Mental Ping Pong

  • Debbie 

Mental Ping Pong: The process of driving yourself crazy, going back and forth on a decision within your own mind.

We’ve all done it.

Been stuck trying to make a decision, convincing ourselves, at varying times, that opposing choices are each good choices. It’s a frustrating feeling, not knowing what to do.

Back and Forth.

Will I make the right choice? Why is it so difficult to decide what to do? What if I make a mistake? What if I regret my decision?

The virtual ping pong ball bounces back and forth. And back and forth some more. Until we’re ready to throw up our hands in defeat.

I’ve found myself playing this not-so-fun game this week.

It was all prompted by an email I received. We have a trip scheduled back east in the Fall. We booked airfare on a promotion a month ago, and got a great deal, or so I thought. The email was notifying me our itinerary had changed. Not only had they changed our return flight to include an 8-hour layover, but they actually bumped our flight up a full day, shortening our trip. To say I’m frustrated is a major understatement. But besides that, I’ve been trying to figure out what to do.

My dilemma has been…

This trip was an unplanned, inspired idea. The idea showed up and we decided we’d take this trip sometime in the next year. Then the discounted airfare deal showed up one week later. I wasn’t surprised. That’s the kind of thing that happens all the time when you’re living inspired. So we jumped on the idea and booked the trip for October. Everything felt so right. We had already booked a vacation in August, so the fact we were saving quite a bit on the airfare for this unplanned trip made it doable.

Now, with these changes, and the potential expense of rebooking another flight, I’ve found myself second-guessing the inspired idea to go in the first place. I find myself asking: “If this is the right thing to do, then why is the whole reason we chose to do it now—the special airfare promotion—blowing up in our faces?” Or, is this just a really bad customer service experience with an airline we don’t usually fly, and maybe a sign we shouldn’t be flying them this Fall?

I’ve been going back and forth, trying to decide what to do.

Convincing myself to go with the flow… both trips were inspired and even though we’ve lost a day on the Fall trip, it will work out. And then, a little while later, convincing myself we should cancel one of the trips.

How to end the game.

Since I’ve found myself trying to think my way out of this problem, my first decision was to stop overthinking. To stop trying so hard to figure out the right answer. And to instead, give it some time. Talk to my husband to see what he thinks. And to wait until the right decision becomes clear. Because I know if I stop trying to force a decision, the right one will become clear. It always does.

There’s never a wrong choice.

When you find yourself in a game of mental ping pong, it’s important to realize, if you trust your heart, whatever choice you make, will be the right one. The right choice in that moment. And, no matter how things work out, you will be moving forward. And that’s really what matters.

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