Ep #70: Making Decisions | Becoming You Again Podcast
There's a pattern that is common in women who go through divorce when it comes to making decisions. Many women have learned to defer making decisions to someone outside of them believing that they know better or they have more authority or knowledge. This pattern keeps them small. They believe that their opinion isn't worthwhile or valid.
The problem is when a divorce happens, this cycle of confusion around making decisions continues into life as a divorced woman. It becomes commonplace to agonize over making decisions because there is an underlying believe that they are not fully in charge of their own lives or will choose 'wrong' making life even more challenging.
In this podcast I'm breaking down why making decisions is so challenging for women after divorce and why so many of us continue to choose to stay confused about what to do, instead of deciding. I'll teach you the two main components necessary to being able to make confident decisions as a divorced woman and how to overcome that fear that is holding you back.
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I know what it feels like to second guess every decision, even small ones like what to have for dinner. I've been that mom who cries herself to sleep after divorce because I'm so worried that I've made terrible decisions that have ruined my kids' lives and that I just don't have the capability to know what are the 'right' decisions and what are the 'wrong' ones. If you can relate to this, then you need to come work with me. Since my divorce six years ago I've learned the tools and techniques needed to make decisions confidently and to trust myself to know what's best for me and my kids. I can teach you how to build that confidence in yourself as well, so being confused about what to do in your life will be something that you used to do. Schedule your free consult by clicking here.
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Full Episode Transcript:
Welcome to becoming You Again. The podcast to help you with your mental and emotional wellbeing during and after divorce. This is where you learn to overcome the trauma of your divorce by reconnecting with yourself, creating lasting emotional resilience and living a truly independent life so your life will be even better than when you were married. I’m your host Karin Nelson.
Hello my friends. Welcome back to the podcast. Today I am talking about making decisions and I want to just jump right into this one because I think it is something that is really important that so many of us women struggle with as we go through a divorce or after divorce.
And this can be all kinds of decisions; some that might be considered ‘small’ like whether they want to spend money on a kayak or not, and some that might be considered ‘big’ like whether they should sell the family home and move into an apartment. But there’s a pattern that I see in women who go through a divorce and I’m including myself in this pattern, because this is something that I also have struggled with and it’s a pattern where we have learned to defer our decision making to someone outside of us believing that they will know better or they must have more authority or knowledge so we better just let them decide. It’s a pattern where we have learned that our opinion may not be worthwhile and so instead we better get the consensus to chime in and decide for us.
I want you to think about. How many times have you gone to a restaurant and asked the server what option on the menu is best? Or given the server two choices and said which do you like better? Because instead of going with what you really like or what sounds interesting or yummy, you turn to a complete stranger who you have no idea their background, no idea their experiences, or even their tastes to guide you to their favorite and then you go with that. I am the first to raise my hand and say I’ve totally done this. I can’t say I’ve done it recently but I know I have been this person and I was this person for years. I know this might sound like a silly example but I want you to see how easy it is for us to defer making a decision and you may not even realize that you’re doing it as often as you are.
So why is making decisions such a challenging thing for so many of us? One of the reasons we agonize over making decisions after divorce is because we don’t fully believe that we are in charge of our own lives. For years we’ve been living a life where we’ve let others kind of tell us what to think and feel and so when you find yourself in this situation like divorce where there is no longer that person dictating or driving that, then you really question yourself and your ability to decide.
For example in my own marriage I had a story going on that my decisions weren’t valid or they didn’t hold weight, unless they happened to be the wrong decision and then of course it was all my fault. Right. Like my husband at the time would say do you like this one better or that one better, of whatever you know he wanted an opinion on. And I would tell him, and then he would choose the opposite of what I said. And when this would happen I would use this as proof that my opinions weren’t right or correct because he didn’t agree with me and that meant that my choices were wrong which then meant, to myself. I’m making this all up in my head, right, that I wasn’t as valuable as he was. I eventually stopped saying my opinion, because I believed that it wasn’t good enough so I would say something like, ‘They’re both good.” Or I would look to clues as to which one he was leaning toward and then choose that one. It’s a very people pleasing place to be. People pleasing way to live your life.
And along those same lines if I made a decision for the family in whatever way and it didn’t turn out as I expected, then of course that meant that I always choose wrong and it’s always my fault. So in both of these situations I started to believe a story that my life would be better, and I would have better outcomes, and I would still be loved and I would still feel safe if I just stopped making decisions and let my ex or literally anyone else tell me how to think, how to feel, or what to do. I felt that if I made these ‘wrong’ and I’m going to wrong in quotes. Probably every single time I say the word wrong in this podcast you can just assume that I have quotes around it because wrong is so subjective. But I felt that if I made these ‘wrong’ decisions that I would no longer be loved and I would no longer feel secure in my relationship. And I wanted to feel love and I wanted to feel secure and I wanted to believe that everything was okay and the best way in my brain to do that was to let him make the decisions.
But the problem here, if you have been living your life that way like I was and I think probably a lot you can relate to this, is that when you go through a divorce you get so practiced at not trusting yourself, that every decision you make moving forward feels wrong or you’re constantly questioning yourself, was that the right thing? What if it doesn’t turn out like I think it will? What if a year, or five years, or 10 years down the road I find out this was wrong? Then what am I going to do? And because you learned to stay small and defer your opinions to feel