How do you make decisions?
I struggle sometimes with the process. The other day I was thinking how many times I have used internal conflict as a gauge for making decisions in my life. Here’s how that plays itself out for me.
Example: A friend asks several people, including me, to borrow a car for a long road trip. Is one available she could use?
Immediately upon hearing this request, I feel a sense of hesitancy. Conflict.
Drawing from what I know of this friend, I remind myself that she does not handle money well. She is not good at circling back around when things go awry, or when she does, she takes a defensive posture and becomes very angry and loud. She does not have a good track record with cars or car maintenance. Add to that the fact that we went on vacation together one year, she asking me to join her on a trip to Maine, mainly so that her husband could come along. Her son was beginning orientation at a new college and with his stuff, her daughter, her and the son in the car–a compact car–there was no room for hubs to fit into the picture. Note: she was using her daughter’s car to make this trip, because again, she was without wheels for a variety of reasons.
Add to all this conflict within, the fact that this friend does not need to take this road trip, but wants to take this road trip. She is hoping to make it to a family reunion a state away. While family is important to most people, me included, she is estranged from most of her family. That shouldn’t figure in to my decision making I guess, but it does, because it speaks to her inability to settle disputes with even her closest relatives without anger and bitterness coming into play. Again, anger is the way this friend deals with complications, troubles, and/or any situation where life does not bend to her will.
Question to self: If I lend my car and something happens, does she have adequate insurance to cover the damage? Will she be offended if I ask her about it? How could I verify it, anyway?
Question to self: If I lend my car and something does go wrong, what kind of anger and resentments will I have to deal with after the fact when I ask her to make it right?
Question to self: I feel really conflicted about this request, what does that mean and how should it affect my answer?
Question to self: If I lend my car and something happens, damage is done, either to car or car and some human in car’s path when accident happens, and if no insurance is in play, will she reimburse me for expenses to fix car? Who is liable in this instance?
Conflict bombarded me in this situation and filled my mind with questions and my spirit with misgivings, while providing a vivid accounting of past encounters with said friend.
Here is what I did: I reached out and talked to someone about it, someone I trusted to keep a confidence, because I realized that I may have filters in place or blinders on regarding this request or the friend who made it. I also realized that I was not the only person she had asked to borrow a car. If I said no, others may supply what I could not.
The one I went to for counsel said, this is a family thing and she has family who could help out, if they choose to. If you feel this conflicted about the matter, I don’t think you should do it. Let one of the others asked, or a family member, provide transportation this time around.
I took this advice that seemed so reasonable to me and I responded saying that this time around I could not help out with transportation. It all turned out fine in the end, as a family member ended up using their car for transport, and everyone made it to the family reunion and back again, safe and sound.
In my experience, conflict has often created a sort of tipping point for change. When I first began to think about addressing my compulsive overeating tendencies, it was because my hope for my life and the reality of my life were in conflict and I couldn’t hide how it was affecting me any more. Today, I find lots of conflict all around me, perhaps more than when I first began this journey, but because I have learned to realize conflict as the need to investigate further, address issues that have gotten out of hand, and establish my own set of rules and standards for governing me, I am not as overwhelmed by it as I once was. Well, most days, anyway. I almost appreciate the chance to re-evaluate what I’m doing that conflict provides. Almost all the time.
Conflict: Is it a red flag for you when making decisions?
Conflict: How often does it enter into your thinking with regards to food choices or exercise?
Conflict: Does it help you choose between good, better, and best in your life?
Conflict: How has it helped you decide something important in your life?