feels like it's taking life out of me, one drop at a time. 

So I asked the kids and Brian to write me a letter. I'll read one each day I won't see them at all. I invited girlfriends to go to a movie with me Sunday, since that'll be my longest day alone. I plan to run errands, but don't know if I'll get them all done or if I'll paint the back steps. I'm planning to unplug Friday, Saturday and Sunday to get some of the benefits of being off the grid. 

They left today. I started making decisions and when I wanted to critique my first plan, I just shut it down. It's good enough, I said. Good enough.


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