When you make a bad decision…

Don’t stress!

Stress causes the decision-making areas of your brain to shut down. When that happens you react from other areas of your brain that won’t help you make the best decisions.

Stay calm. Focus.

The bad decision isn’t always what causes the trouble; it’s what you do about it that really matters. That’s a little confusing so here’s an example to help you through it.

Just because you class pet gerbil, Gertrude, died in your care doesn’t mean you have to feel horrible about it for the rest of your life. Sometimes the decisions we make feel like a wrong turn and a dead end. But before you feel like Gertrude did in your care, follow these steps.

1. Own it. Take responsibility for whatever you did that is getting you down. Um, I totally forgot about Gertrude and left her in the freezing cold garage overnight. 

2. Apologize. Who are the people that you affected? In this case it might be your teacher and your classmates. I have no idea how I forgot about her. I am so sorry. 

3. Forgive. Forgiveness can be toward another or toward yourself. In some cases you may even ask for forgiveness so you feel better. In this case, you need to forgive yourself. That was really wrong of me and I have suffered a lot over it. I think I may need to forgive myself and move on. 

4. Learn from it. What’s the point of going through these steps if you don’t improve upon yourself as a result? What did you learn? How will you apply what you learned to the future? Losing Gertrude was horrible. People were mad at me and now everyone thinks I’m not trustworthy. But, I am and I do feel I feel terrible about it.  I don’t know how I forgot. If I ever take on such a big responsibility again, I will tell my parents first and set reminders in my phone about my responsibilities.

5. Make it right. Sometimes this is possible. Sometimes it isn’t. Try to think of a way to make up for what was done. I am going to use my savings to buy a new gerbil for the class. I will present it to everyone with my apology.

You may want to remember those five steps for when a decision turns into an “uh-oh” moment. OAFLM: Own it, Apologize, Forgive, Learn from it, Make it right.

Another example:

Maude posted a picture of her friend, Darlene, and her together at a party on Friday night. Darlene was furious at Maude because she felt like the picture was too revealing and looked like they were drinking, when they weren’t. Maude realized that Darlene was right so she contacted Darlene:

I am so sorry that I upset you. I should not have posted that picture as I can totally see how you wouldn’t want it on social media. I have taken it down and hope that you will forgive me. I promise to be more careful in the future.

Maude’s intentions were never to hurt Darlene, so Maude apologized. Just what are intentions? Read the next post to find out….

CHALLENGE: Think of a decision you made recently that isn’t sitting right with you. Go through the five steps listed above (OAFLM) and create a dialogue with your self and with the person or persons involved to make it right. Write the dialogue down. Then write a few sentences on how you will feel after you do it. If you feel good about it, why not go for it?

Post Question:

Have you ever made a really bad decision? What was it? What did you do about it?

Answer the post question here

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