“Everything you say yes to means saying no to something else,” Marie Forleo. Going with the theme of letting go, we have to be prepared for the fact that accepting a future that is meant for us means DECIDING to accept it—which means saying no to anything else. It doesn’t have to be a painful thing. In fact deciding, removing circumstances that aren’t meant for you, makes everything a lot clearer. It removes the extraneous and shows us where to go.
Highly creative people have a tendency to pursue multiple things at the same time. It can be a good thing because they have the ability to think outside the box and get things done. The down side is that when people go after multiple things at the same time, it isn’t always easy to finish them. So deciding, prioritizing, and creating actionable steps makes you more productive and gets it done.
Having anxiety makes deciding terrifying because you’re always weighing the possibilities and second-guessing your decisions, always afraid that you made the wrong choice. Sometimes it’s more than just fear of a wrong choice—I have often berated myself for not knowing better, even while I was still learning, and I have felt the heavy weight of loss when something didn’t turn out how I thought it would. Getting over that means shifting perspective. It isn’t about losing out or making the wrong decision, it’s about learning and being guided toward what is meant for you. To this day I struggle with this because I’m not able to see the end result or the big picture—and I love knowing what I’m working toward and I want to know that my efforts will be worth it. Maybe it’s about the effort being put in making it worth it; It’s not about what you’re owed for the work you do, it’s about making the work you do worth it no matter what.
Part of what made making decisions so scary for me was the idea of committing to one decision for a long time. If I chose to do or be one thing, I was afraid that was who I had to be forever. I didn’t have much flexibility in my life growing up so I didn’t really learn about letting go and being myself—or that our definitions of self could change as often as we needed them to. I find it ridiculous now, but I felt I had to prove I KNEW what was best for me at all times, and that I was always right. If I needed to shift gears and be someone else because the choices I made weren’t working for me, that would mean I was wrong. In those situations I had a tendency to create stories so it wasn’t my fault (hey, my therapist says we shouldn’t date anymore…) or I denied completely (this job makes me so happy, I love working Wednesday through Sunday!) or I ran away (I have no idea who you are).
I used to feel bad admitting what didn’t work for me because I thought it made some statement about the other person as well—and I didn’t want them to feel bad. I just didn’t know how to communicate that it wasn’t working for me. Standing my ground didn’t come easily to me because I wanted to make people happy and that is why it was easier to either run away or just go along with what they wanted. I didn’t want to be responsible for making other people angry because I was the nice girl. It wasn’t until very recently that I understood making decisions for yourself doesn’t make you mean or nice, it only means you’re in touch with yourself.
It has taken a lot of work to get in touch with the parts of me that are honest enough to declare what works for them. Navigating self-awareness brings to light many of the things we think we fear about ourselves because, no matter what, there are some dark parts to each of us. It’s about deciding to integrate the light and the dark. It’s also about understanding the malleability of who we are. We aren’t stuck in one identity—we often have to shift between multiple roles in a day. And that person doesn’t need to be the same forever, they just need to be able to shift. It’s ironic that I used to think surviving meant sticking to my guns (unless it made someone unhappy) but it’s really about reading the scene and moving with it. So, I have decided to embrace the ever changing tide of my life and see where it gets me.