The Dilemma Set-Up
As a counsellor I have found that many people are stuck because they are on the horns of a dilemma. Many times people are faced with difficult decisions because two or more important values, beliefs, or rules are in conflict. There may be no one right decision. That is what makes it a dilemma! People seem amazed to hear this. But it is reality - any decision going one direction precludes the other direction - having to choose between two equally important things and not wanting to creates the feeling stuck.
A Dilemma Example
In a marriage when one spouse has to move for a job, it means if the rest of the family moves they will lose their support networks and have to change friends, jobs, schools, etc. So the value of staying together and supporting the one person’s career conflicts with the social and stability needs for all the others. Yet, the family’s financial future may depend on that move.
The Role of Emotions
Dilemmas raise all kinds of conflicting emotions. It is important to allow all of them safe expression. This is an area where a counsellor can be particularly helpful. Is there some history around these feelings, some old emotional wounds that need to be cleaned up (often from a young age in our family of origin), some rational or irrational fears?
The Role of History
If the current situation reminds you of an earlier similar situation, it is important to explore how it is the same and different from what happened before and how you are the same or different prior to acting as if the past dictates your future.
Next post: Working Towards the Solution