The fear of choosing

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The fear of choosing
The fear of choosing

Why is it so common and, at the same time, so important to talk about the fear of choosing?

We live surrounded by the need for choice and decision-making. These moments, which are presented to us daily, can be a source of anguish for many people, even when faced with insignificant choices or decisions. However, the topic expands further when it comes to bigger elections, and the debate over pros and cons can leave a person transfixed.


The fear of choosing can occur for many different reasons or conditions. In general, we can think of it as a fear of abandoning a position of protection and control. Choice confronts us with change and the fact that as a consequence of it, something will be lost. This loss is sometimes very fearful, and the person prefers to perpetuate a state of no choice rather than face that loss.

The choice is an action that symbolizes the path, the start, and, if it is genuine, it can be the expression of identity or of one's own essence. To choose genuinely is, ultimately, to let the world know something about ourselves. Choosing is a way to get out of a state of perpetuity, of similarity, to enter the terrain of the new or the different. This is not always well tolerated, because it implies, as we said before, losing some control.

What is known gives peace of mind, not because it is necessarily good,but because it is already known, we are somehow adapted to it and we can foresee something of what will happen. Change implies uncertainty and this causes some stress. The avoidance of all of the above is located on the threshold of the fear of choosing.

The election is fundamental then to be able to promote changes. There are choices that are difficult and that involve suffering, but in pursuit of a new future situation. Going through that pivotal time of mobilization and change is necessary in order to reach that other state, that new situation.

In many cases choice and change are also associated with the idea of growing up. Aholding on to the known can then be associated with a more childish position, or with the perpetuation of a certain previous state. The abandonment of this relative calm or structure that has already been assimilated can generate stress or anxiety.

We can also talk about the fear of making a mistake, or the fear of risk. Choosing implies the possibility of opting for an option that may later be considered wrong or that will cause the individual regret. The fear of “making a bad choice” and not being able to go back later is one of the main reasons why the choice is often delayed or paralyzed.

The fear of risk encompasses a bit of what was mentioned above. Losing control, a previous state of continuity, a "comfort zone" to put it another way, is a risk. And as such many times difficult to face. There are individuals who avoidconstantly risk, and not choosing is a defensive mode, a form of self-protection.

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