“When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice.” -William James
“I don’t know—what do you think?”
Recently I find myself asking this when my boyfriend asks what I want to do—what movie I want to see, where I want to eat, or how I’d like to spend an off-day.
At first I thought this was just a residual people-pleasing tendency from a time when I measured my worth in approval. But when I look at this more closely, I realize it’s actually about relinquishing the tiny decisions, since inevitably there are lots of large ones that I simply have to make.
Every day we make countless choices that affect our lives in major ways. Do we stay with a job or take a risk and follow our dreams? Do we tell someone how we feel, or do we wait for a better time?
Then there are the decisions we make by making no choice at all—when we remain in a relationship that we really want to end, or we stay in a location even though our heart’s pulling us somewhere else.
Life is a constant stream of choices. That can be overwhelming and sometimes downright exhausting—if we put pressure on every decision, in fear of doing the wrong thing, or making a choice and then somehow missing out because of it.
These big life choices may seem completely divorced from the tiny decisions we make about how we spend our time, but it all comes down to the same question: Do we want to take responsibility for now?
We’re the only ones who can identify what we want and then do something about it, whether it’s what we do with our evenings, what we do with our vacations, or even what we do with our lives.
We can see this as something stressful, and wait it out, hoping someone or something else will tell us what’s the best course of action. Or we can tune into what we want in any given moment, knowing that no matter how things turn out, we will be happy for finding the strength to follow our instincts and choose.
Photo by David Offf