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Making Difficult Choices: 6 Helpful Tips

Deep Thought

“You are your choices” ~Seneca

It was supposed to be the most beautiful day of my life. And on the surface of it, it most definitely was:

Delicious food? Check. Glorious sunshine? Check. Excited guests? Check. Radiantly happy couple? Umm…rain check?

I hadn’t chosen him. He had been chosen for me. I had agreed to the marriage without a doubt, but as I stared down at my henna-painted hands adorned with gold of the 24-carat nature, I felt poor. I felt cheated. I felt like the victim of my own decisions.

The heavy fog of doubt started to cloud over my heart. I cannot go through with this marriage.

I hadn’t even changed out of my wedding clothes, and yet I’d already made the decision to end my marriage. But how? It was clear to me that my family would not approve.

Their disappointment would only be the start. I would be disowned. I’d be shunned from the community and would be more alone than ever.

Or would I?

Despite being full of fear, I had to find the courage to take the first steps in starting the ending. I waited for the courage to come. I waited for quite some time. It didn’t arrive.

Courage is a combination of many things: perspective, introspection, relentlessness, intention. Courage comes after the act.

So instead, I pictured how my life would look 20 years later, in a marriage that had not flourished, after a decision that had not served me. The image of a life I didn’t want fueled the momentum toward what I did want.

And so it was up to me to take the first steps. I had made my choice. And that choice manifested itself in many life lessons that I apply to this very day.

Accounting for the perspective of everyone is paralyzing. We must own the choices we make. Boldness itself is a conscious choice. These tips may help you make it.

1. Feel present.

Yes, you have to deal with the consequences of your choices, but you cannot control what happens as events unfold. It likely won’t be anywhere near as bad as you worry it may be.

My family did not disown me. They supported me in ways I had only secretly imagined.

Focus on what you can control—what you do now.

2. Feel bold.

Once you make the decision, it’s made. Once you take, action, it’s done. Not everybody will agree with you. But you agree with you. And that’s a start.

3. Feel thankful.

I could have been living in a country where marriage laws were gender-biased, where my decision could have remained in my heart and not realized. But I was in a country where the law was on my side, irrelevant of my gender. I had an education; I had the freedom to choose. So many do not have the same opportunity.

4. Feel contagious.

That one bold move I made was not the only one in my life. That’s the thing with taking deliberate action; it becomes addictive. It bursts into other areas of your life—your job, your health, your relationships. It becomes a habit.

5. Feel united.

There is a difference between thinking you can do something alone and realizing you don’t have to. Those that loved me guided my heart. They held me when I was afraid. They strengthened me when I felt defeated.

Remember, you’re not alone with your choice.

6. Feel original.

Doing everything by the book isn’t always advised. Rules have been written for people who choose to follow them. Are you one of those people? Which rules are you going to challenge?

What you do defiantly today could impact the decision someone else makes tomorrow.

What audacious action are you willing to take? Big or small? Right now?

Photo by mrhayata

About Razwana Wahid

Razwana Wahid is the bold, mouthy and boundary pushing founder of reGENERATION, where she explores the East/West identity conflict and gets gutsy about reconciling those two worlds. Caution: Strong opinions imminent.

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  • hi Razwana – I loved the line about courage. I would think that it takes a lot of courage to do things but you’re saying the act of doing it is courage by itself. I’m going to quote on you on that – courage comes after the act!

    As you point out, some of our worst fears in life never materialize. We think the sky is going to fall or the worst thing possible will happen but it doesn’t. Our inner most doubts and insecurities is usually what’s probing us to hold back, not take action and live timid lives.

    I’ve also found small actions to resonate in other areas of my life. It is contagious as you say. Transitioning jobs out of my chosen career path was a bold move that has brought much fulfillment and happiness. And now, I’m choosing different options in other areas of my life as well.

    Thanks for sharing yours story and insights!

  • Razwana

    Hi Vishnu. Feel free to use the courage quote – it makes so much sense, so MUST be shared!

    How awesome that you are seeing multiple areas in your life change with the change you made in your career. How do you feel about this? Scared? Excited?

  • growthguided

    #5 feeling united is incredibly important. When we are going through tough times it is important to have that strong support to move forward. Our minds sometimes stay in self critic mode and don’t allow us to move forward. Having someone you feel connected and supported with is a huge asset and can be that extra push you need to move forward!

  • Razwana

    Couldn’t have said it better myself 🙂