Indecisiveness or sitting on the fence tends to get a bad press, which is not always deserved. Sometimes indecisiveness is an important part of transitioning and change. Here is why.
Indecisiveness can be frustrating and infuriating…
… in others and in ourselves. We have all been there and know it can
- test our patience;
- lead to conflict;
- stifle creativity;
- cause anxiety and depression.
Reasons for indecisiveness can vary.
We may …
- not trust ourselves to make the right decision;
- have an issue with taking responsibilities and making commitments;
- be afraid of making mistakes;
- worry our choices may lead to conflict with others;
- not want to get blamed;
- were not encouraged to make decisions and therefore struggle now;
- not know how decision making works and have no tools to make choices;
- be risk averse;
- lack enthusiasm and feel cut off from life and do not want to connect;
- be afraid to say ‘no’ and instead respond with indecisiveness.
These are just some reasons, which all deserve exploration.
Indecisiveness in itself does not need to be a problem. Instead, our attitude towards it may be the real issues.
Indecisiveness can signal transition.
Sometimes we are just not ready to make a choice. Because more thinking and exploration is necessary.
Responding to indecisiveness with constant impatience and frustration, as if we are in the wrong, is not a helpful attitude. On the contrary.
Self blame can be toxic in situations, when we need our focus and energy to decide on important and perhaps life changing issues.
Self criticism can keep us stuck and dithering.
Not trusting ourselves can be disempowering and stifles personal growth.
A more helpful approach towards indecisiveness can be to:
- acknowledge that we cannot yet make a decision: “I am not yet ready.”
- acknowledge our possible frustration: “I feel frustrated.”
- allow the indecisiveness, and be genuinely inquisitive: “Why can’t I make a decision? I wonder what is going on?”
In my own experience, this approach calms me down, deals with my frustration and gives me more space to think and listen to my thoughts and feelings.
Responding to indecisiveness with frustration can be counter productive: We may end up feeling stuck, even more confused and unclear.
Accepting that we are sitting on the fence can enable us to realise, that we are not yet ready to take the next step. Because ideas and possibilities need to mature a bit further.
When we can ease off ourselves in that way, then we may soon come to a point, when we intuitively know, that we are ready to move on.
That is when decision and transition happens.
Embrace your indecisiveness. Because might help you to make a good choice.
Join my newsletter
Need some advice? Submit your question to my #DearKarin advice column here. Karin Sieger BA (Hons), MA (PsychCouns), Reg. MBACP (Accred) is a therapist and writer. All rights reserved © Karin Sieger. Neither articles nor videos substitute medical advice or therapy.