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Inaction is a decision

I’m not going to lie (to myself).  My life has been turned upside down to a degree with this breast cancer diagnosis. I haven’t wanted to read my favorite random sites/blogs. I haven’t wanted to write. Exercise is literally out of the question in this phase of my treatment.  I’ve intentionally filled my brain with all things breast cancer related because I believe that knowledge is power. However, I’ve told myself from the beginning that I am not breast cancer.  Breast cancer does not have me…I am a person living with breast cancer. Although it feels like a lifetime since I’ve been living with this, this is just the beginning.  The thing about me is that I’ve been here before, so with time and reflection, and I eventually come back to me.  I like to redirect the energy from often awkward, uncomfortable, painful, and enlightening experiences into lessons that I share with others. So here I am.

One of the best feelings in the world is looking back on a decision you struggled to make and realizing that you made the right decision. Because I am a practical, smart, and insightful person, I don’t usually have difficulty with making decisions. My work requires me to be a problem solver and I’m a problem solver at home. Making decisions is a part of solving problems. Decisions need to be made on what the problem is, how to go about solving it, who needs to be involved, and what the outcome will be.  I am comfortable with making decisions.  However, there is the rare situation that stumps me and I’m not quite sure how to move forward.  Usually, this pertains to making personal decisions.

As I’ve gotten older and wiser, I realize that I do have my own methodical, decision-making process.  I weigh the pros and cons, I think about the impact on myself and my family, I think about how interested I am in it, I assess how passionate I am about it, and I visualize myself in the outcome (not in any particular order).  When I’m down to the wire and still can’t decide, meaning that I also haven’t heard God’s voice on the matter, my strategy has been to simply do nothing.  I simply don’t act.  I love how I get these epiphanies, but I admit that while I’m in the experience, I usually don’t realize that inaction is THE decision. And I’m not referring to the period where you hold off on making a decision because you want to weigh all the points noted above. This is well beyond that point.  I can now see that inaction can be a decision because it indicates that I really am not “that interested”, “that passionate”, “that willing” to make room for whatever “this is” in my life, at this time. Inaction has served me well in certain circumstances. The times that it didn’t serve me well was when I did not listen to my inaction.  I can be hard-headed (more accurately, doubt myself).

In recent years, there was a situation where I didn’t listen to my inaction and it caused me a lot of pain in my professional career. However, the pain was necessary because it verified two things: 1) my inaction was my initial decision and 2) that I let other people pressure me to make a decision that was not only NOT right for me, but one that I did NOT want.  The funny thing about life is that lessons that you don’t learn present themselves to you again and again.  I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to play my cards again and I did right this time.

Even deeper, the most important lesson from this is that I get into a bit of trouble (with myself) when I doubt myself.  And in all fairness, there is real pressure in certain environments. However, I cause myself undue anguish when I doubt myself and I truly despise that. As someone who aspires to be more kind in general, especially to myself, it doesn’t serve me well, so I will continue to work on it and have already made great gains.

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