The Power in Hesitation

Sometimes when I get dressed in the morning I hesitate about an item of clothing. I think to myself: “I don’t feel like wearing that today” or “I don’t know if I want to wear that”. In other words, I hesitate over a few items in my wardrobe.

When I noticed this thought and pondered on it for a moment I realized that there are so many things that I hesitate about. I hesitate about which classes to take, what to wear, what I eat, what I do in my spare time, things that I buy, use and consume.

Hesitation is natural and is related to fear and doubt. We all have hesitations about some problems and choices that we face today. But what does this hesitation mean?

Hesitation means that we have doubts or are unsure about something. It also means that we are indecisive about something. Hesitation is a tool that our mind uses to sort out things that are bad, good, better, and best.

There is a reason that we hesitate over wearing that shirt in the morning. It either doesn’t fit right, is uncomfortable, we don’t like the style or color, or it is associated with a bad memory. There could be any one of a million reasons why we hesitate about that one shirt. Our job is to figure out what the reason is. Usually we hesitate, ignore the hesitation and put the shirt back into the closet for another day and another hesitation down the road.


I suggest that we ponder on the hesitation. Find the real reasons why we hesitated. Then act on that hesitation. If it is a physical item, such as clothes, a mug, a backpack, put it in a “hesitation box” and leave it there for a while, at least a couple of weeks. Revisit the items in the box. If you still have any hesitations, toss it out. If you figured out why you hesitated, decide if that reason is long-term or not. Perhaps you hesitated because that pair of shorts was too small around the waist but you are in the process of shedding a few pounds. You really love that pair of shorts but they just don’t fit right now. If they won’t fit in the next 6 months, they probably aren’t worth keeping around. Those tough decisions are up to you.

If you hesitate about a commitment, activity, class, job offer, etc., then give yourself time to ponder and find the reason for your hesitation. This is a practice in mindfulness. I can’t tell you exactly how to find out why we hesitate about certain things. I believe it is a combination of doubt, fear, worry, indecision, and other things. I can tell you that we hesitate for a reason and finding that reason gives us power over the situation.

When we learn to use the power of hesitation for our own good and make sure we don’t let the fear and doubt take over then we will master the power of decision-making and discernment. We will be mindful of the reasons that make one thing important to us and another thing not important. We will learn to recognize when we hesitate and examine the reasons why to help us simplify our lives and remove clutter that we constantly hesitate to use.

As we practice mindful hesitation we will find a simpler, less cluttered and less stressful life. We will learn about ourselves as we mindfully ponder our hesitations and discover reasons behind our action or inaction.

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