Before we delve into the business of indecisiveness, I would like to shed some light on an existential anxiety called Fear of Freedom. Fear of freedom is also known as fear of responsibility. This existential fear can be so overwhelming that it can leave you paralyzed to the point of chronic indecisiveness. This existential fear of freedom/responsibility is grounded in the notion that you are the creator of your reality. As Sartre said, “man is the being whose project is to be god.” you are responsible for not only the actions but also for failures to act. There is no escape from freedom. You have to take the ownership of what is going on in your life. There is no blame in freedom. Blame keeps you stuck in the victim mindset, which keeps you from accepting full responsibility for your actions or failures to act.
It can be a dizzying sensation to experience the realization that you create your own reality, which can create a wave of anxiety and panic. The anxiety you might experience after this kind of realization of groundlessness is not as obvious as fear of death or a loss. It is much subtler and far from the awareness. You might start to avoid situations, being indecisive, isolation, not starting projects, etc. You probably get nervous when you have more than one option to choose from, for example for a new job. It is much easier to choose the one job that chose you from the three you applied to. You might get anxious or nervous if all three jobs are of your interest, come with great pay, location of your choice, and competitive benefits. You have three different roads you can choose from vs. one that is determined for you since you were not selected for the other two. When you are indecisive about something you really feel, “I don’t want to take responsibility of this action or decision. What if I make the wrong choice?” Following is a step-by-step process to ease this anxiety:
1. The Creator
The first step to cope with fear of freedom or responsibility is to accept that you are the creator of your reality. Just become mindful of the blame language in your head. Identify it when you blame something or someone else for your unhappiness or distress. This small step of just becoming aware will take you to your next step.
2. Accepting Responsibility.
Accepting full responsibility of your own unhappiness and distress will ease the pain and help you take the control back in your own hands. Identify the role you are playing in your own unhappiness and recognize your language when you use “I can’t,” “you should,” etc. It is perfectly ok if you are not yet able to change your behavior at this step. You are expected to. You don’t have to overwhelm yourself with anxiety and panic of being perfect and correcting what you have identified. For now, just sit with this awareness. Practice non-judge mentalness and compassion for your self to be able to get to this step.
Wishing is the building block of creation, however, accepting responsibility is the foundation for this step. Wishing a different outcome brings you to deciding for yourself what you want instead of settling for what you get. You want to access your desires. Being in touch with what you really want will allow you to make the right choices and help in the decision making process. No choice is right or wrong, they just yield different outcomes. If you know what outcome you want, you can be at ease to choose a course of actions that will yield you the results you desire.
Decision-making becomes easy once you know what you want. As mentioned above, you don’t have to worry about making the right or wrong decision, because there is no right or wrong decision. It is just a decision. If you have any anxiety or panic when you make a decision, the uneasiness is about not knowing exactly what you want. Go back to the previous step and get in touch with your wishes. After all, you are the creator of your reality. Wish a different outcome and then make choices according to your wishes.
Try this method and let me know how it worked out for you.