Ambivalence is feeling two ways about something, like simultaneously feeling love and hate for someone. Feeling two ways about something is generally okay; there is always more than one side to anything. Actually, embracing confusion can help you accept and get used to change.
However, when it comes to pursuing your goals or making important decisions, ambivalence can halt your progress. Feeling ambivalence is a natural part of the process of change. It’s when people get stuck in ambivalence that problems arise, depression settles, or motivation gets low. When this happens, resolving ambivalence is paramount, but it can be a very difficult and stressful process.
Wouldn’t it be nice to just make up your mind quickly and get on with your life? Well, it’s probably going to take some time and brainstorming. A helpful tactic is to make a pros and cons list of each option you’re considering. People often start the list while in the midst of sadness, anger, despair, impatience, or anxiety, but as days go by and they cool down, they can add more entries to the list. To make the list easier to manage, try using the Notes feature on your smart phone so the list is easily accessible at all times as new ideas pop up. Basically, take as long as you need – making an important decision may take days, weeks, or even months.
After you’re satisfied with your list, weigh the pros and cons of each option. It is likely that your list will reveal obstacles that hold you back from change. Develop strategies for removing or coping with these obstacles. Talk about your options and obstacles with people you trust – sometimes an outsider’s perspective can be insightful. Once you’ve developed coping strategies, it’s time to activate and plan for the decision you’ve made.
It’s also important to note that some people are comfortable with ambivalence, but become uncomfortable after making a decision. This is called post-decisional regret, but that’s a whole other blog post!
If you’re finding it difficult to make life decisions and would like some support through the process, reach out to Gramercy.