I am a firm believer that in almost every moment, you know exactly what you need to do and exactly what decisions you want to make.
So often we see advice from others because we feel stuck or get overwhelmed by possibility and uncertainty. However, what I’ve learnt even is that when you allow yourself to get swept up in the situation it becomes difficult to navigate.
Think of a boat out at sea, once it gets swept up in the waves the boat has very little control.
Or lets take it back to a previous analogy of a boat with no oars, that was the idea of how little control you have without a sense of direction. In this case it’s more about settling your mind and letting the answers come to you instead of seeking them out.
In my experience, in quiet moments I am able to gain answers or clarification on situations where I previously felt like I didn’t know what to do.
It’s something that you have access to if you want to use it but you have to trust that you are capable of figuring out the situations you encounter.
A person might look at your life and tell you that things should be different.
That you should have pursued a different sort of career, that you should have more friends, that your relationships with certain people in your life should look a certain way.
That might be because they they think you’d be better off with things being different.
This is often based on the way things are or what they think is the right way to live.
It can be difficult to not take on the expectations and ideals of others. So if you’re ever close to conformity remember that different is good and sometimes it’s the best thing for you.
In some situations you might find that that there is a discord between what you want and the outcome you get.
If you’re unsure if this applies to you, think about some of your recent encounters with people.
What did you want?
What was the outcome?
Were you happy with the way things turned out?
It’s worth noting that what you want and the outcome don’t have to align completely. Sometimes you end up happy with the way things turn out even when it’s different to what you originally wanted.
But when you find yourself discontent with the outcome, the reason more often than you might think is your choice of words.
People often talk about how it’s good to open up, to let people know how you feel and be vulnerable.
However, it’s important to add if you don’t take the time to word things thoughtfully the outcome can be just as unhelpful as it would be if you say nothing at all.
Most of us have some idea of where we’d like to be in 5, 10 maybe even 20 years time.
But sometimes the gap between now and then, is pretty hazy.
You know what you want but you’re not quite sure how you’ll get there.
And sometimes long-term plans change.
Maybe you happened to find something you care for more than what you’re currently trying to pursue. Maybe you realised that you don’t really want the thing you were working for. Or maybe you just feel like like doing something new.
For many people they actually end up having a better sense of direction when they change their plans. The gap becomes a little less hazy.
The reason for this is changing plans is a risk and they want it to be worth it.
A message I’m always keen to get across is that as much as it’s important to open up, what matters even more is that you do it with the right people.
For some that may be obvious but others might find themselves wondering who qualifies as ‘right’.
It really depends on the individual.
However, there are a few questions you can ask yourself like…
How do I want to feel when I open up?
What do I want from the person I open up to?
Then come up with the answers and think about the people you know that align with this.
For example, if what you want from the person you open up to is emotional support and a listening ear, it’s no use opening up to someone who is just going to tell you what to do. Or if you want to feel calm and supported it’s no use talking to someone that leaves you feeling anxious.
Further to that think about your past experiences. Can you think of a time you opened up to someone and regretted it? Can you think of a time you were glad you opened up to someone?
I’ve found that these types of situations, when you know what you want, you’ll know what you’re willing to accept.
Sometimes that means being a little more picky about who you choose to open to.
I think regular reflection is necessary.
Take a little while to reflect on your life and think about what you have that you don’t need. It could be a physical possession but take the time to think a little deeper and find if their is any beliefs you hold that you don’t need in your life.
If you’re not actively thinking about the life you create for yourself, you’re much more likely to end up with something that you don’t want.
Our possessions and beliefs play a big part in that.
The way you think and the things you buy or own should reflect the life you want.
If you want a less is more kind of life that is chilled out, relaxing and calm but your home is cluttered and you believe your happiness will come from the things you buy, there’s a discord.
That’s a pretty clear example but it’s not always that obvious. That’s why it’s so useful to check in, reflect and take stock.
Taking space is something we’re often reluctant to do.
It could be space from a person, a habit or even just social media.
For me the purpose of space is to gain clarity.
It’s difficult to get that when you’re in the situation which is why it is necessary to remove yourself.
At first you always miss the thing that you’re taking space from because you’re so used to it being part of your day to day life but then you feel refreshed and wonder why you clung to that thing so much in the first place. Then after that comes the sense of knowing that without this thing in your life you’ll still be totally fine.
I don’t think we always anticipate that that last realisation will come which is why we can be reluctant to give things up.
I think we quite often think the opposite which is that we’ll feel as though we can’t live without the thing or come to crave it even more than before.
It could be something like snacking on sugary foods, a person you believe yourself to be so totally in love with or maybe it’s Instagram.
Whatever it is in your life, don’t be too afraid to take space from it.
You might even find that you no longer want the thing in your life and if that’s the case, be willing to let it go.
Not everything is meant to last.
One of the easiest things you can do is to be kind.
It can come in many forms but I think it is often the smallest things that have the most impact.
It can be easy to think that you need to go above and beyond and make some kind of grand gesture but that’s not the case.
Kind is described as ‘having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature’.
It could come in the form of something small like smiling at a stranger, offering to help someone or even just listening.
You don’t need to be kind because you want something in return, do it because you like the type of world that kindness creates, lead by example.
There’s a well known phrase that says ‘Rules were made to be broken’.
In many cases I don’t agree, rules are put in place to create boundaries, keep us safe and so on.
But in some cases rules can cause us more harm than good, disadvantage the minority and are for the benefit of things we don’t support.
In those cases when it doesn’t feel right to comply, breaking the rules might be the right thing to do.
If you go through a period of stress or anxiety, something that can work wonders is taking a break.
It might seem counter productive and you might feel like the better thing to do is pull yourself deeper into what ever has gotten you off balance.
But further exposing yourself to thing that isn’t making you feel good is probably not going to make you feel any better.
What you might need is to take a break.
In this day and age, in our go, go, go society it can be challenging to really take a break from your day to day life.
And so I think it’s important to figure out what helps you rest, reset and refresh your mind.
It could be a walk in nature where you’re away from buildings and cars but surrounded by greenery and wild flowers.
It could be a massage, something that forces you have to stay still and you have to put your phone away.
And once you’re done you’ll know that it worked when you can go back to thing that had you feeling stressed but you now feel calm and at peace.