What to do when you don’t know what to do

“An old woman wearing a hoody coat and covering her face with her hands in yuri ria in black and white.” by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.” — Pema Chödrön

If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself in a situation where you’re not sure what’s going on and you don’t know how to proceed, whether through fear of making a mistake or just through sheer ignorance several times a year.

It’s terrible, I know. You ruminate until your head overheats, you pace the floor until it can officially count as a workout, you talk, write, read, cry until you find a solution and/or you just start imagining the worst and beat up yourself for being incompetent.

Well, we weren’t designed to live life with all the answers. We live to find them out. When you’re in the thick of the problem that’s the last thing you want to hear but the reason you’re stressing out is not because of the thing itself, but because of what you think will happen if you don’t figure out the answer or get the solution to your problem.

Moreover, you may be carrying an assumption that is simply wrong. Usually, this is the cause of (probably) most of our problems. There is something we take as inerrant and when life slaps us, we’re confused and we turn over everything except the one thing we think is a cold hard fact.

I got some news this week that really unnerved me and when I couldn’t understand why something like that would happen I just got even more annoyed. The event was bizarre, the reactions were equally bizarre and I felt a familiar rage possessing me. To be honest, it could’ve been so much worse but I was too focused on the fact that my ability to trust others was diminishing to a record low.

I had to just let myself feel so the deconstruction could begin.

For starters, the event didn’t involve me. I was envious and even jealous of that. The exact context couldn’t have involved me anyway.

I realised that I was placing my values onto others. People don’t live in the same way I do. Furthermore, it isn’t always what people do that matters. It is the intent. No one was trying to hurt me. They were just doing their thing.

I somewhat relapsed and thought that if the situation was any different that people would be upset with me as I was with them. While I definitely think that that’s true, it doesn’t matter. People get vilified for bullshit everyday even when they mean no harm. Just because I’m extra-extra-careful to not step on the insecurities of others doesn’t mean they must do the same. Besides, someone has to keep it real to the extent that they make others uncomfortable.

And this goes without saying but, I’m not perfect.

Also, I realised that there were fundamental flaws in how I viewed love whether the romantic or the platonic sense. To me, if I give I need to receive the requisite amount, nothing less or over. I can’t even begin to count how many problems this one thought has caused for me but this, along with the other points above would never have been addressed, healed and transcended had I not got that unnerving news days ago.

“…everything is perfect, just the way it is. Especially if they don’t look perfect. That’s a sure sign that there’s something huge for you to remember here.” — Neale Donald Walsch

That quote above rang out over the days it took to deconstruct the things I held to be irrevocably true. I’m very thankful for that. To be honest, sometimes I think it hijacked my mind. I’m very thankful for that.

But if we can somehow remember that when things go wrong that means there’s something to learn, that there’s something we think is right but isn’t, we’ll be grateful we suffered throughout our ordeal and have arrived at The Actual Truth ™.

Former Edu. Psychologist | Current Writer | Constant Learner | “By your stumbling the world is perfected.”