On Making Decisions

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I had a great therapy session on Thursday, and we uncovered one of the main causes of my low mood and overwhelmed state.

We’re currently working through another topic in therapy, but I’m glad we didn’t continue with that one this time, as Thursday’s one was more urgent. It started with my therapist asking me how I’m really doing, telling me that she had read my blog posts, and to tell her about them.

I had taken that Thursday off from work, and dedicated that day to self-care. There were moments of guilt, where I felt I should be working. But I managed to challenge that guilt, and replace it with validation that I deserve this time to myself.

I’ve been overwhelmed and moody lately, as a result of stretching myself too thin. I have so many balls up in the air, and I’d be kidding myself if I thought I could keep it up.

Sometime during the session I was hit with a realization. It was something my therapist said, and the questions she was asking that brought this up. It turns out that my wedding photography business isn’t something I want to continue in. It’s the cause of most of my stress and overwhelm. Yes, I’ve been busy with so many things, but those things aren’t having as big an impact on my state of mind as this business has.

We explored this in more detail. How do I feel when I think of continuing with this business? Overwhelm. Panic. How do I feel when I think of pulling out? Relief. But there’s also some fear involved. The biggest one being talking to my business partner about this. Telling her how I feel. That I don’t think this business is working out, at least not for me. That I don’t want to invest myself in it anymore. My therapist then asked me another question when I mentioned being too afraid to have this discussion with my partner. It was the same question she had asked me last year when I wanted to get out of my long-term relationship, but was too afraid to. It’s a powerful one. It goes something like this: Would you rather deal with the consequences that happen as a result of the decision to leave now, and move on from it, or stay in it for another 30-40 years and continue being miserable? The answer seems pretty straightforward right? Well, that’s because it is. But that doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy.

It’s going to be hard to let go of this business. I invested so much time and energy (and money) into it already. And like I’ve mentioned before, it feels as though I’m responsible for the majority of the work. I just can’t do it anymore. I don’t want to. It’s not just this though. I don’t want to work with brides and everyone else who will be involved. I don’t want to have to deal with all the paperwork involved. I don’t want to deal with products that are included (or purchased separately) from the wedding packages. I love photography, but not weddings. It’s a lot of work. I don’t think many people realize just how much work goes into photographing weddings, and getting the images and products ready for the clients. I’ve shot two weddings already. After the first one, I told myself “never again”, but what did I do? I did another one, and once again said “never again”. So what the hell was I thinking opening a wedding photography business? I don’t even like weddings. Even when attending as a guest.

The thing about decisions is that just when you think you’ve made the best decision, other things come up that you hadn’t even thought about when making your original decision. And then the questioning starts: “Have I really thought this through enough?” “But what if…?” New fears may emerge as well, as they did in my case: “What if we close the business down just when we were about to make a breakthrough?”. I asked myself this question, and a big part of me feels like the money won’t be worth all the stress. But then another part of me questions that: “Are you sure it won’t be?” I went from absolute certainty that this is the right thing to do, to doubting my decision.

Writing all this, I’ve decided that I’m still going to stick to my decision about giving it up. Why? Because of that initial feeling. That first moment where I realized that I don’t want to do it anymore. The feeling of absolute relief. The kind of relief that brings tears to your eyes. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

And those moments when the fear is silent, I feel FREE.

12 thoughts on “On Making Decisions

  1. I’m sorry to hear that but it sounds like it’s the right thing to do. I stopped shooting weddings myself this year, last one in April. I miss it and I don’t miss it, I was shooting to make other people happy, to distract myself really and in that time I neglected my health. It’s a lot of hard work and a huge responsibility photographing weddings so I totally, totally understand your post and reasoning. Anyway, I hope you’re ok. Joe

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Weddings and all that come along are very emotional events. There is a great deal of money to be made from them but one must realize that the price is high in the feelings and satisfaction of the customer. I am a pastry chef and thought about doing cakes. I could do 2 a week and be very well off. Money is not what motivates me today I like to help, offer my experience and attention, that’s where my rewards are now

    Liked by 1 person

  3. drgeraldstein

    Without disrespecting your decision, there might be another question to ask yourself. Since you have a gift for photography, and since (I believe) you want to be free of working in a family business, you could ask yourself this: what might be the conditions of a photography business (not necessarily wedding photography) that would make it attractive? The question is a kind of thought experiment. It might lead to something that isn’t “either – or.” Just a suggestion. Running your own business is stressful and lots of work, as those of us who have done it know. On the other hand, working for someone else can also be filled with those downsides.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. yay go you on making a good hard decision for yourself! I hate that part where you start questioning your initial gut feeling but then realise it was telling you something very important and all the other ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ are almost like over-thinking it sometimes. It’s nice that you get to hash it out in therapy and look at deep down, what you would feel/have felt in either situation. This was really helpful for me, for that I thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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