We think that we’ll “know” the right decision when we feel it in our bones. We think that when we make the right decision, it will ‘feel in alignment’.
When we look for solutions to our problems, we ask others for their opinions, google how to solve the problem, and apply band-aid approaches to the symptoms, never really addressing the root problem because addressing the root problem feels too painful to face.
In this podcast episode, I’m exploring the topic of when we make a decision, but question whether it’s the right decision because it doesn’t feel good.
I think that so many of us have this idea that when we make a decision, it’s supposed to feel good. That when we make a decision that all of a sudden, we’re going to feel confident and self-assured that the decision that we’ve made is the right one. And what this podcast is about today is the times when we make decisions, and they don’t feel good.
So, let’s get started.
You are listening to the Done With Dieting Podcast. The podcast for women who are experiencing perimenopause and menopause symptoms and want to feel better like they did before their body started changing. I am your host, Elizabeth Sherman, Master Certified Health, and Life Coach for women in menopause and perimenopause.
I’ve helped thousands of women manage their symptoms, get off the diet rollercoaster, and change their relationship with food, exercise, and stop fighting with their bodies. And I do it through a feminist lens, which means exploring how we are socialized as young women and how it impacts our current relationship with food and exercise. Our bodies, health, and ourselves.
What’s different about this podcast is that we’re exploring your health from all sides, not just food and exercise. We also address the mindset shifts that will make you happier and lead to better health. My goal in this podcast is to illustrate that the reason that diets don’t work long term is because your health doesn’t exist in a silo.
Your health and your weight are a symptom of other parts of your life and how you show up. I want to help you to feel good and live the life that you desire from a 360 degree approach, body, mind, and soul.
Welcome. Let’s get started.
Hey everyone, welcome to the podcast today, podcast number 117. And today, I am getting a little bit vulnerable with you and it’s starting out with a story about my cat. So, I have this cat, her name is Wookie. And we got her years and years and years ago. We used to have a cat named Jack who was the best cat in the world.
One day, when I lived in Austin, Jack went missing. We had a lot of coyotes in the neighborhood, and he was an explorer. He was just such a great cat because he would go on walks with us, and he was just a really cool cat. So anyway, I was going to the Austin shelter looking for Jack to see if someone had turned him in or if he had gotten captured by animal patrol.
And after going every few days to see if he was there. My husband Gary said to me, I’m surprised you haven’t come home with another cat. And I was like, oh my gosh, is that permission for me to get another cat? So, the next time I went to the shelter, I was looking at cats and I was figuring out which cat do I want.
I’ve had cats for years, ever since I was a little girl. And I’ve also had dogs. I love both of them. They’re both just a completely different type of personality and they’re just both special in their own ways. But I’ve figured out over the years that I really prefer male cats. Female cats are a little bit more I don’t know, aloof, they can be a little touchy. Whereas male cats just seem to be a little bit more friendly and easier go with the flow type of cat.
And since our other cat was male and an adult, that’s what I really wanted. I went to the shelter looking for an adult male cat. And when I saw Wookie, she was just so adorable. She was six months old, but she was a little pissy. And I say that meaning that she was at the shelter. And so, I was like, she’s not really warming up to me at the shelter. But that’s okay. She’ll grow on me. She will love me because the cats that I’ve had have always been very warm.
I got her and she never really warmed up to me. She just didn’t. At the time when we got her, we also had a Basset hound who was old. She was really easygoing, and wooki and Bessie got along just fine. And then, a few years later we got Sadie, our Boston Terrier, who was nine months old at the time and very rambunctious. She was just such a great little puppy.
But during that time, Wookie really did not like Sadie. Sadie was a little bit unpredictable. She would try to play with Wookie and Wookie did not like that at all. And we just figured she started acting out a little bit. She started being a little bit more aloof. She would go upstairs to the second floor of our house not really interacting with us, which was fine. She started some behavioral issues. And I’m going to leave it at that.
During that time when I was going to the shelter, it really made an impact on me because there are so many animals that are amazing animals that get surrendered for many reasons.
I’ll be honest, I judge a lot of people for surrendering their animals when they can’t take care of them. When they realize what an impact or how much of a responsibility the animal is. When we moved from Austin to Mexico, I realized what a bad cat Wookie really is. And I take the responsibility of being a pet owner very seriously.
And so, we brought Wookie with us to Mexico. We actually had a friend take her while we drove down because we didn’t want to drive with a cat in the car. And given that she didn’t really like Sadie very much, we weren’t expecting those five days to be very agreeable with a cat also.
So, we had a friend take her and then we paid for him to fly the cat down 10 days after we arrived. And it all worked out great. But every single change that we’ve made, she started acting out more, and more, and more. When we moved into our new house, we thought it would get better. We thought that it being a little bit more calm, having fewer animals around, have being a little bit quieter, that she would really like it here. She could come and go as she wanted inside, outside that she would have her own space, that it’s quiet. And so therefore, she would really thrive in this location.
And then, in January, Sadie passed away and I thought, oh, okay. So, maybe now that Sadie’s gone, she will again be able stop her behavioral problems. And a lot of her behavior problems seem intentional. It doesn’t seem like she’s sick. And don’t worry for all of you who are wondering, I’ve had her checked out, she’s 100% healthy. Bringing her to the vet is not a pleasant occasion, but I’ve worked with her, and I feel like I’ve done everything that I can as a pet owner.
Recently, she did something that was really pretty unforgivable. And so, it really started me questioning like, am I the right pet owner for her? All of this to tell you that I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with Wookie. And I’ve been delaying, and delaying, and delaying this decision because I keep thinking it’s going to get better. If this happens, then it’s going to get better.
And the truth is that it hasn’t been getting better and in fact it’s been getting worse. This is the case that we all have when we delay decisions, isn’t it? That we think things will resolve on their own and they rarely do.
So, I’ve had Wookie for 13, maybe 14 years. And it’s not getting better and in fact, her behavior problems are getting worse. And so, I made the decision to rehome her.
Now, part of my problem was who would want this cat? But I found a local farm that has indoor and outdoor spaces, and they’ve been willing to take her. Now, I still have her right now. And over the past week, I’ve made the decision that she is going to go to this farm where there other cats, there are other dogs, and I’m really hopeful that she will thrive in this environment. This new environment that we’re going to be giving her to.
But I can’t help to have this dread because it doesn’t feel good to me, and it doesn’t feel good to me because I have a lot of thoughts. I have a lot of judgements about what it means to be a responsible pet owner. And what I’m doing right now does not feel like being a responsible pet owner. And I know that being a coach, I’ve gotten coached on this. That it’s all a matter of perspective. That one could argue that yes, I am being a responsible pet owner because I’m trying to find an environment that is suitable for her. But this is where we are.
Now, the reason that I wanted to create this podcast episode for you is because again, I think that many of us have this belief that decisions are supposed to feel good. And that the reason that they don’t is that something better could present itself. And so, we’re saving ourselves for this alternate opportunity that’s going to present itself, that’s going to make the decision to feel good.
What I want to offer is that sometimes that doesn’t happen. We think that decisions are supposed to feel good and when they don’t, it’s because we have some self-doubt. We question like, is this the right decision? And we think that we’re supposed to be confident and feel confident in the decision making process. That there isn’t supposed to be any self-doubt. That everything’s supposed to be wrapped up, that the skies are supposed to open up, and angels are going to sing once we’ve decided.
And so, when that doesn’t feel right, when that doesn’t happen, when we still have questions. We delay the decision. And we delay decision making, thinking that it’s going to get better. That somehow that the process is going to fix itself on its own. And that the honest truth is that it never will fix itself on its own.
When we delay making decisions, we actually spend energy going over that decision again and again. And there’s like this soul sucking energy because the loop is not closed. We haven’t decided. Our brains love to close loops. And also, when we delay making decisions, we prolong our results. Our results of happiness.
Now, the other thing is that we think that there’s a right decision. And when we think that there’s a right decision, what that means is that sometime in the future we’re going to find out that there was a better option available. I 100% believe that we make the best decisions based on the information that we have and our beliefs at the time of making the decision.
And so, when I can have my own back and know that right now, I have explored every single one of my possible options. Then, I know that I am making the best decision right here and now. If something presents itself in the future, I am not aware of that right. And so therefore, I can’t beat myself up about it. See, that’s actually one of the reasons why we delay making our decisions is because we don’t want to hear that inner critic who’s judging us. Who’s beating ourself up because we found out after the fact that there was another option available.
Now, I see this happening with my clients in other areas of their life. So, not just about deciding to re-home a cat, right? But I see this a lot when it comes to committing to coaching. So, what I mean by that is when someone comes to me and they want to work with me, but they still have questions. They still aren’t sure, is this the right decision or not?
And when we have that question going on in our minds, we stop. We don’t make a decision. When we don’t make a decision, we are deciding that our current situation is better than the possibility of change. I see this also when someone is deciding, should I leave my partner or not? I’m unhappy in my marriage, but am I going to be more unhappy alone? Or job changes. Is my job bad enough that I want to switch jobs?
And so, all of these are examples of when we have this idea of, I want something different, but I’m afraid to make the leap for fear that I’m going to leap into a frying pan instead of leaping into freedom or something better.
Now, here’s the truth. Every single decision that we make, every single circumstance, every single part of our lives has good and bad parts. I know that probably a lot of people look at my life in Mexico and think that it’s amazing. And quite honestly, I’m very happy. But there are good parts and bad parts. There are good parts and bad parts about living where we lived in Austin, Texas. There’s no perfect place in this world because there’s always going to be give and take.
We think that when we are making decisions that it’s going to be an ‘either, or.’ We think that either it’s good here or it’s going to be 100% good on the other side of making the decision. But quite often, there are problems with both of those.
So, just like when we were younger and in our twenties. We were living in crappy apartments, and we didn’t have a lot of money. But there was a freedom there that we had. And when we were in that situation, we were thinking about, oh, I can’t wait until I get married, or I can’t wait until I make more money, or I can’t wait until I have this job, or I can’t wait until I have this next promotion.
And all of those things once we get them, we realize that new thing, being married. For many of you, I’m sure you’ve had this experience where you were like, I can’t wait to be married. It’s going to be amazing. And now that you’re married, you’re like, yeah, I could probably be single for a few days, right? Just a few days.
And so, we think that things are going to be amazing on the other side of this decision or this thing that we acquire. But then, it’s not. We need to understand that when we make decisions, there’s going to be 50% positive and 50% negative to that decision.
So, what I want to introduce you to is something called the paradox mindset. We go from the ‘either,’ ‘or’ mindset. Meaning that it’s one thing or it’s another thing to ‘both, and.’ So, what I mean by that is when I decided, when I started exploring my thoughts about rehoming Wookie, I had a lot of thoughts.
Here are some of them. That I’m a good person and only bad people give up their pets. That good people do not give up their pets. That I should be able to save her. That it’s my fault that she’s doing these things. That a good responsible pet owner doesn’t give up their pets. That I’ve failed her. That she’s not happy. That a good pet owner makes their pet happy and provides a happy, safe home.
That a good wife prioritizes her husband. That goes along with the thing that she did that was unforgivable. That responsible pet owner keeps their pet for life. That a responsible pet owner makes it work.
When I think about the paradox mindset, I can believe that all of those things are true and that I am a responsible pet owner. I can believe that all of those things are true, and I am a good with the paradox mindset, I can see that maybe she isn’t happy and she’s going to be happier in this new place. All of that is possible.
So, I can be a responsible pet owner and recognize that I am not equipped to give Wookie what she needs to be happy. I don’t know what the future holds, but I can trust myself to not be an assh*le to myself if things don’t go as planned.
Life is 50% positive and life is 50% negative. No decision is going to produce 100% positive results. Every decision is going to have positive consequences and negative consequences. Even winning a million dollars in the lottery. It just comes along with different problems.
In closing, what I want you to take away from this episode is that not all decisions are going to feel good in your bones. I have a podcast, episode number 32. I’ll link to it in the show notes, called ‘How to Make Good Decisions.’ We cannot tune into how the decision makes me feel.
Because in this decision with Wookie, I feel like caca on either side of it. I feel like caca when I keep her. I feel like caca when I think about rehoming her. And so, no decision is going to make me feel good. And I know from past experience that if I just keep letting it go on, it’s not going to get any better.
So, this episode is for you if you can’t make decisions. Go back and listen to episode number 32, how to make good decisions. I’ll reframe everything there about the steps that you want to take when trying to figure out what to do. And from there, you just have to know that whatever decision you make, you can have your own back.
That’s all I have for you today. Have an amazing week, everyone. I’ll talk to you next time. Bye-bye.
Hey, if you enjoy listening to this podcast, you have to come check out the Feel Good Sisterhood. It’s my small group coaching program where we take all this material, and we apply it. We figure out what works for us, and we don’t ever look at another diet ever again.
Join me over at elizabethsherman.com/groupcoaching. I’d love to have you join me in the Feel Good Sisterhood. See you there.