Making decisions isn’t always easy. What’s even harder is second-guessing yourself afterward. Did I really do the right thing?

No one is perfect, nor will they ever be. The same applies to life’s decisions, as you cannot always do what’s best all the time for everyone. Then, after decisions are made, they are sometimes discovered to be the wrong ones. That’s when second-guessing makes life even harder. What exactly is second-guessing, you might ask?

Second-guessing means to criticize or question a decision after it’s been made.

Note: Sometimes you can second-guess a decision that someone is about to make as well – but this is more along the lines of judgment.

Examples of second-guessing

Even with a definition of second-guessing, you might not grasp the full idea of how it’s done.

For example, let’s say you decide to go on a date with someone you’ve never met personally. So, you decide to take the chance. Well, unfortunately, you have nothing in common and the date doesn’t turn out so well. When you go home, you might second-guess your decision, wishing you’d gotten to know them better before the date.

That’s one way to second-guess a decision.

Another example would be making a decision about changing jobs. Maybe you have a job that’s a pretty good one, but you’ve received an offer for something that pays more, and it’s also something along the lines of what you love to do. But you’re afraid to leave in fear that you might not like the new job and maybe your old job won’t take you back. So, you don’t change jobs.

Hence, you are ultimately afraid that you’ll end up jobless. Here’s the kicker: someone else took the new job, makes twice the pay, and also loves the new work. Now, you’re second-guessing your decision – you’re downright beating yourself up, right?

One last situation that could cause second-guessing would be giving to charities or helping friends in need. Did you decide to limit your giving in fear that you might give the money you need for bills if you choose a larger amount? But yet, after you gave the safe amount, you second-guessed your decision and wished you’d given more to help.

I’ve been there myself.

How to stop second-guessing yourself?

Maybe now you have a complete understanding of how second-guessing yourself works.  Moving ahead, let’s try to find a few ways to help us stop doing this. We all do it, and we all can improve, and feel confident in the decisions we make. Take a look.

1. Trust what you do

So what if you’ve made a mistake, or rather feel like you’ve made a mistake. Do you really know that what you decided was the wrong thing when looking at the big picture? Even though you may have gone on a horrible date, that doesn’t mean it was a totally lost experience.

I am sure, even during the worst situations, you find things that are good. Think back, trust what you did, and find the good in whatever decision was made.

2. Do your version of what’s right

Not everyone’s version of right is yours. There is more than one right thing to do, you know. So, maybe you didn’t buy that house, that car, or whatever it was, and maybe it really was a great deal. But, this great deal may be the right choice for someone else, and not you.

Stop second-guessing why you didn’t buy these things. After all, most of the time, people get strange feelings when they decide to back out of a purchase. It’s a vibe, and your ‘right choice’ could be to adhere to this vibe.

3. Be confident/breed respect

Second-guessing resides in your thoughts, so it’s obvious that no one can hear what you’re worried about, right? Well, to a certain extent, they can’t tell. Although you might not voice your concerns about a questionable decision you made, your expression will show that something is bothering you.

If anyone gets wind that you’re unsure of a decision, they may start to doubt what you’ve done as well. You must be confident when you decide, and this confidence will gain respect from others. Even if you realize it wasn’t the best choice, others might not notice.

4. Think about your health

When you second-guess yourself, you put a strain on your mind, and this strain translates to your body. You feel tense from worry or concern. Second-guessing yourself can be detrimental to your health, especially if you continue to ruminate about something that is now no longer in your control.

So, before you start wishing you’d done something different, concentrate on doing something else now to improve your health instead.

5. Learn from your decisions

If you think you chose wrong, then don’t panic. You can learn just as many things from wrong decisions and mistakes as you can from good decisions. In fact, you learn more.

Here’s yet another example: Let’s just say you’ve decided to join your thrill-seeking husband in skiing, but you’re terrified. Something inside is saying,

“No! I’m not ready, and I don’t feel confident.”

Well, yes, you should listen to that inner voice, but what if you don’t? Maybe you go skiing anyway and break an arm or leg. First of all, let’s be thankful it wasn’t worse. Second, don’t second-guess that decision. What can you do about it now? All you can do is learn from it. Now, what you decide to learn is up to you.

6. Become more accustomed

Realize that you will never make the right decision all the time. You must get comfortable with making mistakes. When you get to a point like this, you will be able to make quicker decisions and feel more confident. If one of the choices you make turns sour, you’ll know that’s just life, and crap happens sometimes.

7. Be kind to yourself

Also, instead of second-guessing everything, be kind. Be good to yourself because it’s especially important when you’ve messed up. You should not punish yourself for a poor choice.

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t apologize for doing something wrong, it’s just you shouldn’t beat yourself up for doing what you once thought was the right thing. Be fair, but also be fair to you too.

8. Just stay out of the past

Second-guessing is just like living in the past. Think about it. When you get stressed about the way things used to be, you’re living in the past. When you stress about how things were before the bad choice, you’re also living in the past in this manner as well.

These are the same. You must live in the present regardless of what you’ve done or said in the past, and practice being mindful of the options you have right now.

Making a choice is just part of life

When it comes to deciding between two or more options, it can be difficult. Sometimes it does require a bit of thinking. But after you’ve made that decision, second-guessing yourself should not be an option.

Honestly, whether good or bad, when the choice is made, you have to move on with the consequences. I hope this has helped you understand why it’s important to stop second-guessing everything, and maybe it can even help you become wiser in other things as well.

Every time I examine a topic, I examine myself. Sometimes it’s not all that pretty inside, but it’s me, and I know I can improve. And so can you.

References:

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com
  2. https://www.apa.org

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Brad

    This was a helpful article. I am second guessing my decision to move to another city and it’s been torture feeling so conflicted.

  2. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

    Well, as with many other things, we can second guess all day long, for days, weeks, and even years. But there comes a time when we have to make a concrete decision. When I was younger I was trying to decide whether to stay in a relationship or not. I was also doing things that would jeopardize my relationship, that still had a bit of hope if my partner found out. Sooooo, a friend who knew my situation told me, “If you don’t make a decision soon, a decision may be made for you.”

    I know this is different, and I was young and less than morally good at that time, but I keep that statement with me even now. The truth is, all decisions come with results and consequences of some sort. Decisions can also be made for you after so long if you don’t move on them. And you may or may not like the decisions that were given to you. That’s why it’s important to make sure you keep the power in your own hands before it’s taken away if that applies to you at all. Do take your time, but understand that eventually, you’ll have to push one button or the other.

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