Things We Don't Apologize For: Our Decisions

Yesterday: ever apologize for changing your mind, it is your perogative.
Today: Never apologize for making a decision from your heart, even if others don't agree. You have to live with the consequences not them.

Most will recall the story I told about my mother in the first post of these series.
When I was 14 and in the 9th grade, my mother quit her job at a fairly stable snack cake company to go back to school. Everyone thought she was crazy. How would she afford my schooling? How would she afford her mortgage? Bills? What in the world, they wondered, was she thinking?

There's nothing easy about what my mom did. Plenty of people still think she made a mistake, but she knows she didn't. She knows it was time for her to quit worrying about what other people thought and start doing what she wanted to do.
I don't know what percentage of my mom's friends supported her, or how many of them told her she was wrong. What I know, though, is that even if it was just one friend, she made a decision that was for her and her child's benefit; no one else's and she never apologized for it (even when, 5 years later, we had an emotional discussion about the toll her decision took on me).

When I was going through the worst parts of being with J, I remember finding little solace in my friends' advice. They were right -- all of them. I should've packed my proverbial bags and hit the door. But I didn't. I made a decision to stay. What I could never figure out was why they thought it would be so easy for me to go. Why did they not realize, I wondered, how much of myself I thought I would lose if I walked away. It angered me beyond belief that none of them seemed to see how hard what they were asking me to do was.

I took a lot from that experience and I've since tried to modify the way I give advice. Above all else, in a sticky situation, I want friends to know that I get how hard what I'm suggesting is. I get that it's easy for me to sit far removed from the situation with no skin in the game and tell them what the "right" decision is -- but that ultimately they are the ones who will have to pay the pied piper.

This past Labor Day weekend I visited some friends. I didn't want to go. I knew I wouldn't have a good time if I went and so initially when they asked me to come, I said "no." But I let them change my mind and guess what? I was miserable. It wasn't really their fault, but I should've spent that time with myself. I was dealing with a lot and I shouldn't have tried to ignore it by taking a trip I didn't want to take to appease my friends. When another friend asked me why I was so hesitant to go, I told them, "I might have a great time. I might enjoy every waking moment. But if I don't, the only person who will suffer is me and the only person to blame will be me." Sure enough, I was miserable for 3 days and furious with myself (which only exacerbated how miserable I was).

A mentor of mine has a saying, "I hope it was worth it..." It started off tongue-in-cheek, but it's become a saying of my own. When I'm looking to make a big decision, I weigh the consequences. What's the worst case scenario of either side and can I deal with those consequences. If I can I do it, if I can't, I don't. When I look back, I want to be able to ask myself "Was it worth it?" and answer "Absolutely". I don't always apply this like I should, but it's a rule of thumb.

We will all eventually make decisions that effect others. My mom's decisions effected me, the decision I made with my relationship effected J and the trip decision had ripples in the lives of my friends. However, within reason, we shouldn't apologize for our decisions and especially not when we're the main one who has to deal with the consequences.

We have 2 days remaining in our series

Tomorrow: Never apologize for making more money than your man, you work hard and you deserve to get paid.


Solomon said...

Thank You!

Great advice, and just what I needed to hear. That is one thing I think I have come to terms with, respecting other peoples decisions.

The one thing many people fail to understand is they need to look at situations from the other persons prospective. I've ran into this problem myself a few times and having a hard time dealing with something that someone did. Then when finding out some very important facts concerning what happened later on it made me see the situation in a completely different light.

So I tend to not ever judge anyone because for one like you said, they are the ones that need to live with the things that they do. And then the fact that I might not know all the details so who am I to judge.

I have enough of my own stuff to worry about. I don't need to be taking other people's inventory and pointing the finger at them,

A.Smith said...

Solomon, you are so on point with your comment. Especially with not knowing the facts. RARELY do people tell you the whole story. You can't give advice when you only know pieces. I always try to remember that too.

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