Episode 78: Fear of Making the “Wrong” Decision

by | Last updated: Jun 7, 2024 | Podcast

I get it: You don’t want to regret the choice you make (and you don’t want to make your life worse).

But what happens when we dig into what’s really behind your fear of making a “wrong” decision about your marriage? What happens when you challenge the general opinion that there is a right and wrong step forward – toward deepening your marriage or ending in divorce?

In this episode, we’ll find out! I’m talking about the safety net of indecision, regrets and “what if” thinking, plus the uncomfortable back-tracking that sometimes happens, even after you decide.

Listen to the Full Episode:

What You’ll Learn In This Episode:

1:32 – Indecision might be less scary, BUT…
5:49 – What’s “right” and “wrong” for YOU?
7:35 – “WHAT IF… I have regrets later, and I can’t go back?”
9:07 – The most important thing about making a decision…
12:59 – You don’t know what will happen… until you decide

Featured On Fear of Making the “Wrong” Decision

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Struggling to decide whether to stay or go in your marriage and you’re serious about finding that answer?

Book a Truth & Clarity Session with a member of my team. We’ll discuss where you are in your marriage and explore if there’s a fit for you and I to work together so you can make – and execute – the RIGHT decision for YOU and your marriage.

Welcome to the Loving Truth Podcast, where it's all about finding clarity, confidence, and peace in the face of marriage challenges. And now, your host relationship expert and certified master life coach, Sharon Pope. Hello, loves. This is Sharon Pope and this is the Loving Truth. Today I wanna talk to you about the fear of making the wrong decision. Now,

people will say this to me all the time, that the reason they've been stuck in a place of indecision is because they're so afraid of making the wrong decision and therefore regretting whatever decision they make. So it just feels safer to sit in this, in-between place of indecision, not taking any steps forward to make the marriage feel better and not taking any steps forward to ultimately end their relationship either.

Now, when people say, I don't wanna make the wrong decision, what they really are saying is, look, I don't wanna be in a situation in the future that's similar to what I'm in now, or I don't wanna be in worse pain in the future than I'm experiencing today. Or they might be thinking, what if I make the decision to end the relationship and then I realize how good I actually had it and then I can't get it back?

That in their minds would be, I made the wrong decision right now. Why is this even happening? Why is this a fear that creeps up for almost everybody when they're in the stay or go decision? The reason is because we all have a brain stem that part of our brain scientists call it the reptilian brain. We all have that part of our brain that is there to keep us safe,

to keep us alive, and the way it does it is to send us fearful messages all day long that will keep you stuck in this place of indecision because indecision isn't scary. You actually, well, it's not comfortable, but you actually know how to wake up, exist, move through your day, feeling like you're in a place of indecision about your marriage,

but taking a step towards fixing it or evolving it to a place that could feel good for both of you, that feels super vulnerable. And so we're not gonna take any steps towards that and taking steps towards ending the marriage. Well, that just feels terrifying. There's a million reasons why that feels scary. So we're not gonna take any steps in that direction either.

So what's happening is very natural. Nothing's gone wrong. However, this thinking that if I make any decision, I'm so afraid it will be the wrong one, will keep you stuck for years, and I don't want that for you. So I wanna explore all the reasons why maybe there's no such thing as a wrong decision in this scenario. So the first thing I wanna share with you is this idea that what is right and what is wrong.

I want you to think about that for a second. Where does that come from? Because your idea of what is right and wrong in your book of rules for life, I promise you there's some things in there that I would agree with, and there's probably some things in there that I would say, no, not for me. The things that you say are wrong,

I don't see as wrong. Or the things that you say, these are the right ways to be, or the this is the right way to live, I would say, Hmm, maybe not. Maybe that's just perspective. So think about where all of our ideas of right and wrong come from, right? So they come from primarily our upbringing. What were we taught as a child about how to think and how to live and what's right and wrong?

What were we, what were we taught about right and wrong? And then it comes from our life experiences. Someone who has had a really traumatic experience in one aspect of their life is gonna see that in the future as a very dangerous thing and a very unsafe thing where someone else might look at that and say, eh, it's neutral. I don't feel strongly one way or the other about it,

right? Because I didn't have the same life experience. So our life experiences contribute to our ideas about what's right and what's wrong. Our judgments certainly contribute to how we think about right and wrong. And when I say judgments, I mean judgments of ourself and judgments of other people, right? We also, the other things that go into creating our definitions of right and wrong,

the things that we love, the things that we value, and the things that we fear. Those are all contributors that go into this idea of what is right and wrong. And my friends, every single one of them is very personal to each of us. So the idea of what is right and what is wrong is subjective, and it's just a perspective,

and it's very, very personalized to you. So there is no one thing that is universally wrong and things that are universally right? And it's the same way with divorce, right? Even if you think about it like divorce is wrong, and I bet we can get hundreds of thousands of people to co-sign on that idea, but I don't carry that idea.

What if there are situations where divorce is not the wrong answer? So then we start getting into all the fine print, right? Well, divorce isn't wrong. If there's abuse, well, what kind of abuse? Is it physical abuse? Is it emotional abuse? Is it verbal abuse? Right? Then we start getting into all the details of it.

Now, our brains love this sort of black and white binary thinking because it's very simplistic. It's sort of like the lazy part of our brain. We can just pick up like, oh, that's what's wrong, divorce, wrong. Got it. Right? We don't have to really think it through and create our own judgements about it. And I want you to use your critical thinking skills here.

I want you to really think about what is right for you and what is wrong for you. And there's no wrong answer there. It's just your personal perspective based upon your upbringing, your life experiences, your judgements, all of the contributors that go into your personal definitions, okay? Now, the other thing that I wanna share with you is that we have free will.

So if you don't like a choice you make, guess what? You get to make a new choice tomorrow. Even today, if you want to, like if you don't, for instance, like how you're showing up inside your relationship, you could choose to show up differently tomorrow. It's not set in stone. If you don't like the way you are treating your body,

for instance, you could choose to change that today if you wanted to, or you could choose to do it next week or next month or next year, right? So you always get the opportunity to choose again, which means you can't really ever get it wrong because the minute you sort of get off your path, if you're paying attention, then you can pump the brakes and get back on your path and choose again,

right? So you can always make a different choice. Now, because I'm in your head and I know how you're thinking. There are some of you that are going, yes, but Sharon, what if I walk through divorce and then I realize how good I had it and I want my marriage back, and then my partner doesn't want anything to do with me,

or my ex now doesn't want anything to do with me? Look, we get to choose for ourselves. Our free will is about our lives and our choices. So you get to choose. If you know what kind of relationship you want and how you wanna feel in your most intimate relationship, you can now go create that for yourself. But what we don't get to do is choose for other people and say,

oh, I want to create this kind of relationship and I want to create it with you, and you need to choose me just like I'm choosing you. No, my friends, that it doesn't work like that. So we don't get to create choice for other people, and we don't get to use our free will and impose that as control on other people in their lives.

Nope. We get to choose for ourselves. They get to choose for themselves. So while you might have a little fomo, it doesn't mean that you can't have the kind of relationship you ultimately desire. You just don't get to choose exactly who it's with, right? So we've gotta let go of that piece of the control, but we can focus on,

you know what? I can make a different choice any time I want to. And so in that way, if I always get to make a new choice, then how can I ever really get this wrong? Okay? Probably the most important thing about this topic that I wanted to share with you is that this idea that I'm making the wrong decision is based in some flawed thinking.

And I wanna explain this to you a little bit. So it's rooted in this idea that our lives are predetermined. Like you have two doors to choose from, right? Door number one feels known and feels predictable, but also feels uninspired, maybe painful. So I don't really wanna choose that door. Door two, what I suspect is behind that door is a bunch of scary stuff because it's all unknown to me.

So it feels not as safe because it's unknown. It feels risky in that way. It might be more painful, it might be less painful, it might be more inspired, it might be less inspired. We don't actually know. So what we're trying to do is we think that there's this predetermined outcome in our lives, and we just have to choose the right door.

That is not how it works. Let me give you an example. So I had a client who, she and her husband had been separated for six years. I'll call her Jillian, that's not her name, but she had separated from her husband six years ago. And so six years later, she's still in that place of indecision, not knowing whether they can evolve their relationship to a new place,

or if they should just call it quits after all this time. And there was still a great deal of love that there between the two of them. The reason that she had decided to separate so long ago was because her husband had an addiction, he had a problem, and he had to deal with it, and they had young children. And so she felt like,

you know what? I can't keep exposing the kids to this. This isn't healthy. It is at times dangerous for them. And so I need to protect them and pull them out of that environment. And that's what she did. And don't you know that inside of two years post that separation, he did a lot of personal growth work, and he did a lot of work to overcome his addiction,

and six years later, he's still clean and sober, and he's doing great and he's thriving. But one time she said to me, she said, well, maybe I should have left him six years sooner than I did. Maybe I should have left him 10 years ago. Maybe I should have left him, you know, before the kids were even born,

or right after the kids were born. And this is where I, I started to point this out to her. It's not predestined like when you decided to to leave the marriage or to separate from him. At that time, six years ago, he was ready. That was his rock bottom, and he was ready to take action and take steps, really hard steps in a new direction of his life.

But that doesn't mean had you done the exact same thing 10 years ago, that he would've been ready at that time to take those steps. You don't actually know because it's not cause and effect. It's not, you left the marriage and now he got clean and those two are automatically tied together. Maybe that would've happened, but maybe it wouldn't have, and you have no way of knowing that.

So all you have to do is think about what actually is happening, but we've gotta stop tying together this cause and effect, and we've gotta stop thinking about our future as if it's predetermined because we are the ones that are actively creating our future, right? So think about it like this. We're trying to figure out what is our life going to look like six months from now,

12 months from now, two years from now, 10 years from now. But then there's these little things that pop up, right? These little, I don't know, insignificant. No, they're really significant, but they're just nuisances that pop up in our lives that then we have to deal with things like COVID, right? A pandemic that happened. Did any of you see that coming?

Did you know how you would respond to it? Did you know how it would impact your life and your family? Did you know even today how that would impact your life and your family's lives? Like no one saw it coming. And so we don't know what's around the corner. We don't know what six months from now is gonna look like in our world.

What 12 months is going to look like in our world? We have no idea. And it doesn't have to be something bad like a pandemic, but it can be something really great. Like maybe you win the lottery and that changes your whole life. So we've gotta stop with the flawed thinking that we know what life is gonna look like or that it's predetermined,

and we just have to choose the right one. As soon as you step back from that and you really realize how you are creating your life through your choice, through your choices every single day, now you're gonna like let go of some pressure from that valve and you're going to be able to start moving through making decisions much easier. And you won't have this constant thought from that reptilian brain going,

be careful. You don't wanna make the wrong choice. So you get to create your life. And if you don't like it, you do get to choose again and again, and again and again. And the more choices you make, you're the more you're going to learn, the more actions you take along those choices, the more you're going to learn about what works for you,

what doesn't work for you, what feels good for you, what doesn't feel good for you, what feels like truth for you in terms of right and wrong, good and bad, and what doesn't. And all of that goes into who you are becoming, which we don't actually know who that is either, because that's a work in process. So I really wanna plant some seeds with you today around this idea that what if there is no wrong decision and right decision,

it's just what is the best decision that I can make for my life right now given the information that I have today to work from, right? I hope that that gives you something to consider today. Until next time, please take really good care. If you're listening to this podcast because you're struggling to decide whether to stay or go in your marriage and you're serious about finding that answer,

it's time to book a Truth and Clarity session with a member of my team on the call, we'll discuss where you are in your marriage and explore if there's a fit for you and I to work together so you can make and execute the right decision for you and your marriage. Go to clarity for my marriage.com to fill out an application now that's clarity for my marriage.com.