Bible, Main, Teaching, z141
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Why do I second guess myself?

The struggle to choose the right path. Credit: James Wheeler/Flickr/Creative Commons

The struggle to choose the right path. Credit: James Wheeler/Flickr/Creative Commons

Dear Andy

Every time I make a decision I doubt myself.  I have very little confidence in myself and many decisions I made have been disastrous.  What can I do to feel more confident and to make better decisions?

There are many reasons why someone lacks confidence in their decisions. First I would look at the evidence. No one makes all the right decisions all the time. Perhaps you are focusing on the ones that had less than stellar results. Perhaps there is a history of poor decision making. Many people can be very adept at making decisions in some areas of their lives but not in other areas. For example, a business person might make wise decisions regarding finances or planning for the future but make poor ones regarding dating or relationships.

If you are like this, then your focus needs to change from the poor decisions and towards the good decisions you made. Look at the difference between the two. Try to find common themes with the good ones. For example, perhaps they were in similar areas of your life or maybe they were made in similar circumstances. Then apply these common characteristics to decisions in which you feel less confident. This will boost your confidence level and help you make better decisions.

Doubting your decisions is often a case of doubting yourself. As I said before no one is good at everything. Focus on the positive areas in your life or the areas in which you are strong. Not all of us can plan a budget and not all of us can make good snap decisions. Find your strengths and bring them into your areas of weakness.

There also may be a root cause of your self-doubt. Many times this goes back to our childhood. Sometimes our parents made our decisions for us. This is natural when we are young but there are loving parents who just can not let go of this aspect of parenting and the result is a child who simply does not know how to make decisions or who may feel they lack the ability to make good decisions.

Other childhood issue include when there is a sense that the child is less than others or is a bother or has little value. In these cases as the child develops and grows, they may feel like they matter less than those around them. This affects their decision making ability in many ways and often the decisions are not based on what is good for them but what will please others.

Even if the root cause remains unknown and even if the evidence shows a history of poor decision making, there is hope. There are many decision making tools available on the internet for free and there are many books written on this subject. Try a simple tool like a pro-con analysis. To use this tool write the decision as a statement at the top of a page. For example, I am moving to a new job. Then draw a line down the center of the page with one side being the pros (reasons for the decision) and the other side is the cons (reasons against the decision). Then list all the reasons you can think of that are either for or against the decision. In the end you will still have to decide but this will give you a more clear picture of the consequences of your decision.

One key to good decision making is of course confidence. Having confidence comes from within and to have confidence means you have a good foundation. The best foundation for confidence is a relationship with Jesus Christ. When we stand on the solid ground of faith in Him, our decisions are not solely based on our emotions but on the wisdom that comes from above. The first and most important step in any decision making is prayer. Ironically it is often the last resort.

Jeremiah 17:7 says that when we trust in the Lord and have confidence in Him, we are blessed. That means our decisions begin to bear the type of results that are a blessing to us and others.

No matter where you are in your decision making, it is important to include God through prayer and through listening to the Holy Spirit. Start with prayer and continue with prayer throughout the process. There is no confidence greater than the confidence we can have in the Lord.



Andy Becker has many years of professional counselling in a variety of settings including addictions clinic, Burden Bearers, hospice palliative care, and private practice. He is an author and public speaker and leads Lighthouse Ministries which offers hope and God’s presence to a troubled community.

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