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  • Fe Robinson

Stuck, or in dilemma?

There is a truth I learned way back in my training that has stuck with me and I wanted to reflect on today. It is the reflection that if perceive we have only one option, we are stuck. If we perceive only two, then we have a dilemma. It is only with a perception of three options or more that we are in a position of choice.

Perception is a really important word here. Sometimes it can seem so obvious what we should do that it can feel like there is no choice. Sometimes we may feel obligated to act in particular ways, and again feel stuck. Sometimes we may literally only know one way and not conceive of anything else being possible.

In all of these scenarios there is a risk that resentment or weariness may creep in. Operating from oughts and musts can feel heavy, and lower energy. No-one much likes feeling backed into a corner.

On the other hand, people don't much enjoy a dilemma either. Flip flopping between shall I, shan't I? can be confusing, particularly given binary choices are seldom between an ideal and an awful. Mostly both choices have upsides and downsides, where these seem evenly balanced dilemmas can be exhausting, with a lot of mental energy spent trying to work out what to do. Oftentimes people dwell in these dilemmas for way too long, becoming paralysed by the either/or of it.

And so enter choice. Having three options about ways forward may be a little more complex, but its very nature means that nuance and preference can have more space to emerge, and energy can be more free to move. With several options we are less likely to feel compelled, or to be making do, and that lightness can change our experience of the way forwards that we choose. Acting from want rather than obligation is a liberating experience.

Where you feel stuck, or in a dilemma, it is important to make sure you are sitting broadly with the situation and looking at it from a variety of angles. What do you see when you look from different perspectives within the dynamic? What might someone quite different to you notice that you have missed? What will seem pertinent about this when you look back in ten year's time?

For help in opening up options and flexibility of perception with your life challenges, get in touch.

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