“How do I quit being hesitant?”

I realized recently that I’ve been really irresolute all the time, which I’m not happy about. For example, when I first came to the U.S. as an international student, I picked a English name that I like at that time and registered it as the name that I’d prefer to go by. But now, I don’t like it anymore. I don’t feel it’s my real identity. I feel odd when people call me that name. I guess this isn’t the best example, but what I’m trying to ask is how do I stick to one point that I can hold on to. Another example is that I hesitated for an hour at bestbuy to decide which model of iPhone 6 I was gonna get: 16G or 64G, black or white, 6 or 6 plus. I changed my mind every 5 minutes and asked the salesgirl to get a different one for me for at least 5 times. I really don’t like me being like this but I cannot help it. Is there anything or mental training I can do to get rid of this bad habit?

I’d suggest that the first thing you could accept is that your hesitancy has been useful to you in the past. For whatever reasons it has helped you avoid dangers and alerted you to things that are worth worrying about.

Once you are ok with the fact that it is a reaction that has been really useful to you in the past – maybe in your childhood – you can choose what kind of a ‘hesitancy scale’ you want in the future. In which situations is hesitancy a good idea? (eg tight-rope walking) When is it not? (eg eating breakfast) In between there is a range of things that are safe, dangerous, exciting and mundane. You can’t control everything that happens around you but you can choose how you react. Your mission, as a part of living, is to work out how you want to react to life.

So pay attention to what’s happening in you at the moment you become anxious. There is likely a difference – it could be physical, emotional, or something else – between ‘sensible’ hesitation and ‘unhelpful’ hesitation. For example, I had a client who feels ‘sensible’ hesitation in their heart but ‘unhelpful’ hesitation in a particular way their face flinches.

There’s a way, once you identify the difference, of ‘turning down the volume’ on the unhelpful stuff. You can probably work it out yourself once you get there, but get in touch if you want to keep talking.


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