How many times have you made a “to-do” list yet nothing got done? Or perhaps you vowed to go on a diet before beach season only to have gained a few extra pounds by one too many weekends dining and going out? What about telling the person you’re dating you don’t want to continue seeing them anymore yet you still text each other? These simple acts of indecision may seem insignificant on the surface, but actually reveal small truths to the greater picture of the life that you’re living.
First of all, it’s certainly OK to not know what it is you want and who exactly it is that you are because daily life is forever shifting and changing based upon experiences, relationships with self and others, and responsibilities related to studies, work, and/or in the home. At some point or another each and everyone of us contemplates this—whether it be over the course of a day or truly over the course of a lifetime. It’s easier to find an outlet, to bury oneself in work, the needs of others, and chores to avoid the question, “What is it that I actually want and how am I going to ever accomplish it?” It can seem daunting, unreasonable, and perhaps even selfish to contemplate one’s needs yet in reality, it’s your life to live as much or as little as you choose.
Temporary satisfaction may stem from getting a new hobby, being more social, spending more time with your significant other, family members, children, and/or setting a person challenge albeit training for a marathon. But when there is an undercurrent of a dull sadness or confusion, it’s hard to fully live and be present during day to day living. You may physically be visible, but your mind is somewhere else between the clouds. Or on the flipside, you function more on instinct without taking into account the impact of your actions until consequences or successes arise; never truly being self-aware. When you truly give yourself the opportunity to go within and clearly define what it is you desire, who you’d like to be, with whom you’d like to spend time, and what exactly makes your mind tick and your heart beat, is when you start living. In turn, you stop giving mixed messages to yourself, others, and the universe for that matter.
An example of this is when I put all my focus and energy into my studies at university while working to pay my bills and advance my skill set within my chosen field—all before the age of 22. By 28 years old, I was completely burnt out professionally and personally. But I programmed myself to keep up with appearances and move forward with outward ease but lacked inner balance. As time continued to pass, each day blurred one into another to the point of living to work—not working to live. It went beyond a means to support myself and obtain my career goals, but rather an escapism from thinking about, achieving, and making peace with what exactly I wanted. I realized I was afraid to admit to myself what I desired for my life in fear of not being able to accomplish it. The pain of ignoring it was better than the pain of confronting it—so I thought. What I wanted in my heart was not matching up to my words and actions. The more pressure I began to put on myself, the more I would push away who and what I hoped for. I would think one thing and do another. This is human and it’s honest. When there is confusion, misguidance, and impacting internal and external factors, things become muddled and at times lost in the shuffle. Expectations are not met and the suffering of fear, lack, and rejection takes hold. But with self-awareness, determination, and healing, it becomes clear that you and I both are the only ones who can control what it is we actually want and letting both gestures and words match up to achieve the desired outcome. It’s finding the balance of being pro-active. Therefore don’t force something to materialize, but approach it with ease. And before you know it, all the pieces of life’s puzzle come together—because you clearly have set out to construct it.