I don’t know what to do with my life! It is a revelation that prevails with anguish and desperation in the lives of many. People who are in periods of confusion. Young people who, for the first time, are looking to the world in search of answers.
When we don’t know what we want, we are overcome with feelings of anguish, a void, an absence of purpose and meaning. We have a false perception that everyone around us knows their path and we are stranded like a rusty ship in the middle of mud.
Transitioning through this stage of confusion as a process – and not as an enduring state – helps to keep the torment at bay. We have to keep in mind that everything happens, everything comes and everything changes. It is the best attitude to not dramatize and keep the mind calm.
When we think that this state has to be eradicated as soon as possible, we confuse the urgency with things that are truly important, and so, in an emotional impulse we begin to take sides and follow others. But the way that others show us is often the way of security, not happiness. That is why many people end up in an existential crisis in which they don’t know where to go, and in addition, they also feel exhausted. It is never a good decision to act merely by repetition. It is better to sustain the uncertainty and get to do what we want than being safe where everyone is, with the certainty of discomfort and the intimate sense of self-betrayal.
Know that what you want is only for the brave!
When those who are saddened by the lack of definition share their feelings with others – immersed in confusion and dazed by their contradictions – there are people who exclaim … “You don’t know what you want from life!” I would like to ask those who lightly drop such a conclusion … Is it not an extraordinary ambition to be clear on our path in life? And to not doubt ourselves about the path we wish to take?
Try to answer the question: What do I want from life? It’s very difficult!! It is an arduous aspiration that takes time and maturation. It isn’t a lucid revelation in a moment of inspiration that leaves no room for doubt, nor a magical manifestation that is imposed once and for all without further hesitation.
Knowing what one wants from life is a daily and a continuous journey, with moments of more clarity and nebulae of indecision and perplexity. We shouldn’t see our life in terms of feats or great achievements.
We have to recognize ourselves as human, vulnerable and somewhat erratic. This is to enable us to make mistakes without condemning ourselves.
Know that what we want is not an ascending straight line, it is a spiral in which sometimes we get dizzy – and making mistakes is part of that process of construction – of what is and what is not.
The first recommendation is to stop meeting the search for internal responses with self-mortification and shame for not having everything clear. On the contrary, those who are at this crossroad are often the most evolved people, who have dared to ask themselves questions instead of following the guidelines of the pack comfortably.
The most intelligent action is to become an observer and explorer of oneself, without tension. When one takes the feat of building an authentic life, love and patience is the treatment we need to give ourselves. It is essential to allow us time to realize. It does not mean being immobilized or pause until life is clarified. Much of the confusion becomes clear as we go, just as the fog opens up as we move through it. A first step with doubt is much more valuable than a big jump after years of being stagnant. That is why acting on the small things that are within our reach is the ideal strategy for the big things to happen. What we do today, little by little is giving shape to the life we are choosing. In that sense, we are ancestors of ourselves. We inherit what we have sown in our past.
Just as a painting begins with a brushstroke, our chosen life begins with every action taken with full awareness. Just as the painter looks at his painting and encounters something different from what he first imagined, so it happens to us in our life. The imagined only helps us to take the first step but it is not always a faithful reflection of the result. Just as the painter ceases to long for the mental picture and loves the work done, so we should admire what we have made possible instead of remaining tied to an inaccessible ideal.
Are you listening to the sirens’ songs? Tie yourself to the ship!
It is not easy to know what we want in an environment that bombards us all the time with false stimuli and promises of happiness that are true scams. Discernment is a millennial oriental tool to use in those moments in which we are more vulnerable to buy what a more lucid part of us knows is not true. What we want for our lives is not something that we have to look outside for. Searching is only justified when what one wants to find already exists. What we have to be clear on is that what everyone wants for their life is something to build, it does not exist in advance as if it were an established destination. Walking is the way, so we can’t live life in terms of success or failure, because there isn’t a single path that is right and others not. Actually, there are endless possibilities and all are valid if the intention is founded on doing well and growing. Whether or not it results in what we want, that is no longer in our hands but surely working from the attitude of doing good we will reach a good place and we will be wrong less. The important thing is to feel that we give of ourselves the best in every attempt at elucidation. If we act without commitment, we will not know if didn’t like our choice or if it was our way of relating to that which didn’t work.
How to begin to clarify the confusion
There are a lot of things that we can do to not be stranded or adrift for a long time:
1- The first thing to do is to learn self-observation. Refrain from taking sides and act only on the raw material we have at our disposal: the person we are and who we can become.
2- Self-observation is followed by the faithful commitment to work every day to be at peace with ourselves. An afflicted mind stops being creative. Only when we have a calm mind, do we have the energy to invest in overcoming our challenges. Fertile things never prosper in a sterile mind, idle or full of worries.
3- Being at peace with ourselves is also learning to live in honesty. Know how to differentiate when we are justifying ourselves and when we are telling the truth, when we are exercising an intelligent wait and when we are only immersed in a sterile postponement. Working to be at peace is to act in congruence with our fundamental values and to be true to ourselves by telling ourselves the truth, avoiding self-deception.
4- Trust that the invisible virtue generates visible rewards. Concentrate on giving the best of yourself, in whatever you are doing at this moment. Don’t wait for the ideal time to exercise your maximum potential, don’t underestimate the place where you are. Starting from where you are is the best way to start building a life with meaning and fulfillment. Honoring each place, each situation or state we are going through. Over time, life shows us that nothing is in vain or surplus, that everything serves the purpose of our evolution.
5- Lower the demands and appropriate the process. Going step by step is the only realistic way to approach what you want. We are going to realize what we want in the “now” we are living. Life does not start when we say ¡Eureka! ¡This is what I want! Life is not less valuable in unclear moments. Realize that life is a continuous oscillation in which we sometimes feel up and sometimes down, we help ourselves to avoid taking the moments of glory or failure seriously.
6- To say no to what we already know is not. Sometimes we try the same thing again and again, hoping that this time it will be different. However, an intelligent way of approaching what you want is to discard what you know you don’t want. Investing energy in to forcing us to like what we don’t like is an unnecessary waste that we can avoid. Sometimes, we return to the easy and safe zone and then it becomes the heaviest burden to carry, with the additional feeling that we lost time insisting on what we already knew we did not have.
7- Rest your mind and open your senses, what we feel in the body means much more than what we think in the mind. If you only live in the mind, you lose track of what your body and all your senses tell you. Intuition is a wonderful tool that we can train and sharpen to use in our life choices. It is worth clarifying that when I speak about intuition, “discernment” is fundamental so we are not deceived.
8- Inspire yourself. Perhaps it will help you to observe the lives of those you admire. Searching for references for modeling is not copying or being less original. Having references of what one wants is very beneficial and hopeful. The questions that we need to ask ourselves are: Who do I admire? How did those people get to the place that I want to be? What qualities do they have? How can I develop them in me? In psychology, this tool is called modeling.
9- Work to feel admiration for you, when we overcome a fear, when we take a step beyond our comfort zone, when we move to a place to bet on our growth, we feel an internal pride that empowers us and gives us confidence to continue moving in the desired direction. Those internal battles that we keep silent are the real feats we must use to propel us. No reward surpasses the well-being that one feels when one overcomes an internal obstacle.
There is a Chinese proverb that states:
“All wisdom can be summarized in just two lines: what you should do, make sure you do it, and what you don’t, let it be done.”
There is a thin line between exercising our will and forcing events, between clinging to control and delegating one’s strength to what we later fatalistically call destiny. Don’t stop walking and open the doors that are presented to you with awareness, commitment and responsibility … Sure this attitude takes us to the answer that worries us so much: What do we want from life? But, I invite you to ask yourself this question – what are you willing to give? A life with great rewards requires big bets. Sometimes we pretend that we have enormous satisfaction and we are not willing to move even a pin of its place, because we are in our comfort zone of perhaps laziness or fear…