Many of us try to avoid the pain that comes along with making big changes in our lives, like quitting an addiction, training for a marathon, dealing with relationship conflict.
I am going to present what I think are ten positive sides to pain so that maybe you'll become more accepting of it and even seek it out in some forms for your personal growth. Obviously, these are all generalizations. If pain is handled poorly, or if you are abused, or exposed to traumatic violence, that is NOT good.
Many people find themselves caught in a pitfall when making a tough decision. We operate on a daily basis with the underlying assumption that there are right things to do and wrong things to do.
While it is absolutely true that certain actions can be right and others wrong, when you are struggling with which route to take with the various options to choose from, you have to let go of the idea that there is a right answer.
I have two simple solutions to this problem.
Solution #1: Understand that the future does not yet exist.
One reason you are stuck wondering which decision is the right one is because you don't have all the information your brain is telling you that you need. Your brain wants to know the future, but the future doesn't exist yet. Not knowing what will happen creates anxiety which makes you doubt which route to take...and this is good. You should consider what the consequences of your actions will be. The problem is when you loose control of these considerations...you start spiraling out of control thinking about every possible little outcome. The reality is anything can happen. You have to recognize this and focus instead on what is most likely to happen, because like I just mentioned, the future does not yet exist.
Solution #2: Shift your locus of control.
Perhaps another reason you are stuck is because your uncertainty is leading you to an overly-external locus of control. This means that you are focused too much on external forces that may cause a decision to go well or poorly. You place too much responsibility for what happens outside yourself, thinking that things happens to you instead of that you make things happen (note: IT'S ALWAYS A COMBINATION OF BOTH). If this is you, try shifting your energy too a more internal locus of control. In other words, you need to be sensitive and aware to how important your attitude is in determining how a decision turns out. For other people, the source of your anxiety may be an overly-internal locus of control. This means you aren't putting enough faith and recognition in both the knowable and unknowable forces that exist beyond your - or anyone else's -control.
That's all I've got! But here is an example to demonstrate external vs. internal locus of control if this extremely important concept is unclear.
Imagine you are up on stage telling a joke, which happens to have a long back story. So, everyone is on the edge of their seats. Then, BOOM, you hit 'em with the punch line.
Nothing. No laughs. Crickets chirping.
What went wrong? If you have an EXternal locus of control, you would say to yourself, "This audience sucks! None of them get my joke!" However, if you have an INternal locus of control, you would say to yourself, "Yikes...I really need to work on my joke-telling skills..."
The "right vs. wrong" trap can cause lots of unnecessary stress and suffering. I hope these two solutions help you to settle upon decisions with grace and ease.
Friendly Warrior is a Personal Development Blog abundant with wisdom and honesty — Ethan Small has been posting to Friendly Warrior since 2013 with the intent of inspiring others to improve their quality of life.
First time here? Start with these posts:
10 Reasons Pain is Good
5 Steps to Eliminate Worry
Persistence Makes Perfect