A young mother came to me and said she is a very indecisive person. She is unable to stick to her decisions. She will analyze an issue, arrive at a conclusion. She will check with some people, whose opinion she respects. If one of them say she needs to rethink, or say there are other options, she starts to vacillate. Or she has already decided on a course of action, and set things in motion; then someone tells her there was another way, she starts to feel she had taken a wrong decision.
She was feeling embarrassed over this thinking pattern of hers. She wanted to know how she can take decisions and learn to stick to it. I asked her to give me an example.
She told me her son needs to go to a full day school now. So she has started making inquiries and almost finalized a school. I asked her how she came to the decision about this school? What parameters did she take into consideration? She told me the proximity, the reputation of the school and recommendations of friends and relatives. So is she going to admit her son in that school? What was her ultimate decision? What more inputs she needed before she took the final decision?
I asked her if her husband was helping her here. She said he helped her short list the probable schools, but has left the ultimate decision to her. I asked her what happens if her decision is wrong? Will her son be doomed to a mediocre education, or will he drop out because he is unable to cope? She started to laugh. It was so preposterous a picture. I again asked her what happens if her decision turns out not to be too good? She said she could take him out and admit him to another school. So since this option is there, why worry over whether her decision is right or wrong?
The factors she needs to keep in mind is whether her child will be safe there, what security reassurance can the school offer her? Is the school near by, the child does not have to travel long both ways? Can the school be reached in minimum time in any emergency? Is the school centrally located, but in a quiet neighborhood? Is it financially viable for them? Also what is the composition of the classroom? Is it a number that enables the teacher to address all the students? All these can be looked into apart from the factors she has looked into.
She could go to the school and check out the facilities offered there. Do they have airy, well lit classrooms, is there sufficient play area, what extra classes do they offer, like yoga/dance/arts, etc? She could admit the child in that school, knowing very well that he could be put in another school later. He will be older enough to travel, if necessary.
I suggested some parents will recommend some other school. They have their reasons. They probably have a neighboring kid study there, so their child has company. Or they have some relatives’ kid there, or the person could be working there. Or it is closer to their house, it is financially viable for them. There could be any number of reasons why they recommend another school. My client needs to see what suits her situation and the comfort of her child.
She understood the process of taking a decision. She could dither once in a while, that is fine. She can consult people whose opinion she respects. But she needs to take her own decision with all the available information she has.
She can get help in most things. But what happens when she needs to decide in a crisis? She said she has taken some decisions like this, they have turned out well. So why this feeling her decision could be wrong? They could be, but there will be option and ways to correct them. How else will she learn? Can someone keep holding her hand? She needs to recognize her strengths, have belief in self. Did some self esteem building exercises with her.
She seemed happy at the end of the session. She had a genuine problem. This could sound silly to someone who can take decisions. But it is her problem, and she sought help. That shows she is willing to learn. Not wallow in an indecisive state.