What’s a fence sitter? Someone sitting on the fence. Sitting in the middle of a decision. Afraid to make a choice.
Recently I’ve had a lot of conversations with fence sitters and what I’ve come to see is how much suffering occurs while sitting on the fence. (I also happen to know because I’ve been there myself. More than I’d like to admit.)
On one side of the fence is our current reality. The life we know. The problems we know. And, the discomfort we’re familiar with. I affectionately call that discomfort the ‘blue snuggie’. It’s worn and a little smelly, but I know it and have come to rely on it. (Don’t know what a snuggie is? See here.)
On the other side of the fence is the unknown. It’s the life we dream of and hope for, but fear will never come to be. It’s the relationship, the new job, the self-care routine. We see it and are drawn to it, but aren’t quite ready to jump off the fence into it.
We ask ourselves questions like: What if I’m not good enough? What if I fail? What if I make the wrong choice?
This side of the fence is uncertain and scary. The answers aren’t readily available. And, it seems, part of the human condition is wanting the answers before we leap. You know what I’m talkin’ about. AND, fortunately or unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way.
I like to call this side the ‘purple snuggie’. It’s a new, fresh snuggie that could feel just as good as or even better than the blue one – yet, we are partial to the blue one because it’s so familiar.
In this post, the snuggies represent our discomfort. Both sides of the fence create discomfort – they’re supposed to.
The great news is you’ve made it to the fence. The discomfort in current reality has caused you to get curious about what’s on the other side. And, you climbed the fence to check it out. That’s awesome.
Cheers to you for that.
The not-so-good news is that the fence tends to be the most painful part of the process. And, it’s a spot we can sit on for a long time. I know I’ve certainly sat on the fence for a number of years in my past. I’m talking like six years!
So, what do you do if you are currently on the fence?
1 – Have compassion for yourself.
Judging your process and where you are will not serve you. Doing that will only make it worse. Remind yourself of the steps you have taken thus far (the ones that got you to the fence in the first place) and then be open to the process. (To move through your judgments, see here.)
2 – Gather information.
Allow yourself to get curious about what’s on the other side. Google it. Read some books on it. Talk to some people who have done it. This will fuel your vision and start to ease some of your fears. The impossible can suddenly become possible with new information. (Click to Tweet)
3 – Seek support.
The leap from the fence to the ground can be a whole lot easier with someone holding a ladder in place. Find a coach to work with. Join a group program. Go to a 12-step meeting. Form your own small mastermind community. One thing I know for sure (from my own life and witnessing my clients’ lives), support and accountability create magic and miracles.
4 – Trust yourself.
This can be the most difficult part of the process. But, at the end of the day, you will know when it’s time for you to get down.
In the comments below, I’d love to hear your process of making the leap! What were your fears? What did you do to support yourself? And what was the catalyst for you to jump?
Wishing you ease in trusting the process.
Wow! Great post! Making decision is too often so difficult. Trusting ourselves, seeking support and information RIGHT ON ! I have jumped on the other side of fence and starting in march I am training for yoga instructor…15 months of every other weekend. I sure hope I remember to have compassion, trust and patience with myself !
Amber Krzys says
Go Josy go! I super acknowledge you for taking the leap. Congratulations on your yoga instructor training. That’s very exciting. You can always bookmark and reread this post during your program to remind you: compassion, trust and patience! Thanks for sharing.
I’m interested in talking to other people that have gotten off the fence in relationships but I’m having trouble finding women in particular who are on the fence. In most forums the discussions are about men who won’t commit. I’ve been undecided about my current relationship for 7 years and all my relationships before that. I don’t know if I’m capable of feeling sure enough to commit. If I knew it was me and not my relationship then I could act and vice versa. Problem is I’m 36 and I’m going to miss out on having kids. My partner is so lovely that I don’t want to leave but the fear is so debilitating and constant that I feel I have to.
Amber Krzys says
Hi Rebecca. You bring up such a valid point – what happens when it’s you who is unsure? I’m curious – what would have to happen for you to feel certain? I’m willing to support you here, if you send me an email with your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org. Love, Amber