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6 Mistakes That Keep You in Indecision

It is so easy to make the same choice over and over and over again.
Making a bold decision, and stepping into something new is almost impossibly difficult.

Usually we have to be chased by something achingly painful – like a viciously unhappy relationship. Or deep physical discomfort. Or a job we hate that does not pay us enough.
And even then, how many of us cling to the old ways, as if there was some kind of salvation there?

It is way easier to cling to the pain that is known, rather than to jump to the potential discomfort of something new.

But. You know, as well as I do –
There is no better feeling than learning to expand into the woman you were born to become.
And there is no way to expand in a truly profound and meaningful direction that does not require making a decision when faced with the choice point: turn left or right? Keep going, or make a u-turn?

Today, I want to talk about that choice point, the line in the sand when you decide . . . or not. Because this is the moment when women often get stuck in the formaldehyde of indecision.

Whether it’s what career path to follow, what guy (or gal) to date, whether or not to get married, get divorced, move across the country . . . or just what to have for dinner — I notice women have a chronically hard time making decisions.

We flip, we flop.
We doubt, we fret.
We judge, we disapprove.
We hate ourselves for our own indecision.
And then, we start the whole cycle over again.

We lose weeks, months, years, in indecision.
It’s one of the things keeping us small as women – and indecision is no more than a symptom of our disconnection with our power source, our turn on, and our truth.

Today I want to shine some light on the primary cul de sacs women find themselves circling – the patterns that keep us from making powerful, aligned, and life-changing decisions.


If you are stuck in indecision, in any area of your life, see if you can relate (and let me know in the comments)!

1 – We procrastinate and avoid the choice.

Putting it off, putting YOU off. “Maybe the timing will be better next year.” “Once I get to the bottom of my to do list, I’ll take the time to explore this.” How many of us knew our relationship wasn’t working for years before we ended it? How many of us knew we were done at a job long before we got fired or quit? What might have been possible if we had leapt sooner? Could life have been sweeter? More true to the women we truly are?

2 – We try to “figure it out” and forget to FEEL.

Feelings are true. Feelings never lie. Feelings exist to promote and create growth. And yet all of us, as women, one time or another, have been told our feelings are wrong or bad or way too much. How can we begin to trust an aspect of ourselves that we have been warned against our whole lives? Of course our ego has to jump in and start to criticize, diminish and devalue the way we feel. We have been trained to deny our deepest truth since we first recognized we had one.

3 – We don’t give ourselves permission to choose what we really want.

Choosing what we really want is scary – it forces us to expand and grow, create and recreate. At a deep, basic level we have been trained to judge, refuse, and resist our truth. Sometimes, a huge desire will terrify us. If we have been single for a long time, and suddenly we wake up wanting to get married or have a baby – that can seem absolutely overwhelming. If we suddenly want to give up our high-powered career and write a novel – we could doubt our own sanity. We generally do not trust the veracity of what it is we desire.

We have been saturated in rampant lack of permission to want what we want. Rather than stay in the flowing waters of desire, we sink into the muck of ‘how’? The biggest block between a woman and her desire is when she gets all of her thinking mired in ‘how’.

4 – We look for answers outside ourselves.

We feel like we have to get permission from Daddy. Or Mommy. Or the stand-ins for those folks, like our partners or our boss. We run to “Honey, should I do this thing?” versus “Honey there is this amazing thing I am longing to do – can you help me figure out how?” We have absolutely no training in how to source ourselves and our nearest and dearest from the clarity of our desire. It is time for us to enroll others in support of what it is we want, and to teach everyone in our world to conspire with us.

5 – We isolate.

Even though we seek opinions from other people, we rarely receive the deep support and witness required to make a solid decision that is serving our highest truth. If I ask a woman who continually compromises herself if I should continue to compromise myself, what portal do you think she will hold open? Women need other women who are committed to living their desires, to inspire us to live ours. We need women who are continually opening new doors for themselves, to inspire the opening of doors in ourselves. We need community like we need oxygen.

6 – We’re really comfortable with settling and suffering.

It’s easy to live a miserable life. It takes no courage to live a mediocre life. Do nothing, change nothing, and you will have a mediocre life. But a glorious life – a challenging and creative life – requires risk. There is profound discomfort in shifting. But there is nothing so powerful and courageous as a woman standing for herself, and pirouetting across a new dance floor. And you know what? You don’t have to have one dance lesson to pirouette. You just have to have the urgency to grow a tiny bit more than the inertia to stay the same.

In the comments, I’d love to know — where are you in the indecision loop, in your life right now? Which of the patterns above resonates the most? Or, if you’ve moved through resistance and made a powerful choice — what helped you get there?


P.S. This week’s post was inspired by all the women who have recently walked through indecision and found their truth around joining us for Mastery this year. Thank you for reaching out and following your courage.

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61 Comments / Leave a Comment

61 comments… add one

  • http://www./ December 14, 2016, 5:09 pm

    I appreciate the response about wanting something now. I am graduating college and have a full-time job for afterwards, but for some reason I am extremely nervous and scared things won’t work out for me. Hearing this-that things will fall into place but not NOW, really helped me take a step back and appreciate being in the moment…thanks!

  • Jess September 18, 2016, 5:31 pm

    I recently moved across the country, from Pennsylvania to San Diego. After years of tossing around the desire to move, I finally did it. And now that I am here, I have been incredibly emotional and overwhelmed with feelings of displaced. What am I doing here? As I cruise around town applying for job after job after job, I continue asking myself, what is my purpose here? How can I be of service here while stepping into new roles of myself here in a new place? How do I stay true to myself as I’m surrounded by newness, new people, new communities, and asking myself daily where do I belong?

    Each day I make time for myself. I go for walks, I get on my yoga mat, I sit quietly at the sea in meditation speaking to God and quietly being with all of my current emotions. I feel I have so many avenues I want to step into, but do not know how to carry them out. I feel each one requires attention and time, and I don’t know where to begin.

    I know my purpose here is to teach, is to connect. I am slowly, humbly, accepting, that things all take time. That if I fall down 7, I will get up 8. I struggle with meeting my financial means and following my purpose. I have made a lot of bad decisions in the past that have pushed me further into debt. So naturally, now I feel led to put my passion on hold and work very hard to release myself from debt.

    I feel wayward and ungrounded. Which is the opposite way I imagined I would feel after finally making the leap and moving out here.

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  • Michelle Christie - MACsWomen July 12, 2016, 9:40 am

    This post truly hits home. As women, especially from a business perspective, I hear so much from my clients and experience myself the agony we put ourselves through when it comes to stepping into the unknown.

    We understand that doing the same things over and over only gets us the same results, yet we freeze up. Indecision is not so much what I struggle with, it’s definitely procrastination. I often find myself doing 3 or 4 others things, not to do the one thing I know I need to do.

    No matter where you are in life and in your career, it is truly a challenge at times to get going with the “thing” we Know we need to get done.

    Again, great post. Thanks for sharing!

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  • Nicole P June 1, 2016, 1:01 pm

    As you were talking about our questioning of following desires, my mind instantly drifted to my years of desiring to quit my job and write a book. I can’t quit my job, but last week I started writing the first 8 pages of my memoir. Next year, I am planning to go to graduate school to become a teacher. What I really want is a master’s degree in creative writing so I can create a comfortable life doing what I love. I always fear and doubt my ability to be successful but then a little voice keep calling out to me to do it. I am in a place now of trying to make very real choices about the next step in my life. I am afraid of creating more student loan debt and still not having a decent income. I am worried that if I am a teacher, I will discover that I hate the school system. I go back and forth and in the next few months, I need to really make big decisions about the direction of my life.

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  • Emmy May 1, 2016, 7:49 am

    Ó ez nagyon szép amit csináltál és maga a forma is ! Eltudnám képzelni, hogy esik a hó és ezzel a kiazvºróÃsl csinálom a mézes sütiket! Remélem visszatér hozzám Fortuna mert már elpártólt nagyon!:(

  • Janelle February 21, 2016, 7:30 am

    I am 56 and drive myself and my family crazy with my indecision and “wishy-washyness”. I honestly thought I could attribute it all to menopause (I am pretty much “post”.) but now thanks to you I know my issue is being insecure with myself. I constantly waver back and forth, am I doing the right thing, do I look fat in this shirt, (yes, I have let myself get out of hand too!) should I have done this differently and it’s constantly, day after day. I don’t LIVE anymore. I don’t do anything for myself anymore. I don’t value myself anymore. I don’t believe in myself anymore. That’s the bottom line. Now, to do something about it. Thank you.

  • Emma February 11, 2016, 9:15 am

    Can you help me with my indecision? My life is a mess. Married, no physical contact but comfortable and financially supported. Had flings, but nothing serious. Met a guy, the spark was electrifying. Started an affair. He wanted me to himself – I left my husband which hurt him so badly. Moved in with the other guy and his 3 kids, they all love me, but I never gave myself fully – too scared to commit, wanting the back up of my marriage, the safety of my husband. Left the other guy after 6 months, moved into a mobile home, husband would have had me back but I missed the other guy so much. Went back. Things were okay, still had the safety net though, could come and go from the husbands house to see the dog or just be alone. Other guy decides we should move to Spain. I didn’t tell him I didn’t want to until 6 weeks before we were leaving. Was so scared of losing my past. We split in an unpleasant manner – not surprising – then yet again I missed him terribly, managed to convince him to let me join him. I was there for 6 months, missed home terribly – and my past life – big row, he sent me home, just before Christmas. Again I went back to him for a week over New Years, thought I wanted to be there for good but had to come back to the UK for my belongings. Since then he’s either hated me or wanted me to go back, all o wanted was to be there – now the ferry’s booked and I’m so unsure of what I want. He treats me like a princess, the sex is amazing, he gives me all that my husband didn’t – except security, emotionally and physically. Husband and I have finally talked about divorce – it was what he wanted, amicable, I accepted it. Other guy got nasty with me again, tried to fight it for a while but then accepted it was over – so the next day he changed his mind and that was when I booked the ferry, putting myself in debt and so much confusion. I feel ill in every way and don’t know which way to turn. My friends say no to Spain, that I should just cut lose from them both, but what if I never find either the passion or the security again?

  • Andrea November 20, 2015, 6:54 pm

    I loved reading this article today! In my entire life no one ever warned me of the murky danger of living a mediocre life. I have been stuck for a while…I don’t want to be stuck anymore. Thanks for the push!

  • Madison September 18, 2015, 12:06 am

    Thank you for writing about this topic, this blockade to our growth. This is something all too familiar. Unfortunately, I was raised in a way that made me self-restrict myself for the sake of others, or for the sake of confirming to systematic norms. Moving to a foreign city, where I knew nobody, made the reality of surviving and succeeding in a traditional university my biggest priority. I lacked the community and the support, the close friends who reassured me that I may or may not be crazy, but at least my opinions, thoughts, and desires are heard. My biggest restriction is this silly idea that I am not important, and that I cannot make a difference, or that nobody cares. Off of this mental block, I fall into the habits you mentioned above. Recently, I have realized that I have been idle in the indecision phase, and I am working to inspire and motivate myself to follow my dreams and build an inner desire. I have been working to more-openinly share my thoughts, feelings, opinions, and goals. I am realizing the importance of socializing and debating, and staying active and explorative. Thank you again, for the reassurance you instilled in myself and so many other women- the reassurance that this is not the best way to live and that it is possible to make leaping changes forward from now on. It ‘s about taking the risk to reach a better lifestyle.

  • Jane July 29, 2015, 3:26 am

    #5 We isolate speaks to me, esp, “Women need other women who are committed to living their desires, to inspire us to live ours . . .”

    This is like the ahah moment for me on why sharing my journey would be valuable to others, why it is blogable, sharable, etc.

    I have created (working tirelessly on the craft since 2009) a picture book series that is just right for reading together with 2-5 year olds. They are ridiculously warm, fun, different, and original – my brag. And I am so excited for all the joy they bring to test readers!

    This brings me to your point #4: agents/publishers holding this role of approval and permission. If I helped enough women understand why this series is so useful and great and enlisted their support while encouraging their own desires, I could eliminate the fear and hesitation of the gatekeepers and move forward with the goal to bring today’s prereaders these fun stories that enable real-time togetherness and model much needed prosocial behavior.

  • Zoe May 30, 2015, 4:46 pm

    I go through indecision whenever I try to decide what awesome thing I should do in my future- should I go to India, Japan, Ireland, Australia, London? Should I focus on health and nutrition or my writing or try to pursue a blogging career? And of course I end up doing none of these things. I am always reminded of the Sylvia Plath poem, to not pick a fig branch for fear of not being able to pursue the other one and ending up with nothing. The only thing I know for certain is that I want to be a writer, and for that of course I write. But I feel like I can have a marvelous life while doing so.

  • Suzie March 28, 2015, 11:55 am

    I chose family over my desires back in time. I was insecure and lonely. #2 and #5 are the most relevant ones for me, I think. Reading the article literally brought tears in my eyes since i’ve been thinking about my feelings and desires lately. And the scary thing i realized is, I don’t have any desires anymore. I dig in and try to find little something but none. I feel like i live in a parallel universe and nothing seems real anymore.

  • Lesley March 26, 2015, 9:14 am

    I’ve realized that where I have had the most expansion in my courage and business is because of my amazing man. He knows what I want and what I am out to create for women having amazing, delicious relationships in the world, and he stood for me with unwavering support to give me that final push to go for it (instead of post-pone which I had already done twice!). I hosted my first weekend workshop and it was truly one of the best days of my life coming home to him on the Sunday after it was complete. Purpose fulfilled 🙂

  • Jenn March 23, 2015, 6:52 am

    Wow, the timing of this blog couldn’t have been better. I suffer from #6…. Just sticking with it; to what I know. The security of it all because the buck stops at this single gal and her mortgage. But lately it has becoming glaringly obvious I need to change jobs/ leave a “great” company that has become so distasteful, so arrogant and elitist I just can’t connect. The many what ifs swirl around in my head before taking root in the pit of my stomach. I know I need to be brave, have faith and stand in my power. I want that glorious life.

    Thanks so much for this post.

  • Sanny March 20, 2015, 10:47 am

    Firmly mired in the middle of all this. Hoping to learn a path out. Thanks for this!

  • SG Karen March 20, 2015, 9:18 am

    My indecisiveness comes from fear and lack of trust. Fear of not doing “it” perfectly, and not trusting in myself to know what’s right for me. This keeps me incredibly stuck, not sure which road to take, and so far away from my feelings! When I can quiet my head (which isn’t easy!), only then can I hear my true voice. I feel as though I used to be better at this, and got lost along the way. I’m throwing my hat into the ring and trusting that the Mastery Class is going to shake my shit up and give me the support I need to let myself go and feel empowered once more!

  • Marian March 19, 2015, 12:07 pm

    After being married for 34 years, raising 3 children (the youngest is a Senior in HS this year), I moved out with my youngest into our own apartment. The decision to finally do this took me a very long time because of the family situation, not wanting to hurt my husband (who had been verbally and emotionally abusing me during the 34 years), and the fear of not being able to make it on my own. When the verbal and emotional abuse was being directed to my youngest child as well and I saw how it was affecting her, I was able to stop vacillating and made the move.
    I thank all my Angels in heaven and on earth who have helped and supported me during this time of transition. My daughter and I are very happy!

  • Sue March 19, 2015, 11:30 am

    I have found that making a decision always works. The decision is not always a good one. But the bad ones actually give you the most power. When I make bad decision, it is a learning experience for me. And, recovering from bad decisions actually makes me feel powerful. I have the mindset, “if I got thru that, I can get thru anything or the next thing”. So, I am always in favor of taking the risk to decide. Afterall, leaning into my fears is my path for greatest growth.

  • Sue March 19, 2015, 11:29 am

    I have found that making a decision always works. The decision is not always a good one. But the bad ones actually give you the most power. When I make bad decision, it is a learning experience for me. And, recovering from bad decisions actually makes me feel powerful. I have the mindset, “if I got thru that, I can get thru anything or the next thing”. So, I am always in favor of taking three risk to decide. Afterall, leaning into my fears is my path for greatest growth.

  • Emma March 18, 2015, 6:59 am

    I do all of these things!! And have done for as long as I can remember. As a child, my dad used to take us kids out to the shops to choose our own xmas present. My brother and sister would pick something within 10 minutes, but I would feel so overwhelmed and would spend all day searching for the perfect gift for myself. They’d all get annoyed with me cause I’d end up not being able to decide and so my dad would say that I could pick something next time he came to visit. He always forgot and I never reminded him. So I would usually miss out, except for the years that I panicked and just picked the same as my sister. I feel like I’m still living in this pattern even now, although I’m now painfully aware of what I’m doing. It took me 5 years to build up the courage to leave my unhappy marriage! And now that I have a child and my decisions impact him, I feel like I’ve gotten even worse at making decisions!!! Aaaargh. Thanks for the post Gena. Now I know to… Feel… Give myself permission to have what I want! … Find someone to talk it through with (without asking for any advice!)… and just decide!! I guess nothing’s written in stone, right? What’s the worst that can happen?! 🙂

  • Regina March 18, 2015, 5:39 am

    I can definitely say I have done all of the above! My biggest decision is leaving my job to start my own business. And, I am happy to say I set the date to give my notice!

  • Birgit March 18, 2015, 3:35 am

    thank you! This came in the exact moment … where I am putting of a decision where the feeling is clear … dont go, yet my head keeps talking why I cant cancle that thing kind of last minute ….

    Big love an hug to you

  • SG Ann M. March 18, 2015, 3:18 am

    Ah, this is such a good one. Thank you for exploring this uber-important topic, and for delineating its nuances so clearly. I’d say I often flit about between methods/mistakes 1, 3, and 5. I have also managed to make some powerful choices in my life, though, especially in the past few years. And tuning into my body, emotions, and intuition was really central in that, as well as connecting with women (and a few great men) who tethered me to my deeper truth and desires. And also definitely giving myself permission to want what I really want. Which is easier for me to do when I break the isolation. Basically there have been times when I’ve been able to do the opposite of the 6 “mistakes.” Choosing the antidotes to, and opposites of, these patterns. Often on a daily basis. It’s how I chose to leave NYC and move back to Maine, how I chose to come back to NYC, how I chose to get back on the horse following my dream to be a working actress, etc., etc. Interestingly enough, I’ve found it’s easier for me to follow my instincts around relationships than it is around career stuff. Somehow I seem to trust myself and the GPS more in one area of my life than the other. And I’ve found that in talking to other women they also often have this–sometimes the same ratios as me, sometimes the opposite.

  • Joy March 18, 2015, 12:15 am

    I feel like I can go round the merry go round with indecision. I have recently said yes to the bigger things ( new career goals and projects), but then I notice my feet get a little tied in moving forward. I can get overwhelmed with the details, and not want to focus my energy. Making it harder to decide what step to take next. Maybe I am thinking there is a right and wrong step so I just freeze. I also have come to the place of feeling I don’t want to do this alone. I am attracting people to help, but still there are times when I have a specific need and I get overwhelmed because I haven’t enrolled the right person or found someone to assist me. Which can cause a shut down or freeze situation and it feels like indecision regarding moving forward. Thanks for the inspiration to look at all of this with clarity and love. xo

  • Barbara March 17, 2015, 8:26 pm

    I was 37 when I became aware of my resentment toward my parents who wouldn’t let me major in art in either high school or college. That was when I realized I could let go of the resentment and get my art degree. I graduated 3 years later with a Masters from Pratt Institute.
    I was 48 when my husband’s employer went bankrupt. I was working at a University at the time. I realized that I had to earn more money to help support us. All the employment ads in my field required a doctorate. I enrolled in a doctoral program and earned my degree when I was 56.
    I’ve done the inner work that was needed to break through my patterns of indecision and there’s more work to do. There was no doubt after the free weekend that The School of Womanly Arts would benefit me and I made a decision to sign up. I’m looking forward to the Mastery course!

  • Leelee March 17, 2015, 7:06 pm

    Thanks for this post, Mama Gena. Today I had a job interview, after already accepting a different job. I think I will probably get the second one too, and I’m feeling indecision and confusion about the two jobs. One job I think I want, but it’s not the obvious choice — not as beautiful, not as well respected, etc. as the other one. But I just had a good feeling about the tiny company who would let me do all sorts of things. I can reframe this as a brag that two garden centers want me, and that is totally desire research to work at one. I desire to feel into a decision, and what a better setup than to go out with a group of sister goddesses tonight!? I can’t wait for Mastery coming up! -BSG Leelee

  • SG TANIA March 17, 2015, 5:23 pm

    I have always put my desires on hold. I grew up poor. I learned to not want the expensive things, to shelve them. I still do. I am learning that it’s ok to take care of me. I have given myself permission. BUT. I deal with Indecision daily. I have two babies and a teaching career I have put on hold. Soooo. Do I go back? Education has changed by leaps and bounds and it is a soul sucking environment now. I currently am my own boss of an I home exhausting daycare, an Au pair business that I am one of the top sellers in and I publish a website. It feels safer to be a teacher. To have my pension. But I AM DONE ANSWERING TO PEOPLE ON THIER TERMS. I THINK ABOUT THIS daily and I really have no firm conclusions. Just fear of the future. Bah. But I like being my own boss. I just need more abundance in my life. And I REAALLLY WANT TO WRITE BOOKS.

    • helen March 22, 2015, 2:27 pm

      so Tania ~ write, honey… all you need is a pencil

  • Julia March 17, 2015, 4:29 pm

    Thanks for the great post! Finally I changed jobs from which I sucked forces went from 4 year relationship became more confident and stronger. Thanks very much like her mother Genas!!!that it is all of us with you girls support and makes you stronger! thanks to all

  • Hannah March 17, 2015, 4:16 pm

    After reading this, I signed up for Mastery for the second year in a row! I could not be more excited!! And this time, my best friend is doing it with me!

  • Rosemarie March 17, 2015, 2:43 pm

    Thank you for sharing. Its just what I needed to hear today:).

  • BSG Glitzy Cougar Karen March 17, 2015, 2:05 pm

    I did it all…procrastinated my way through a PAINFUL 25 year marriage, allowing teenie pieces of my dream (i.e. acting/singing), but I couldn’t move…terror of financial insecurity, fear for my kids, everything. And I kept trying to fix it…therapy, self-help books, you name it. But I was doing it alone…until a spiritual 2×4 hit me over the head…in all his traveling, he was living a secret life as a porn/sex addict. All his rejection made sense, and it was time for me to hit the road. Literally. On this big spiritual journey, which guided me from NH to NYC, I landed at SWA and through all of this I totally reinvented my life. I got the one thing I had been desiring so deeply…FREEDOM.

    And now, my life purpose is to do that same for other women…through my coaching, my performances, my service to SWA. Since 2008, this sisterhood has been my home, my place to truly discover who I am, and I brought my daughter here, Lauren Abrami. I have taken every course, volunteered at every course, and this year, I’m stepping it up again…to be the BIG of the BIGS! Why? Because I love witnessing hundreds of women stepping into their FREEDOM. Here’s to your freedom, ladies, to live your dreams, to be your bad ass selves…I can’t wait for Mastery to begin and watch Regena weave her magic again:)

  • Sandy March 17, 2015, 2:01 pm

    Spot on! This is SO stunning, inspiring and painful.
    When I am on the other side of supporting someone
    making a decision I just want to wrap them in my arms
    and say ” you are so magnificent when you are courageous
    and choice full – do it afraid and reap the fresh air of YOU”.
    Oh courage has been a growing seed for me and I keep
    getting the support even when I am trembling with aliveness
    and uncertainty. Thank YOU Mama Gena.

  • SG Princess Tammie Awakened Pussy March 17, 2015, 1:31 pm

    OMG… I try to stay away from negative energy .. so I avoid it.. and then it leads to procrastinating because I have to deal with things I dont want to.. The doom and gloom of a project tares me up… Thanks so much for enlightening me that I am stil in control… luv u mam gena

  • Roberta March 17, 2015, 1:06 pm

    Reading this made me smile. As I got older the simple things caused indecision. Younger major decisions were made without advice and even if someone was against it. Like when to marry,have children etc. “if you love it, it’s right for you “. Nowadays at 73 I want to be liked so where to go for dinner I leave it to someone else. Thank you for reminding how strong I was so I can be that way again. P.S I forgot I was liked and respected for being strong, As long as I’m not hurting anyone, ‘if you don’t like it sorry ‘

  • M.CoCo March 17, 2015, 1:00 pm

    This post is right on point! I am in this area of indecision, not because I don’t know what I want, but because I don’t know if I am brave enough to deal with the fallout that comes along with being and doing what I honestly and truly desire. The familiar settling and toleration seems easier than the “OMGoodness I don’t know what is coming next” that comes from a major life change. Too much focus on what could go wrong instead of what the possibilities could be… Much food for thought here!

  • nitza Levia Rich March 17, 2015, 12:53 pm

    All 6 reasons are part of my indecision. Also fear: fear of failure, fear of success, fear of disapproval, fear of being accepted, understood…
    But I never really thought or heard about my desires being UN-approved.
    That truth of: wanting/waiting for Permission to have desires, let alone act on them really hit home for me.
    I am sitting here with my arms crossed in a total protective closed body languish, wow..
    Thanks for that great insight.
    I will talk, journal and dance it

  • SG Zoe March 17, 2015, 12:42 pm

    This is one of the most brilliant SWA blog posts ever, thank you!! I research decision making, and in my entire field, there’s hardly any research on indecision. I never even realized this until now. These are SO insightful. So true.

    I’ve been working recently with this one:
    We try to “figure it out” and forget to FEEL.

    And have been realizing that my intuition still leads to decisions with poor outcomes sometimes, but I get helpful lessons out of them.

  • Linda March 17, 2015, 11:37 am

    This is brilliant. And just this morning I was faced with a choice regarding a relationship. I am choosing, once again, to speak my Truth, allay my fears, and go all in. This post was divinely timed. THANK YOU.

  • Emma March 17, 2015, 11:26 am

    I recently decided to start my own business and invested in Marie Forleo’s B-School. I am 23yo and I always told myself “once you have worked 9-5 for x years in y field then you will be allowed to start your own business. When I got emails from multiple newsletters from spiritual thinkers about B-School I thought “Oh, that’s a great thing to keep in mind for when I am allowed to start my own business in x years.” It was as if I was waiting for permission from this invisible authority that yielded a very strict, yet secret timeline for me. If it weren’t for my spiritual and mindfulness practice I wouldn’t have been able to hear the little voice that said “The time is now!” Ever since that day, I have experienced a daily practice of hearing a flood of doubts surface, and patiently calming them all down to pragmatic advice of potential obstacles, instead of allowing them to derail me. In retrospective, it is glaringly obvious that the universe was throwing B-School in my face but my ego almost blocked my view! It is incredible how this invisible societal authority dictates what we “should” do, especially women. The more I eliminate “should” from my vocabulary, the happier I become.

    • SG Zoe March 17, 2015, 12:35 pm

      Funny, I had completed the form to enroll in B-School also & then my intuition said stop. I felt great about that decision to wait. Love that we’re listening to those voices!

  • Mia March 17, 2015, 11:23 am

    When I got married in China to a Chinese man, I never felt such indecision in my life. We could only get married on a Monday, Wed. or Friday in the foreign marriage office. On Monday, we woke up and I said, “let’s wait until Wednesday.” On Wednesday, we woke up and I said, “let’s wait until Friday.” Friday, there were no more days to postpone to, (because I was leaving the country soon after), and I reluctantly went to the marriage office and got married. I longed for clarity. I wanted to be 100% sure. But I wasn’t. I was isolated in China and did not have a great support system. I had called my best friend from the public phone a few days earlier to discuss the matter and she said “I think you should marry him.” It made me think I got clarity.
    Years later, when things were not going great, I had indecision again. It took 2 years of therapy and 6 months of a “break up” discussion to decide to get divorced. Of course I had to consult with my best friend again and she said, “I think you should get divorced.” Again, I had the sense of clarity (and approval!), but it came from outside, not from within.
    Now, I would like to leave my job, but my mother always disapproves me entertaining this thought. It is very discouraging, as I know I turn to her for approval.
    I feel like small decisions are easy, but big life decisions are huge mountains to climb. I feel paralyzed by indecision.
    This post is right on!

    • Fiona March 17, 2015, 1:03 pm

      Mia, do you now think looking back you did the right thing to get divorced? Did the clarity ever come from within or only from outside you? I ask because I am trying to make that decision now and am also paralysed in not knowing what to do. It sounds like you knew what to do about getting married, look at you chosing not to do it day after day!
      You should do what you want to do and disregard what your mother wants you to do, it is your life not hers. Good luck!

      • Mia March 17, 2015, 4:57 pm

        Fiona, there is a good book I read after the divorce was over, but perhaps it will help. It’s called “Too good to leave, Too bad to stay.”
        I am still not clear. In retrospect, I have a lot of nostalgia for what we had and compare every man I meet to him. But we are still friends and every time we talk, I am reminded of why I could not stay in the relationship. It is best you speak your truth, so if you are not happy with your relationship, by all means talk about it with your partner. It can with be gentleness and affection. You can agree that you love each other, but the marriage is not working. That is basically what we came up with. We are still friends.
        Good luck!

  • Sharon March 17, 2015, 11:17 am

    I think Amy (above) has made an excellent point–that we become mired in indecision because our desires as children were disallowed. I’ve seen men with the same dilemma, so I don’t think it’s exclusive to women, altough it certainly is more common in women. Popular views of procrastination usually attribute it to a) being overwhelmed by a task or tasks; b) fear of success or of accomplishing something; or c) a lack of time management skills. In my view, none of those “causes” are correct. Instead, as Amy says and as Gena’s article also implies, procrastination is deeply tied to desire. When desires are disallowed on a consistent basis, that childhood pattern sets us up to think that anything we want is not worth pursuing because someone somewhere is going to disallow it. As a pattern carrying into adulthood, no amount of time management skills or coaching on how to overcome fear of success, is going to get to the bottom of the real reason women are caught in indecision. I am currently in a PhD program. I’m an “older student,” an empty nester with grown childen, and now with grandchildren. I always wanted to do post-graduate work, but delayed it for so many years because I had so many nay-sayers around me. And coming from a childhood where the only desires worth talking about were what my mother wanted,and nothing that anyone else wanted (my mother only cared about her own desires and felt she had to suppress her children’s desires out of a fear they would be “better” than her), I was a sitting duck for “infection” by naysayers. I took a course a few years ago on dispute resolution and negotiation in terms of studying for a certificate in restorative justice. When I mentioned to one of the professors that what I REALLY wanted to do was do a PhD in English Literature but that I didn’t think it was practical, his response was, “Nothing really creative was ever ‘practical.’ So if not now, then when? And if not you, then who? Go do the PhD and tell the naysayers to shove it. You do not owe them an explanation.” His words pulled me out of the swamp of indecision, and so I applied to do my MA, was accepted, and I completed the MA thesis in 2013. I was immediately accepted into the PhD program on a full scholarship. I’m in the second year of the PhD and will be writing comprehensive exams this fall, and then will start writing my dissertation. I’m probably the oldest student in my classes, but I don’t care. I’m loving it! Now when people ask me why I’m doing a PhD “at my age”, I simply respond, “Because I want to.” If they give me the “yes, but”, I repeat, “I’m doing this because I want to do it.” If they persist in nay-saying, I say, “I have told you that this is what I want to do, and I’m doing it, and if this is not a good enough reason to you, it doesn’t matter. It is I who am doing the PhD, not you,” and then I walk away.

    • Andrea March 18, 2015, 3:26 pm

      Thank you Sharon, you really summed it up.

    • helen March 22, 2015, 2:45 pm

      oh Sharon, i can relate to being a “sitting duck for the naysayers” – no wonder i look like a duck… thanks for the realization and making me laugh.
      And “Nothing really creative was ever ‘practical”- love that professor!
      ya, story of my life… all my desires/dreams squashed by others..
      Do it for yourself, you don’t need any other reason…. ya, i like that…. thank you 🙂
      I am realizing that i have been clearing so much of everyone else’s crap out of my energy field (beliefs etc that i thought were mine.. not!) – that i am getting to the point of, hey, i am a valid person, i am standing my ground, i am being in my centre, i am repairing my energy field daily with light, and making decisions, tiny ones, daily, of what is next that is going to make me feel good now…. what tiny thing can i accomplish now, like in the next five minutes.. and i am recording my accomplishments in my daytimer daily (i use it as a log, i have another “rough” one that’s a to do listing one) – seeing a book fill up with days of things i have done is really startling, as i always never gave myself credit for accomplishing anything and was always looking at the things not done. It’s starting to be fun, realizing i have a perfect god given right to be here, and never mind all those rule followers etc, i am learning to go with the flow and do what i want. It’s kind of startling you know 🙂 A friend gave me a box she found at the thrift shop with bugs and flowers “Inch by Inch, Life’s a Cinch” Well, honey sometimes it’s millimetre by millimetre.. but everything up until now still counts. Chicks rule! yay

  • Ingrid March 17, 2015, 11:09 am

    Interesting post. I’m not inherently indecisive, but I CAN…and do…procrastinate. For the last few years I have been thinking about leaving the northeast to return to Florida or another southern region where I would find community and build my life in an environment where I can wear fewer clothes, be outside more, and know that my family and friends will visit (my top criteria).

    Apparently the Universe wanted me to move along faster than I was. A series of disrupting events, including my apartment propane heater blowing up, a long and very cold winter, and a disrespectful and harassing landlady, catalyzed me into action. Once the decision was made, “miracles” starting happening! Offers of wonderful living situations, free house sitting, moving support and lots of other goodies.

    The process has demonstrated to me the importance of being clear about what I want, not needing to know “how” it will happen, and the blessings that come when I am willing to be vulnerable and ask for help.

  • SG Captivating Caroline March 17, 2015, 11:03 am

    WOW! Thank you for my new SC topic-INDECISION! This blog post touched me more than any other you have written. Indecision has crippled me for way too long. I have so many brilliant desires that I am just steps away from, but have not claimed them because of this monster called indecision. My indecisiveness is based on fear of repeating bad past decisions (I’m the queen of crappy decisions), fear of failing, fear of mistakes, fear fear fear.
    I brag that I am on the cusp of so much abundance right now (all created by me and for me), and it is indecision that is stopping me from taking ownership of it all. I thank you for this post and the reminder to get down and dirty with my pesky indecisiveness…

  • Alyce March 17, 2015, 11:01 am

    It’s surprising to me how much I related with every single of these six. I’ve done them all, and constantly. I especially employed these behaviors during my Mastery decision. I didn’t even know I was in the decision process- but it’s been about a year and a half since I first heard about it and started getting curious. Only last week did I have the courage for a brief half hour phone call to say yes before I changed my mind. I’m still incredibly anxious about the whole thing, but am trying to lean towards the positive.

    • Santha March 18, 2015, 12:27 pm

      I’ve said ‘yes’ too, and now that I’ve said ‘yes’ to being there, I’m PRAYING I don’t get bogged down in this endless loop during my time while I’m there!!!

      I need to keep speaking, posting, reading, sharing, breathing, resting, dreaming, finding connection to myself, finding my joy and satisfaction in the choices of each moment I need to build the pleasure muscle, until it is strong enough to lift me, and then others!

      I want to move! I want to fly! I want to dance! I want to swim powerfully through the waters of life, emerge glistening, shake off the water droplets, and then bask in the sun and dappled shade — joyful, connected, loving, alive, beautiful!

      Here I come, Mama! Hungry, scared, excited, anxious, trying to open — wider and then even wider. Trying to blossom, and then grow some more, and then blossom again, and again, and again. See you in a week. I may look small (or not) or feel small (I do), but I am big! Big enough to be ME. I am counting on you to help me learn how.

      In gratitude and nervous anticipation.

  • Amy March 17, 2015, 10:47 am

    I remember being tormented by indecision even as a child. In retrospect, I see it was due to not being allowed to want what I deeply wanted. I was helpless to change my parent’s disallowing of my perfectly legitimate desires, so I took the resulting conflict out on myself instead, through punishing self-hatred expressed via indecision.

    Thank you for this post. I have been thinking about this issue lately, so it feels like wonderful serendipity to read your inspiring and supportive thoughts.

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