When it’s a big relationship decision we feel anxious, insecure, and sometimes miserable. This article is designed to reduce that emotional strain.
I will propose four simple steps to reduce the stress of decisions while increasing the odds that you make the right decision.
Step one for resolving tough relationship decisions:
Accept the fact that you cannot see the future and therefore cannot make perfect decisions. Accept the fact that you could make the “wrong” decision, and do your best to come to terms with that fact.
Much of the emotional strain that comes during decision-making is really internal resistance. We don’t like the feeling of being out of control. Unfortunately, the future is out of your control. The moment you accept that, your resistance fades, and your emotional tension fades along with it.
No one can perceive, let alone control, all the variables that will determine how things turn out in the future. As a result, you are left with the job of focusing in on the variables that matter the most to you. You are not left with the job of controlling how things actually turn out down the road.
Step two for resolving tough relationship decisions:
Take full ownership of the decision. Don’t wait for others to give an approval. Don’t wait for a consensus from the people you consult with about the decision. For complex decisions, a consensus may never come about.
I believe there is a lot of value in the idea of modeling your behavior after people who have already achieved the kind of success you want in a specific area of life.
For example, if you want to get rich, you can speed up your learning by talking to people who have become rich. Learn the path they took to achieve the goal you aspire to. If you want to run an entire marathon, it helps to ask people who have succeeded what methods they used to achieve that goal.
Modeling your behavior after others is much faster than trial and error. However, when it comes to relationship decisions, you must take ownership.
I say that because you will almost certainly get contradictory advice from people who care about you.
This will add to your worry and emotional strain. That is, unless you treat their advice as nothing more than data. Data to be thrown into a pool of evidence you carefully consider while holding full responsibility for the decision you ultimately make.
When I say, “hold full responsibility” I do not mean you beat yourself up or blame yourself when things go wrong. In fact, I mean exactly the opposite. You hold yourself responsible for making the decision, not the outcome of your decision.
Remember, no one can control outcomes. We can only control the decision-making process itself. Realizing this can relieve a lot of stress. When your stress goes down, your creative intuition is easier to access.
Step three for resolving tough relationship decisions:
Get clear about what you do and do not know. Make a list if you have to. When trying to make decisions, your stress will go down if you focus on what you know, rather than focusing on the things you wish you knew.