It's easy enough to make decisions for other people- to assume that we know what their problem is and how best to handle it. It's easy to be decisive and clear when it's about somebody else. But try imposing your own emotionality into an otherwise obvious situation, and suddenly a whole lot of lines begin to blur.
A very small case in point: I operate a home/family daycare by day and parent my own children by evening, night, and weekend. During the day, I have very clear boundaries about what is acceptable and unacceptable. For example: No wrestling. No somersaults on the living room couch. No running circles around the kitchen table.
These are clear to me because I know that I don't want someone else's child bashing their head on the corner of my table, falling off the back of my couch (I learned that one the hard way...), or getting punched and crushed in an innocent match of WWF. I have these children for 8 - 10 hours a day, and it's clear to me that they can live without these particular aerobic activities for that length of time.
If I were to consider parenting, there would be a whole other cookie to crumble. Isn't it normal for children to tumble around together, sit on one another, occasionally get carried away with a smack or two? Isn't a living room for living in? Isn't running around the table better than rotting away in front of a television?
And so it's not nearly as clear because my heart is chopped in teeny pieces and I'm thinking about their personal, spiritual, physical, and emotional development for.... well.... the rest of their lives.
I know plenty of parents who are very decisive most of the time and don't torture themselves with every nuance and possibility. And I admire that skill. But I have also grown to appreciate the way my own brain and heart work. By looking for the motivation behind my children's actions for the past 7-15 years, I think I have a pretty good line of communication going. They're not afraid to come to me with weird and difficult questions. With confessions. With fears. I don't think they've ever lied to cover up for something they felt they might get caught for doing. I've never been particularly punitive.
Now, I still torture myself. All the time. I know I'm getting it wrong all over the place, and could really expect more from my children. I know that I'm a big pushover mushpot at times.
If you were looking over your fence at my family, it would probably be pretty clear to you where we are going "wrong"; just as when I look over other fences I think I can see some obvious tune-ups that need to be taken care of.
It's a potential alligator pit though. Yes, we all learn from one another. No, we are not all the same, nor will be parent the same. There is a place for a trusted friend to peel some blinders off in this race. It's a risky place to wade into, this plucking out of other's logs and splinters.
It's why it is so much easier to gossip- get all that great advice out of your body, but avoid the potential conflict and tension of being the messenger. Which makes us all more paranoid. What is so-and-so saying to so-and-so about what she notices in me? Do I really want to know? Would it devastate me? Ruin a relationship?
I wonder if the decisive people have it easier. Decide on your life program and stick with it come what may. Blame the other guy.
This whole human thing can get plenty confusing. We tend to flock together, form relationships, lean on one another, and disagree. Build up quiet defenses. Feel wounded and betrayed.
And see with perfect clarity what the other guy ought to change.