This is one of those things that hits everyone at one time or another. For some though, it can impede growth and paralyze.  Chronic indecisiveness is a developmental roadblock. There are many possible reasons one stagnates in their lives due to indecisiveness. (Many of the thoughts discussed here come from the book “Overcoming Indecisiveness” by Dr. Theodore Isaac Rubin)

One reason is lack of self-confidence, this may seem obvious to some, but to those who struggle with decisions, it tends to be a blind area. Another reason, which has an overlapping three-fold mechanism, first involves self-effacement. This is a word that, in this context, essentially means self-erasing. It is a mode of operation that seeks to “cope” with potential conflict by avoiding potential conflict. A habit of this allows the person to increasingly disconnect from themselves. Often the decisions that are made when a person is actively seeking to avoid being assertive (aka make decisions) are ones that can prevent success and encourage failure. Secondly, an inappropriate dependence on others often accompanies this. Unhealthy dependence on others is a form of self-effacement. It is highly correlated with the desire to be liked.

People who habitually rely on others to make decisions for them often find ingenious ways of getting an “ally” to decide all sorts of issues that they are perfectly capable of deciding for themselves. (Rubin, p. 50)

The final piece in this “trifecta” for indecisiveness is the obsessive need to be liked. Unfortunately, good decision making is not consistent with winning popularity contests. This is devastating news for some. For those struggling with insecurities, self-loathing, dependency, and detachment from their feelings, being liked becomes the central issue of the decision rather than the substance of the choices themselves.

Finally, another main road block to decision making is the belief that there are perfect situations and the possibility of perfect decisions. Obviously there is no such thing as a perfect decision, but many people with this road block are not aware that they are inundated with perfectionistic tendencies, and live in perpetual anxiety and/or stagnation.

It is imperative that people stop being afraid to rely on themselves for decisions in their life, to take responsibility for their own decisions, and learn to live with the consequences- good or bad. Obviously there is wisdom in prayer and processing with wise others in our lives, but it’s when these things become crutches and tools to avoid responsibility that there is concern. Overcoming indecisiveness requires much insight and courage. Self-awareness will aid the recovering indecision-maker for,

“without a real self, we cannot relate honestly and fruitfully to others or really help anyone else.”


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