Have you mastered the art of choosing?

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One of the hallmarks of those who feel victimized is their inability to choose. It doesn`t matter whether it is a big decision or a minor one - avoiders lack the ability to make a choice

One of the hallmarks of those who feel victimized is their inability to choose.
It doesn`t matter whether it is a big decision or a minor one - avoiders lack
the ability to make a choice. Have you ever been with someone while dining out
who takes an inordinate amount of time choosing from the menu? They agonize as
they contemplate the significance of what to eat. Making a wrong decision appears
catastrophic. The primary fear appears to be the misfortune of making a mistake.
According to those who are decision-phobic, mistakes must be avoided at all costs.
Making a mistake is considered a personal failure and it can`t be tolerated.
It takes courage to feel comfortable about making a decision that may involve
the potential for risks and mistakes.

Many people are terrified of making mistakes. The origins of this fear may stem
from parenting issues during childhood. One`s parents may have either been over-functioning
adults, not allowing their children to make their own decisions - the parents
may have been highly controlling, critical and intimidating; or they may have
been “absent” parents. In either case, the underlying message was, “Others can
do for you much better than you can do for yourself.” Powerful words originating
out of childhood can be tools that affect people`s opinions, choices and behavior.
Toxic words can rob a child of the courage to function independently.

We make decisions based upon the best information available to us at the time
the choice is made. One can always second-guess a decision, but it is important
to maintain the “mantra” of no regrets. A friend of mine once said that there
is no such thing as a calculated risk. All risks ultimately involve jumping off
the deep end and hoping for the best. There are no assurances in this business
of taking risks. One must forgive oneself for being less than perfect and learn
to live with the consequences of each action. Taking personal responsibility
for change is essential and it is courageous.

In order to assist indecisive people I ask them, “What is the worst thing that
can happen if your decision is a mistake? Having individuals realistically evaluate
potential outcomes of their behavior helps them to get things in perspective.
The process of choosing needs to be viewed apart from the decision to be made.
If you choose, you are courageous whether things turn out right or go awry. The
process of choosing empowers and gives us the needed courage to make future decisions.
Once a decision is made, mistakes don`t seem as debilitating. A choice that doesn`t
go according to plans can be changed. Once we have internalized the power of
choosing, we can always select new paths for behavioral change. No one choice
seems so dramatic. It`s through changing behaviors such as decision-making that
we learn personal growth and development.

James P. Krehbiel, Ed.S., LPC is an author, freelance writer and cognitive-behavioral
therapist practicing in

. He recently released Stepping Out of the Bubble available at http://www.booklocker.com/books/2242.html. James can be reached at www.leavingthebubble.blogspot.com.

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