Philosophy

Tips for Making a Decision When There’s No Clear Answer

This is a topic I think we all struggle with in one life situation or another. This is a topic for everyone who has been in a unknown place of confusion, pain, and no future path to be leading out to higher grounds. It’s also a topic I have been personally struggling with, and felt a calling to write to you about it as well.

Tomorrow I will have a 3rd hip surgery which I’m still unsure if it’s the right decision. Part of me knows it’s worth trying again to see if I can live a life without chronic pain, while the other part of me doubts and asks if it’s worth the risk of more pain and complications. I’ve spent months debating and mulling things over. The only thing I really want is to freeze, stay still, and not make a decision. I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I think over and over again. But who does know? It’s so simple to just not move and not to make a decision – because there is no clear answer!

I think at times waiting and seeking out an answer is the right response – drastic decisions have their place, such as an impromptu choosing of a menu item – but not for hard decisions. Hard decisions don’t just solve themselves, you have to put effort into resolving them step by step.

When I have to make a hard decision, there are some methods that have helped, and some that have not helped, in making my decision to have a surgery. I hope these will help you in making hard decisions in your personal life as well.

  1. Writing a pro/cons list – while it’s easy to think of the good and bad sides of if you made a correct decision or did not, writing it down gives a clear, concrete, in-your-face message. You have the number of pros next to the number of cons, visually helping you to see the full scale of good and bad.
  2. Writing a letter to yourself or a loved one on this decision – Similar to #1, this gives you a clear message and time to sit down with yourself to think through how you are doing emotionally and mentally, what you want out of life and this decision, where you’ve been, and where you are going.
  3. Writing the options each on a separate piece of paper, put them in a hat, and draw out one slip of paper. Pretend that whatever you draw will be it, that is your decision, no questions asked. Read this piece of paper, and note your gut reaction to seeing what the words say. If you feel a sense of relief, that could be the right way to go. (Note – I did this, and logically couldn’t wrap my head around it. But this was also after months of indecisions and I was not in a good mindset when I tried).

4. Listen to music that gets you into a good mind frame – My personal favorite in Enya haha, but when I hear her songs they calm and energize me to the point that I can take a step back from my emotions to logically set out the facts and separate internal perceptions to external declarations.

5. Along with music, meditation, prayer, and taking deep breaths can help you make a hard decision. Meditation is solely being present in the moment, and realizing where you are right. now. For example, you are probably sitting in a chair, on your computer or phone, reading this article, breathing, blinking, feeling the frame of the chair on your back and behind. Take 5 seconds and close your eyes breathing and perceiving your surroundings. That’s all it takes, 5 seconds here, 3 minutes there, maybe 30 minutes if time allows.

6. Exercise – even though I can only walk short distances for exercise now, just a walk can help clear the mind and think things through. (I actually deep clean the kitchen or floors to get the two for one benefit of chores and exercise). Endorphins, the chemicals which your body releases during physical activity, reduce the feelings of pain in the body and produce a sense of calmness.

7. Talk to a loved one – I have never talked to my mother more than I have in the past few months, telling her of my pain, my doctor visits, and including her into my hardships. It’s not such a ‘hard’ ‘ship’ when there’s more than one person aboard.

When I used all 7 of these tips, I find that deep down, this surgery will be for the best. I am taking steps in my health and overall being to find a way to live a life where I can enjoy each day to the fullest. I am giving myself courage and hope with this surgery. Always I have a sense of pain and fear from how the past two years and two surgeries have gone, but I don’t want to give up on a life of movement and a life of no pain.

What are some other ways you make a hard decision?

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