I was never a very good multiple choice test taker. Invariably, I’d be the first to finish, last to turn in, and always the one with the most switched answers. I could never understand the optimism that others felt since for me, it was a battle against my own confidence. Give me a fill in the blank, write out your answer test any day! At least the answer would be solely my own. No need to debate on the other possibilities offered by someone smarter than me.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that multiple choice tests set me up for a life of self doubt. Being unable to decide between a cream horn and a danish at the pastry counter is probably a bit too much to ask of such a thing. But it definitely served to strengthen the feeling that over and over again any decision I made was fraught with (negative) possibilities. There was only ONE right answer and more often than not I’d erase it after an agonizing chew of my pencil. Giving me choices definitely didn’t make my life easier.
Being decisive, and especially when it comes to my own desires, is something I’m struggling with in my therapy sessions. All my life I’ve been allowing others to make decisions for me. Sure, I was there somewhere making the ultimate choice, but I wasn’t making me the key part in the process. I realized that a lot of the decisions were based on what I thought would make others happy. Even if I didn’t believe in the decision anymore, I was still making it based on expectations. In a lot of ways, I was self-sacrificing my own wants and desires for what I thought others wanted and trying to derive happiness from their happiness.
It wasn’t sustainable.
I was failing to satisfy my own needs and therefore becoming more and more bitter, and more and more unhappy.
So I’m in the process of changing my outlook on the decisions “I’ve” made in the past and making new ones that are in sync with who I am right now. If those needs change, then my decisions change and I don’t beat myself up about it. Apparently the key to this is to focus on me, what makes me happy and then acting on those beliefs. Even at the pastry counter. 🙂
This isn’t easy. It’s downright scary and it’s as hard as breaking through concrete with a small hammer. I’m making baby steps towards this new assertiveness with decisions at restaurants, stores and other “low risk” situations. So far, I’ve felt more empowered after each decision. I always feel like I’m going to “fail” in some way if I get it “wrong”, but after each successive “success”, I’ve come to realize that life isn’t always about failing and winning.
It’s about building and creating.