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Don’t wear stress as your badge of honour

My colleague Michelle Baker once told me the phrase I liked a lot: «Don’t wear stress as your badge of honour». This text is about what to do when you “don’t know what you want in life”. And why being stressed about it is not a solution.

When the state of uncertainly and not knowing what to do lasts for a long time, we tend to feel more and more stressed. As a result – we stop listening to ourselves. Indeed, you “have to find the answer ASAP”, “life is passing by, and I am already 25/34/45!”, “oh my, what shall I do?”, “your text here:)”.

Well, to be honest, sometimes we don’t want to look in the direction of “what I indeed want”. At all. If you ask yourself a question “What would be the worst thing to happen if I learn what I really want?” you can get the answer “I am afraid to – who knows what’s in there!” And so here we are – tired and angry, trying to overcome the stress.

In other words:

  • fear,
  • self-doubt,
  • excessive zeal,
  • perfectionism,
  • anger and malice,
  • boredom and
  • overcrowded or clogged mind (so many thoughts jostling for space inside your head)

are major obstacles between you and your goal. They don’t let you tune in to your own wave.

«Oh my, I am 35, life is passing by, I don’t know which direction to take, I am not where I belong to, so I have to decide on my next steps ASAP!» All I can hear in these words is the loud activity of mind. Judgments, analysis, other people’s opinions, books and seminars, advice from parents and friends, loud voice of the inner critic etc. The intention to control and analyse everything, lack of trust to your own feelings. Unwillingness to take note of these feelings when they emerge. Well, who knows where they will lead to? What if you feel discomfort? How would you deal with it? You would most probably come up with one “efficient” solution – run back to the structured nightmare of the thoughts in your head, and run faster!

But if you run back into the noise in your head, you will definitely not be able to listen to yourself.

So don’t wear your stress as a badge of honour.

Instead of this – ease the tension in your overcrowded mind. Come one, experiment a bit!:) You might like the result.

How exactly can you do this?

It’s all individual – the most important thing is to find something your soul responds to. Your feelings, not your thoughts, will guide you here.

You can start from being an observer: How often do I have these destructive I-don’t-know-what-I-want thoughts? How do I feel about them? Whom do I trust more and listen to, instead of trusting myself? Why do I take on board other people’s opinions? How do I feel about it? You can read more on this here.
Don’t be afraid to plunge into your feelings. Aren’t you curious to learn more about yourself, to find answers to questions that trouble you, peace in your soul and calmness of your mind?

You can often hear the advice to find the body practice suitable for you. If you think yoga is not for you, find other ways to stop the jostle of thoughts in your head. Jogging, swimming, other sports, dancing maybe? Last but not least, fly in the aerodynamic tube:) Find the activity which will help to slow down your thoughts so that you could relax (it’s the key word here) and observe yourself. This relaxed (let me repeat that it’s the key word here) concentration on a certain activity, on what you feel (not what you think) in a particular moment helps a lot to stop worrying that you don’t yet have the answer to “what do I want?” question.

You will then see that little by little before getting of the answer to this global question you will be getting “here and now” answers as a reaction to your needs which you finally managed to listen to. You will begin to want to do something instantly:

«I want to bake gingerbread cookies».

«That’s quite a nice view from the window – I want to make a painting».

«The vacancy which I saw the other day is what I need – I am going to write a cover letter now».

You will not only think, you will feel like doing it. One fine day, when you will get used to be more in contact with yourself, you will encounter your deeper desires based on your perception of who you are. This might be something like:

 «I love baking desserts. A lot. I want to open a pastry-shop».

«I will set up my own consultancy firm».

«I will move to another country, and will study the job market there well in advance».

Of course, listening to yourself is only the first step. Then you will want to make it all happen. You might then face hesitations, fear or uncertainty. That’s Ok. It is kind of package deal, you know:) We have to be ready for changes.

What helps you to remove obstacles and listen to what your soul wants?

P.S. One could say “It is simply not the right time now. I have to find the solution ASAP – I don’t have the luxury to sit and wait and listen to my desires at the times of crisis.”

What can I answer? I found my best job (as an employee) and a friend of  mine started her business at the height of crisis. Life continues at times like this. You can read more about this here и here.

Last but not least, if we don’t have the courage to change something for the better at the time of crisis, when all external factors simply push us to do so, would we dare at all, one day?

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More articles:

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Northern Lights >>

Crisis and the power of waiting >>

My 12 job interviews >>

4 questions about the job you’ll love >>

Starting a new life on Monday? Surely! >>

What coaching is about >>

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