I often have trouble making decisions. I am a people’s person/people pleaser and tend to consider other people’s opinions when having to make a decision. I do not like to see people around me upset so I sometimes make choices based on their happiness, disregarding my own happiness. It worries me occasionally and I don’t want to end up becoming a bitter person as a result of this. Am I doing the right thing in being this way or will I end up being miserable?
Thank you for your email discussing your troubling situation. Decisions are the hardest thing to make, especially when it is a choice between where you want to be and where you should be or between what you want and what is right. Good decisions come from experience and experience comes from bad decisions. Many of us like to see those around us happy but a common misconception we have is that it is up to us to do that! ‘People will love you. People will hate you. And none of that will have anything to do with you’ – Abraham Hicks. You can do 99 things for some people but all they will remember is the one thing that you didn’t do. You can’t please everybody all the time; you’re not pizza or a jar of Nutella. But you can make yourself happy and hope that those around you will be happy for you. What’s the point of ripping yourself into pieces to keep others whole? ‘Making a decision takes a moment, living it takes a lifetime’ – Sherif A El-Mawardy. Don’t be scared to make yourself a priority once in a while. It’s not selfish, it is necessary. There comes a point when you have to realise that you’ll never be good enough for some people. The question is, is that your problem or theirs? The more you love your decisions, the less you will need others to love them. No one can diminish you but yourself. Choose your happiness; the rest is barely in your control. All the best.
My friends are planning an overnight picnic at some cottage and have invited me to join them. I am confused about whether I should go or not. We have been childhood friends, however, our upbringing differs. I know that they plan to smoke, drink and be a little experimental at the picnic. Although they haven’t mentioned anything to me, I happened to overhear two of them talking about it. These are things that my family and I are against. I don’t want to be the odd one out and want to avoid the pressure of being forced to ‘just try it once’. But at the same time, I really want to be part of all the fun. Not sure what to do about this… please help.
Thank you for writing in and sharing your confusion with me. Caroline Myss wrote, ‘Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to help you grow’. Surely, you’ll have a great time if you go with your friends. You seem like a mature and sensible individual who can easily distinguish right from wrong and make positive, healthy decisions. Difficulties in life don’t come to destroy you but to help you realise your hidden potential. It’s safe to say that you aren’t certain about their plans. Over thinking can lead to problems that never existed. You can always confront them about the plans you happened to overhear and tell them that you are uncomfortable about it and that you will strictly not indulge in any of them. Who knows, maybe you heard wrong or you might have just persuaded them not to go ahead with it. Peer pressure is the pressure you put on yourself to fit in. Resist it and you’ll realise that maybe you were born to stand out. One doesn’t need to smoke or drink to have a good time. If your friends feel differently, that’s alright, as long as you are doing what you believe in and feel is right. Following the crowd might get you lost in it. Surround yourself with people who lift you higher. You might find that your circle decreases in size but it will definitely increase in value. Make the most of it!
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(Writer is a psychologist and counsellor at the Sethu Centre for Child Development and Family Guidance.)