Things to do, when you don't know what to do

7 June 2017

You know those times where you feel lost and alone, and you don't really know what to do or what you want in life? Yeah, you're not alone. And here are the things that help me, personally, through times like that.
Hope it helps some of you.

1. Get over yourself

Just kidding, don't do that, that's not a thing. Remember that.

2. Try to think about what you want as an individual 

I want to emphasise the 'what you want' part here. Not what you think you should want, what other people tell you you want or what your environment wants you to want. Try to filter out all pressure from outside and look at what you want for yourself. This is obviously easier said than done. But at least try to do some things just for yourself. Even if it's something small like buying flowers or doing some yoga. 
Sometimes I find myself overwhelmed by the amount of things I have to do, and oftentimes I realise they're things I don't really want to do, but I feel like I have to do. It's great that your helping your friends, parents, neighbours, etc., but learn to see when you need help, and make time to help yourself. Taking even as little as 30 minutes a day to do something just for yourself doesn't make you a bad person. 
And if you're not happy with the future you see ahead of you, do everything in your power to change it, because in the end you're the only person truly in control of your life and your future. 

3. No one's perfect

So you failed a test, final, semester or school in general. Sometimes you make mistakes, everyone does, even though it might not feel like it at times.
Obviously mistakes have repercussions, but most of them are temporary, and even if they're not, you can't let them get the best of you, so stop beating yourself up over them. You can't change things that happened in the past, you can just learn from them and try to live with them. 
So go ahead, make mistakes, you're only human after all.

4. Remember the only thing standing between you and what you want is yourself,
and a lot of other things probably, but you catch my drift 

Have you ever been in the situation where you want something, but you're not completely sure if you're going to succeed, so you just don't try? Stop doing that.
Self sabotaging is a very common and normal thing. Our brain is programmed to averse loss, rather than seek gains (this is actually true). But once you make yourself aware of this you can try and work around it. Being afraid to fail is normal, but trying to be stronger than that fear can sometimes lead to great things.

6. Set a goal and work towards it

If you feel like you're not progressing in any kind of way, set a goal that you can work towards. This can be as big or small as you want. I am currently working towards studying abroad. This goal that I have put out for myself in the future gives me something tangible to work towards, a motivation. And of course having something to work towards doesn't make the road less bumpy, but they make the bumps more bearable, and even worth it in a way. Sometimes I feel like I'm not going anywhere and I don't really know why I'm doing what I'm doing, but having some kind of finish line, makes everything more worthwhile, for me personally. 

5. Create some kind of structure

When I feel overwhelmed and powerless, I try to regain my sense of control by creating structure. Sounds a bit abstract, but for me this implies, filling in my calendar and planning the weeks ahead. This way I feel like I know what's coming and this gives me some kind of inner peace. For you this might mean cleaning your room, reorganising your desk, starting a new hobby, etc. Just look for something that makes you feel like you have control over your life, because you do.

7. Think about what makes you, you, and learn to love those things

I sometimes feel lost thinking about who I am or who I'm supposed to be. Do I do certain things because that's who I am, or because that's what I think I should do to answer to some kind of pressure I feel.
I'm awkward, like 'out there clothes' and don't like to open up to people. Things I often feel I have to change, but I know I don't. Forcing myself to open up to people, trying to look socially competent and dressing 'like I'm supposed to dress', isn't going to make me a better person, in contrary. The person you're the best at being, is yourself, so just be that, or at least try your very best.
I sometimes, and I know I'm not alone at this, lose myself in what I'm trying to be instead of just being myself. Constantly overthinking what other people think about you and how you should behave is draining, just shamelessly being yourself is a lot easier, trust me. And I must admit that I haven't mastered this myself either. Everyone gets insecure and feels like they need to change themselves in some way to conform to some kind of standard, and that's normal. But try to not give a shit from time to time, it's a truly amazing feeling.

8. Be nice to people

Sometimes when you feel bad, you radiate that towards your environment, which is normal, but trying to be nice and talking to people about what's bugging you actually helps an awful lot more. 
I used to be the bitter person that translated their insecurities into anger, which didn't really get me anywhere to be honest. 
Trying to be nice to people, actually makes you feel good, because when you give positivity, you oftentimes get positivity back. This in no way means that you have to be permanently happy and hide the way you feel because that's not how it works, but don't translate whatever your feeling into anger towards people who have nothing to do with it either. Talk to them instead.
Even when people are aggressive or disproportionately mean to you, try to be the bigger person. Put yourself in their position and try to understand why they'd behave the way they do, and try to help or leave their behaviour behind you.

9. Remember it's okay, not to be okay

You know how sometimes you'll tell people about something you're going through and they just react with 'Well, if that's tough on you wait until real life hits you.'.
Reality flash to those people, you're not helping, at all. And advice to for the people who've ever received that reaction, don't be bothered by it. Sure, some situations might call for some 'tough love', but most of them don't, most definitely not when they're mental health issues.
You might feel like you have to be happy and on top of everything all the time, but that's just not how life works. 

This is not a solution for life, just some tips to make the little things that make the big things seem even harder more bearable. This is not going to help you through losing a relative, your parents' divorce or whatever bad situation you might be dealing with at the moment, but I hope it can at least bring you some peace in a way.


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