Have you ever faced a situation where the mind sits on a fence and argues both ways? I am sure this happens to all of us many times in our lives. We are caught in a mental bind and our mind thrashes between two extremes. We consciously try to take one position when another part of the mind takes another and acts like a devil’s advocate and argues against our reasoning. The same thing happens when we take an opposite view and try to reason for ourselves. For every argument that we put forth our mind comes up with a very convincing counter argument. We keep doing this and tie ourselves into knots without arriving at any valid conclusions.
We could call this phenomenon as mental thrashing borrowing a term from computer technology. By this I mean that one is caught in a bind of yes & no decisions. We are in a fix where we keep oscillating between two extremes and are unable to make up our minds one way or another. We keep entering into a cyclical thought process which leads us nowhere. The real problem is that we can’t even stop thinking. There is a real stickiness to the issue that bothers us. Is there a way out of this mental bind? How do we win this battle that rages in our minds?
There are no easy solutions to this problem. One approach that is often suggested is that we just quit thinking, make some snap decision and get it over with. While this easily said, it is very difficult to do.
In my opinion there are two ways we can handle this situation.
The first is to bounce your thoughts with your spouse, a family member or a close friend. Just talking things out aloud will help to clear your mind. Maybe you will come up with the solution yourself by the simple act of voicing your thoughts. Also you may get some good inputs from others who approach the problem differently.
The second approach is to quit the circular thought process. We need to park the issue at the back of our mind. When we do this we stop our logical mind from analyzing and over analyzing the issue. In the bottom of our hearts we probably are aware of the real solution. While our hearts want one thing, our logical mind tries to come with counter arguments. Quitting the logical thought process will allow our minds to look deeper into the conflict and help us to solve the issue.
If even after this we are unable to decide, we just need to take some decisions which will keep our conscience clear. We need to mentally prepare ourselves to handle situations when the decision we take is wrong.
As long as you choose a path that is ethical, and correct within limits of reasonableness you most probably will make the right decision. Even otherwise we just have to accept that to”err is human” and get over with it.