There are some things that are rules. What is right and wrong is clearly outlined. We can not run red lights. We can not steal. There are laws against those things. Then there are things that are socially inappropriate, like yelling in people’s faces. It’s not against the law, but it is against social protocol.
But most of the decisions we make in our lives, day to day, moment to moment, are gray level decisions. In these instances there is no clear right or wrong. I once made lasagna and someone told me I’d made it incorrectly. I do two noodle layers in my lasagna, and this person was insisting that lasagna was supposed to have three layers of noodles. If you go online and search for lasagna recipes you will find dozens of different variations. Everybody puts their own little personal spin on it. The way one person chooses to make theirs isn’t right or wrong, it’s their personal preference. It’s a gray area.
Many times we like to treat our preferences like they are rules, but they’re not. If you run a red light, someone could get seriously hurt. If you choose to add any extra layer of noodles in your lasagna, the world will not change. There is a difference.
Lots of the things we’re deciding on: what shirt to put on, what book to read, whether or not to go to the movies, where to work, these are decisions that live in the gray.
So, how do we make space for making a choice without putting so much pressure on ourselves to get it right?
Ask yourself why it matters. If it matters to you because you feel like you need to make the perfect decision, remind yourself that this does not exist in most instances. Lean into your preference and what feels good to you.
Give yourself the opportunity to fail. It’s ok if the choice you make doesn’t go the way you thought it would. It’s ok to start over and choose something else.
Allow yourself to try something new. Take a chance and step outside of your comfort zone.
Be honest with yourself about the consequences. What is the worst that could happen if you choose one option or another? Are there any consequences at all?
We just have to allow ourselves to decide what we’re going to do based on our own judgement and preferences and be less concerned with getting it right all the time. Sometimes there is no right decision, just the decision you make.
“Deep Dive: Myleik Teele on What No One Tells You About Parenthood,” on the Good Inside with Dr. Becky podcast.
Which of your daily decisions are black and white? Where is the gray?
Do you put pressure on yourself to make the right decisions? Why?
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