You know that nervous feeling you get at the top of your chest, that crease in your brow that always seems permanently engrained when nothing in your life seems guaranteed, that frosty sense of mental fog that drifts into your mind’s forefront when all that makes you feel most secure in this world is thrown off kilter?
That, my friend, is uncertainty. Or acid reflux. But for now, let’s stick with uncertainty.
The complex, dynamic event that takes place when a person feels dismantled from their assurances is one difficult to infuse into words. Yet, when it comes to lack of certainty, so many of us are fighting tirelessly for answers, searching relentlessly for words of comfort and guidance…only to find thousands of Pinterest boards and Instagram captions flooded with remarks lacking richness and depth.
Don’t get me wrong. Those Pinterest boards can help. But what they won’t do is fix the ache in your heart that’s been gnawing at your sense of self-worth.
Take a moment to clear your mind.
When did this spiritual hole start to form, this idea that you are lost, this draining of your sense of worth?
It may have been five years ago, when the traumatic experience you don’t want to talk about began to block you from accomplishing your goals. It may be a few weeks ago, when you realized you were completely in the wrong when you chose your career path solely based on the comments of others and the number of digits behind a dollar sign. Or it may have been at 11:52 last night, when you never saw a change in a relationship you value more than words coming toward you.
No matter when it was that this budding emptiness began to eat away at your thoughts, I want you to acknowledge something more critical than anything you might ever concede in your lifetime. And, if you allow it to, this simple, tiny nub of information holds a remarkable ability to alter your life’s course.
Here it is. Ready?
There was a beginning to the haze that you feel right now, the misty lack of foresight that you think is keeping you from becoming the most magnificent version of yourself. You just acknowledged that beginning.
There’s an end to your over-thought, uncomfortable, anxiety-ridden feeling of being stuck, too. And it’s so much closer than you think.
Sometimes, when God and all his grand forces of life feel as though we aren’t listening closely enough – when they feel we aren’t using our distinct, incomparable gifts, they force us to be thrown to attention. They take away our sense of stability to convince us to finally look up to the sky and, for the first time in a long time, acknowledge their presence again. And no, it doesn’t feel good. But what will feel good? When you realize the why behind the madness.
No one ever goes through life without tackling bumps in the road or scratches and bruises from trips in the dirt. No one feels completely fulfilled throughout the entirety of their life course. It’s unrealistic. It’s not real life.
So when you see someone smiling and happy and positive and seemingly in a perfect mood all the time, remember: the people who are often the most happy in this world are the people who have experienced enough turbulence in the past to appreciate the wonder and beauty currently gracing their lives.
I’m not saying that every one of those “always happy” people has been through exactly what you’re going through, or that they’ve experienced enough hardship to never stumble again. What I’m saying is that there are seasons of life — ebbs and flows in our sense of satisfaction — that occur for the sole purpose of helping us become more familiar with and aware of the good stuff in life. Some of these occur in the settings of relationships; some materialize in the context of our ability to achieve our goals.
But then the curveball gets thrown.
Nobody likes to be caught off-guard. Change is already naturally challenging for human beings to become comfortable with, so when it does happen – and when it happens in a way that makes you questions your own sense of worth and confidence in where you’re going – that’s all you really feel able to pay attention to.
*And suddenly, another “guess what?” appeared.* Take this as your official reminder.
When a change happens in your life that makes you feel unsure of yourself, perhaps it was actually placed there to test you. Not to deeply harm you, not to scar you, but to push you to be better than you are right now.
It took a lot for me to realize that I needed to alter the way I was thinking and the way I was living my life every day.
After a conversation with one of the people I love most dearly, I felt an electrifying force pulse through what felt like my entire body. Nothing felt like it was going my way. It seemed I couldn’t do anything without questioning my worth, my abilities, or my purpose. And the worst part? There were so many things I wanted to do, so many dreams I had, so many attempts at my goals left untouched. The next morning was when something strangely seemed to click.
I don’t know what Pinterest quote I read, what inspirational TED Talk I watched, or what little piece of advice from my mom or my best friends or my coworkers or my family, or what idea so swiftly captured my attention that made everything suddenly seem so much better.
You are in control. Your thoughts are your own.
Your mind holds only the amount of control over your life as you allow it to. A person is not an element of a mind. A mind is a miraculously high-functioning portion of what makes you a human being- but what makes you human isn’t the fact that you have a mind. What makes you a person is the fact that, unlike the majority of species on this planet, you have the ability to think – and to do so deeply. You can reflect. You can pause, and force yourself to interrupt the flow of ideas into and out of your mental space. But do you take advantage of this ability? Probably not. Life would be so much easier if all we had to worry about was eating, sleeping, breeding, and – um – disposing of waste. But that’s not all we were created for…we were purposely made and graciously intended for so much more than that.
Look yourself in the mirror, and tell yourself this: “I am in control of my thoughts.” Because you are. It’s just that up until now, your ability to realize that was hindered.
We become so eaten up with business and distracted by mental clutter that we so often fail to realize that the “glass half full” mantra is recounted time upon time for a reason. If it weren’t substantial in terms of applicability to the everyday lives of millions of people, such little words wouldn’t be remembered today.
Focus. Breathe in, breathe out.
You are enough. You always have been. You’ve maintained the ability to flourish this whole time, but somehow and for whatever reason, the circumstances occurring in your life and in the world made you assume lesser than this.
You thought wrong.
So take a moment and decide. Decide that you’re going to stop this tumultuous, never-ending cycle of doubt, overthinking, and ‘what ifs.’ Quit telling people your dreams and not fighting for them, and stop yourself from thinking that you aren’t going to eventually discover what you’re meant to do.Stop surrendering to your anxiety about the future, and start pacifying the voices in your head that you’ve had control over all this time.
You are alive. You are well. And whether or not you yet know its specific intricacies, you have a purpose.
Without a subtle, occasional waning sense of uncertainty pulsating throughout the various veins of the years of our lives, none of us would ever be able to truly recognize and appreciate our gifts and god-given purpose for what they are. Your relationships with others will never flourish and grow without this understanding of yourself.
Take the next couple days to allow yourself what author and entrepreneur Emily Ley refers to as “margin for what matters.” Be mindful of your breathing. Drink water with lemon. Take a walk by the water. Buy some flowers. Light a candle that smells like the tropics. Go for a run or take a yoga class, and feel the endorphins fill your body afterward. Play with a puppy, and listen to a baby laugh. All these things are part of life, and how awesome is that?
Know that things aren’t that bad right now, as much as your mind may want to convince you that they are. Understand that you are powerful beyond measure, and as long as you believe it, you are strong as bourbon and can get through anything if you have faith, motivation, and grace.
Take action. Take the helm. Take your mind back, and reclaim your life.
No one deserves to feel like their life is filled with fog, but when it does happen, it is only to push you to remember your own jetpack that will propel you to clearer and more positive habits of thinking. So catch your breath, and find your balance. Breathe in again, out again. And take that first step. Guess what?
You’re gonna figure all of this out after all.
The people who love you are there, have been there, and will always be there. Let go of the fear and grab hold of the powerful spirit within you, and step forward. One foot in front of the other, until you’re out of these clouds.
Know that you are about to flourish. Your moment is around the corner.
The only thing in the way of your growth, your empowerment, and the brilliant synchronicity of your dreams, goals, and passions, is your mind. Pacify those little ants of negative thought. Exterminate them. You don’t need them. They may be all you know, and you may have grown accustomed to their presence, but there is no space for their negative energy in your life. You need that space to grow.
Know that you will emerge victorious. Resolve. Radiate. Grow. And just be.
No more waiting. Your moment is here. It’s been here awhile. It’s simply been waiting for you to open the door.