Who makes decisions for you? The obvious answer to this question, of course, is “I make my own decisions.” We all want to make our own decisions, and most of us believe that we do. However, this is not the case all the time.
Give it some thought and you will be surprised to realize how often someone else is behind your decisions. Perhaps,
- You’re concerned about what people will think or say
- You want to do what is popular
- You’re following someone else’s advice (despite the fact that we don’t entirely agree with it)
- You’re putting yourself in a position where we need to do what a boss or partner suggests
- You’re just following the crowd because it’s the easiest path.
I’m not talking here about just big decisions. This pertains to things as minor as haircuts. If you walked into a room right now, with 50 women in it, 30 of them would have their hair cut about chin-length, mostly all one length, and turning under at the bottom. Is it because they like this style or is it because society does? Men are the same. Most men would have very short hair or even shaved heads. There is absolutely nothing wrong with getting your hair cut in a popular style, if that’s how you want to wear your hair.
How do you know if you’re making your own decision? Well, let’s flip that. It’s easier to know if you’re not making your decision for and by yourself.
- If you find yourself making a list of reasons to explain to someone else why this is the right decision, you may be letting their opinion influence you too much. I once heard someone say, “Who are you trying to convince, me or yourself?” If you have to convince someone else to convince yourself, you probably need to make this decision more personal than it is.
- If you cringe when someone asks you why you made a certain decision, and feel you have to justify it, you may not be used to making your own decisions. Getting used to this could improve your life a great deal, just with one fairly simple change.
- This one may seem obvious, but if you regularly make decisions and then wish you had made a different decision, you’re probably allowing someone else to make way too many of your decisions.
Becoming aware that you’re letting other people influence your decisions is the best way to start making your own decisions. Most of us, barring some real illness or problem, are perfectly capable of making decisions autonomously. We just do not always realize how much our choices are reflecting someone else’s personality or wishes. Once we do realize that, we can stand up for ourselves more in our own minds and in public and do what we really want to do.
To start making your own decisions:
- Become aware of your decision-making process.
- Ask yourself whether this decision is really coming from your heart.
- If you start trying to convince yourself, stop and think about why you need convincing.