I hate crossroads. I hate standing in front of them. I hate biking along them. I hate picking a direction. I hate having to decide which side was more worthy. I hate the long pause I instinctively feel at every one. I hate stopping and pondering. I hate looking like an idiot while deciding. But most importantly, I hate that there is no middle road.
I hate how every time we come across tough decisions, we always believe it is one side or the other. We weigh our options, contemplating the pros and cons. If you are anything like me, you would probably even make a list. You would write out all the positives, negatives, break a few pencils and scream at yourself a bit. Maybe a few tears are shed here and there, but then if you are anything like me even after that, you would try to find a middle ground… A compromise.
For every tough choice or “crossroad” we come across in our lives, there is a right and a left side… now despite how punny that may have sounded, there really is no right answer. There may be a “better” answer, but that does not mean it is the one you have to choose. Everyone in the end is in charge of their own lives, so despite what everyone else thinks may be better for you, only you know what is truly good for you. You make the decision you think or hope will be better at that time and there is no shame in that.
Where would we be in life if we always went with what was thought of as best and good only for us? I have to believe that there is enough humanity out there that not every choice has to be a yes or no, right or wrong, this or that, and that we have the freedom to make those, without being judged. I have to believe that in every decision and tough choice, we are able to turn to and think of others and how they are being affected by our choice. And honestly, if not, maybe you are just surrounding yourself by the wrong people.
Anyways, here are a few things to help you through tough decisions or better yet, find a middle ground. Some may seem pretty obvious, but honestly, you would probably be surprised at how many people have come up to me in the past about decisions that were not carefully thought through. “There was a better way!” “I didn’t mean to hurt him!” “I didn’t realize what was good for me at the time!” And worst of all, “I regret it.” Regret is probably one of the worst feelings in the world, a linger in the back of your mind that is, simply put, always there… which I will probably continue to rant about another day, but anyways, here it goes.
- The first and foremost question is, what do you want? What is it that you want from life, from the scenario, from this decision, from your friends and those affected… and decide what is really worth it.
- Consider everyone involved in the situation and which side would benefit who. No matter how small or big, there is no one person who is more important than another. You may have a greater attachment to your friend, but your sister is still your sister. However, never make a decision solely on what another person wants. That is no way to live your life. Trying to please everyone every second of the day gets awfully exhausting. Take it from a retired “full time people pleaser”. On the other hand, a decision just to spite someone else is just as meaningless. It does not give the satisfaction of finally coming to a conclusion either. No matter how upset you are at your mother, do not cancel the wedding just so she will not be able to watch her only daughter walk down the aisle, cancel it because it because your husband is going through a tough time and it does not feel right anymore or something like that. *Terrible example, I know… and apologize*
- Now consider yourself… Which side are you leaning towards? Is there a compromise you want to reach? Ignore everyone else right now. At the end of the day, your decision will always affect you the most, whether it is a physical, noticeable effect, or just an emotional one. Trust me, my emotional baggage from decisions made poorly without being thought through carefully will always carry more weight than any physical punishment or repercussion that I have had to experience or others have witnessed. So do yourself a favor and just think it through with you in mind.
- Think about it, or put it off until you have a clear head. Decisions involving tears or steam out of the ears typically are the ones regretted the most. There is so much impulse involved in these decisions… so many feelings. Instead, use your head, not your heart.
- Make a list… All of the pros, cons, and possible compromises. Focus a lot on the compromises because they can really make all the difference in the world. No matter how cheesy it sounds, draw a venn diagram (two overlapping circles). Describe the scenarios. “On one hand, this could happen” however… “this is the other possible outcome.” Now think about if you were able to have both options or reach a middle ground. I promise this is not giving yourself false hope or optimism in a tough situation or decision, it is just about gaining some perspective.
- Get a third opinion. Granted, you should not ask someone to make the decision for you, but once you have considered all else, and just feel like you need someone who either has been in a similar situation or just has a strong sense of empathy to help you understand you own situation, ask a friend. Make sure it is a friend you trust and will not judge, especially if it is something private. Make it clear to them that despite them giving you some advice, they are not here to carry out the decision for you or let their own opinion factor into any part of yours, especially not their feelings. A lack of bias is key… Seriously. Even just ranting a little about how dumb the situation is can be a real relief.
Lastly, just remember, not every decision is a crossroad. However, regardless, every every road meets up again at some point. Embrace every decision because at the end of the day you are still you, and you will get where you need to go, going left, right, or straight, at some point.
Feel free to always send a request or comment to me if you need a third opinion on a tough situation.
Special thanks to the sweetest best friend anyone could ever ask for. Thanks Aishani, for always letting me come to you for my tricky decisions and problems and always trusting me with yours.