When we concede to life’s plan, things fall effortlessly into place and the urge to resist dissipates.
I spent the majority of my life worrying – I worried about grades, fitting it, if I was living up to my parents’ expectations, if I was the only person struggling with the concept of God, what I was going to do when I grew up, and what I had done wrong thus far. This overthinking often led to a state of paralysis, a shutting down of my mind and a hurried retreat from reality.
I spent much of my life living in indecision. What should I eat? Who should I hang out with today? Which homework assignment should I do first? Lion King or Beauty and the Beast? The most insignificant decisions brought on immense levels of stress. And it didn’t help that everyone and their mother seemed to make fun of me for my uncertainty.
When I would finally come to a decision, I would lack confidence in my choice. I would continually wonder “What if I made the wrong choice?” My psyche and my life were overwhelmed by these corrosive thoughts. Although they weren’t blatantly negative and self-sabotaging, they stole from me time and energy that could have been filtered into more positive and productive activities.
One of the most important lessons that I’ve learned to apply to my life is that of letting go. It took me a lot of time and practice, but I feel that I’ve reached a state where little can detract me from my sense of balance and well-being. Throughout my life, I’ve heard variations on the concept “it’s not what the other person does, but how you react that affects you.” This is all well and good, but where on earth do I begin? So-and-so hurt me so much; how am I supposed to not let that bother me?
It’s a matter of forgiving a person and forgetting that they have wronged you. It’s a matter of giving the other person the benefit of the doubt because we all make mistakes and chances are he didn’t mean to hurt you. Letting go involves finding the silver lining and feeling gratitude towards the wrong-doer for opening a new door, revealing a new perspective, or at least helping you clean out your tear ducts. Letting go involves living your day-to-day life, regardless of external circumstances. Is eating a tub of Ben & Jerry’s and cutting off contact to your closest friends really going to make you feel better? Why not instead focus on improving yourself and fostering your current relationships.
To say that I had a rough life would be a lie. My parents are still happily married, I went to private schools, I’m part of the racial majority, and I’ve never been bullied. What made things challenging for me was my high level of anxiety, perceived low levels of “fitting in,” low self-confidence, and tendency to doubt and blame myself. I made my life tougher than it had to be through my habitual ways of thinking.
I’ve learned that the little daily choices don’t really matter in the long run; however, they are reflective of my character, so I try to make the choice that best align with who I am and how I wish to portray myself.
I’ve gained confidence in who I am, what I believe, what I stand for, and in my ability to make the right choice. The choice may not be popular among the majority, family, friends, or mentors, but after taking their arguments into consideration, stand by your decision with a firm conviction. So what if you’re wrong? So what if you make the wrong choice? You may be embarrassed for an hour or a day, but after that everyone is likely forget the incident.
I believe that there’s something inside each of us that knows what’s best and knows what we personally need to do to arrive at that ideal place. Learn to listen to and trust that internal compass, for you don’t need to understand the mysteries of the wind to sail effortlessly around the world. Life has a plan for you, but first you need to stop resisiting its subtle nudges, and subsequently open yourself up to the endless possibilities that life has to offer.