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The Better of the Not-So-Greats

We are living in a time when—for many people—stress, anxiety, and uncertainty have reached epic levels. And in the midst of this, many parents must make difficult decisions about whether to send their children back to school in-person or deciding when it’s “OK” to head back to the office. Is it “better” to risk your child getting COVID-19 yet benefit from social interaction with other kids, or stay at home altogether in isolation? Is the “right” decision to be the employee who volunteers to go back to the office? Every situation and family is different, and the decision can be overwhelming.

In other areas of life, we face decisions like these as well: Is it better to stay in an unhappy marriage for the sake of the children, or end it and be (hopefully) happier? Is it better to stick with a job that drains your spirit but has a good 401(K), or look for one that is more fulfilling but has fewer benefits?

Sometimes, there is no “right” or “wrong” answer, as much as we want there to be one. Sometimes, to move forward, we simply have to choose the “better” of the “not-so-great” options.

If you’re wrestling with a decision that is causing you anxiety, it never hurts to make a list of pros and cons. You may be surprised when you see it on paper that the decision is clearer to you than you originally thought. If that doesn’t work, talk it over with a trusted friend, family member, and/or counselor. That person may provide you valuable insight you hadn’t considered.

Each of us is prone to blind spots, especially when we’re feeling uncertain about something, or when the stakes are high. But when we accept that a “not perfect” decision is in its own right perfectly acceptable, we often find that our anxiety decreases. It also helps to do a little self-affirmation that “You got this!” even if the decision turns out to be much less than perfect.

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