Avoiding decisions

“I don’t know what to think anymore. I used to be so decisive, I knew what I thought and was able to express it so clearly. I just can’t do it anymore though, and I’m really beginning to start worrying about myself”.

The avoidance of decision making can be a classic symptom of being a people pleaser. One of your greatest abilities in life is to actually analyse a situation and determine a course of action, it’s a wonderful gift we have. However, a vicious cycle can easily develop in which you begin to avoid making those important decisions. Then, the more you avoid making decisions, the harder breaking that cycle becomes.

Take the example of a parent who comes from a long line of caregivers. They always seem to have served their families, and enjoy meeting all the needs of people who meet them. All at the expense of their own happiness. You may relate to someone like this, or even feel like you are following a similar pattern for yourself. Until of course you became lost and unable to take part in decision making aspects of life.

You may have said to yourself things like…

  • I don’t care
  • I want to make others happy
  • It’s not that important
  • I don’t know what I think
  • I just can’t decide

So how did this start happening you may ask? Well, there may well be a number of factors involved.

Poor self-esteem – due to a lack of self confidence people pleasers have a need for some form of external validation. To the point that doing things for others will lead to some approval or acceptance.

Perfectionism – some people need everything to be ‘just right’, and that can include how others think and feel.

Past Experiences – Difficult or even traumatic past events can be a contributor. Those who have suffered abuse may try to please others in order to avoid triggering any further abusive behaviours in other people.

Insecurity – If you please other people then there will be no risk or a reduced risk of them not liking you. So you therefore go to all lengths to make sure you are making others happy.

What about considering for a moment on taking a different path…

  • Your family / partner needs to know what you think
  • Making a decision is a great way of expressing your personality
  • Your opinion is worthwhile
  • When you flex those decision making muscles, they naturally become stronger
  • Indecisive can even become annoying to others