Have you ever done something and then all of a sudden your mind starts bombarding you with a million questions? Did I sound okay? Was what I said stupid? Did I laugh too loudly? Oh God, what if they thought that was inappropriate?
As a woman, I feel like I’m genetically programmed to think too much into things, to second guess everything I do and to fill life with what if’s. And, almost every other woman I know does it also. I can’t tell you how many texts I’ve gotten from my girlfriends that begin with “I may be overthinking this, but (insert situation here that they are 100% overthinking)”.
The thing is, overthinking everything is not productive in any way, shape, or form. It just makes you less confident and less likely to go with your gut. And if I’m being real here, my gut is about the only thing that I trust (besides my dog, but that’s another story). It makes us less spontaneous, because we’re afraid that the thing we’re about to do is stupid or that someone will judge us for doing it. We’re afraid that we’re making a mistake. And, we become too caught up in what if’s that we forget to just live.
With the year coming to the close, I’ve already made a list of My Top 5 Goals for 2017, however I do think that I’d like to add at least one other thing to that, and that’s to stop second guessing, overthinking, and dwelling on what if’s.
Imagine the possibilities! Imagine the opportunities that this could bring about! Now, I’m not saying that I’m going to completely throw inhibition out the window and go with whatever urge strikes me. That will for sure land me in prison. But, what I am saying is that I need to start listening to my intuition and trusting it more. And, if I end up saying something or doing something that’s a little off kilter (which with me that’s pretty much guaranteed) I need to own it. Not sit around and worry about it afterward to the point where it makes me feel sub-human or like a complete fool.
And, if opportunity knocks and it isn’t something that would cause me bodily or financial harm… I need to just do it. I don’t want to just sit there and weigh the pro’s and con’s and then take the fun out of everything. I just want to jump and see where it takes me, because what’s if’s and second guessing yourself only hold you back.
- What if I don’t get this new job?
- What if I don’t find my soulmate?
- What if I don’t really have it all figured out?
- What if this never happens?
- What if I forget to do that?
- What if….
This kind of thinking only hinders your true potential and all of the things that your life could be. By constantly dwelling on the unknowns you’re making it more difficult to enjoy the only thing that is known, which is the here and now.
Sure, things could end up a big ol’ mess. That’s always a possibility, whether you went into a situation completely prepared or not, there’s always gonna be the chance that you fall flat on your face. So why not embrace it? How else are you going to learn from your mistakes if you don’t let them happen?
There’s a beauty to living your life as an unknown, or at least I’ve always thought so. I have a plan for where I would like my life to be eventually, but I know that it is subject to change at any given point in time. Because nothing in this life is a given. So why would you make your lifelong happiness so dependent on something you aren’t sure you’ll ever achieve.
At 25 I’ve learned some pretty hard lessons. A lot more than I ever expected to have to learn by this point in my life. And every single mishap that I learned from was completely unexpected and they caused my life to take a turn. Not necessarily a turn for the better, not necessarily a turn for the worse. Just a turn. And that turn led me in a new direction. Every. Single. Time.
I know too many people that when life spins them around they grapple and end up drowning trying to re-navigate their life to the direction that it was originally heading and towards the plans that they originally thought out. The thing is, maybe your life isn’t meant to go in that direction? Maybe life keeps sending in a tide not to take you out to sea and drown you, but to guide you to the thing that you actually need to be doing.
And if you spend all of your time second guessing and overthinking the hurdles that you’re having to jump you’re eventually going to end up missing out on so many opportunities that could bring you so much joy.
I spent years (literally) fighting down the idea of starting a blog. I had the idea for this thing over 2 years ago after a massive heartache and a huge set back. But I kept telling myself that I wasn’t a writer, that no one would want to hear what I had to say, that it wasn’t worth it, that this was not the direction that my life was supposed to take. And over the course of time life kept steering me back to this idea again, and again, and again. And I kept shaking it off. It wasn’t until I stopped and actually listened to myself, what I actually felt about starting a blog, and what I could ultimately accomplish with it that I realized I should have done this a long time ago. And if I had, there’s no telling the level that it would be at today.
I spent so long fighting the idea and the direction that was pointing me to creating this that I had convinced myself that it wasn’t worth it and that I was not meant to be a blogger. However, over the past 2 months I’ve realized that that couldn’t have been further from the truth. This blog has brought so much solace, shown me new experiences, and given me joy over the past couple of months trying to figure everything out and I didn’t even know it was possible. It finally dawned on me that I don’t give a shit if any one else likes it. You don’t do this for someone else, you do it for you.
That was the direction that the tides kept pushing me and all I wanted to do was fight them. And maybe if I would have listened sooner this thing would be a huge success by now (probs not, but who knows ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ).
Sit back and think of all the opportunities or ideas that life had put in front of you that you shrugged off with what if’s, with being hyper critical of yourself, with thinking that you weren’t good enough, or interesting enough, or whatever bullshit excuse you gave yourself. What would your life had looked like if it would have all worked out?
And I don’t want to hear “Oh, Tricia, you don’t know if it would have worked out”. You’re right. I don’t. But you also don’t know that it would have failed. So I don’t wanna hear it.
Not every opportunity is made to be taken, but not every opportunity is made to be passed up. And if you never take a step forward into the unknown your life will remain stagnant.
So, going forward into 2017 I’m going to challenge you. Accept one opportunity a month that puts you outside your comfort zone. That’s all. Just one a month. It can be a big opportunity, or a small one. Just make sure that it pushes the boundaries of what you’re comfortable with.
I promise you… it’ll make reflecting on the year a lot different when 2018 is rolling around. For better or worse, you’ll definitely learn something about yourself along the way.