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How To Make That Decision

Losing your head to so many options? Get a grip on these decision-making skills.

Imagine yourself plunked in the middle of a huge mall with P1,000,000 in your hands. What would you do? Spend all your money on clothes? Treat your friends to lunch at your favorite resto? Spend the day with a group of orphans in a theme park? The choices are endless and if you aren't equipped with the right tools, you could spend the whole day just gaping at all the decisions you have to make.

Like a hypothetical mall, the world offers you an endless stream of decisions, from the moment you get out of bed until the time you sleep. Sometimes, the choices are easy, like whether to go out with your barkada on Saturday afternoon or to stay home and study for that Chem exam you've got on Monday. Other times, the choices are more difficult: should you smoke and drink? Should you get into a relationship or not? Or what course should you take in college?

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It might not always be easy, but with a few tips in mind, decision-making can be simplified!

Realizing It

"You can't make a choice unless you realize there's a need to make one," says Me-K Cruz, a BS psychology graduate from UP Diliman. Whether it's about what you're going to wear to your best friend's birthday party or how you should spend your money-you can only make decisions when you figure out that they have to be made. Sometimes it even takes a while before you realize you have to make a choice. Reena, 16, says that one of the toughest decisions she's ever had to make was choosing to leave her long-time barkada. For a long time she felt she couldn't connect with them anymore. They also made fun of her a lot. After a time, she decided they weren't real friends and stopped hanging out with them. Though it was painful, she eventually found new friends she felt really comfortable with and who nourished her spirit.

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Options, options, options!

If like Kyla you figure out that a decision has to be made, the next thing to do is to consider your options. You can turn to your peers or your parents for advice. Either way, it's important to expose yourself to the different options that are presented to you before you make a choice. That way, you're aware of all the consequences of the choice you're eventually going to make.

Gia and Tiffany, both 16, say that one of the most pressing choices they have to make is what course to take in college. Although they turn to their friends for advice most of the time, serious matters, like which college to attend requires asking help from their parents. Kena, 16, shares that your parents' opinion is important, especially in deciding whether you should get into a romantic relationship. "Teens always need a little advice from their parents because they are more knowledgeable about life and are more understanding and sensitive to their children's feelings," says April Rose P. Lina, a psychology graduate from DLSU. It might be a little difficult to open up to your parents since most of the time it's your friends you turn to when faced with these situations. But don't be afraid to try asking the parentals for help. The generation gap between you, mom, and dad might make you want to rely on your friends more. "Teens think that their parents don't understand them because they are either too old-fashioned or baduy. They can't relate since they don't watch MTV, Gossip Girl, Glee, or any of the teen shows," says Lina. It probably requires a big stretch of the imagination to think that your parents have experienced the same things you're going through. But it's always a good idea to seek out your parents or an older person for advice because they most probably have gone through what you're going through. They are wiser and their life experiences will surely help a great deal. Keeping the communication lines open between you and your parents is key-asking them for advice won't just help you make up your mind, it'll also strengthen the ties between you.

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Chinggay Labrador
Contributing Writer
Chinggay Labrador is a freelance writer for several publications in Manila and overseas. An architect by profession, she loves to travel, dabble in design, bake brownies, bike, surf, practice yoga, and contribute to her family's blog, thehappylab.com.ph. She has released three novels, and her latest fictional short story will be published this month under Buqo Bookstore. She is currently working on a collaborative novel. Chinggay is also a yoga instructor teaching vinyasa yoga, foundations and restoratives. 
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