Here we go, jumping into the deep end of the pool. Do you know how to swim?
That is a key question LIFE asks you from the very beginning. Can you keep your head above water during an unexpected dunking?
Sometimes you get the chance to slowly test your bob-ability in life, but other times someone/something just grabs you out of that comfortable deckchair where you were so serenely lounging—soaking in the sunshine and quietude, and tosses you into the cold, dark water, yelling, “Sink or swim!”
To carry that analogy a little bit further, for many of us, our parents did their best to “drown-proof” us with swimming lessons and floatation devices, but LIFE has a way of bypassing the safeguards set in place with the best of parental intentions.
And sometimes, if we are being honest, not all kids had the helicoptering ‘protective parent’ to rely on, so some children were forced early on to save themselves as best they could.
Whichever ‘deep-end dunk-ee’ you might be, what matters most now is to determine what your current situation is—are you safe and secure on a solid foundation or are you still treading water with the fear of drowning in your every conscious thought?
Sometimes we feel overwhelmed with meeting daily, essential needs and fulfilling our responsibilities to our families, to our jobs, to our friends, and lastly, to ourselves. There may be no water involved at all in our actual scenarios, but we still FEEL like we are slowly drowning.
If you are actually feeling that way, then be honest and acknowledge it—to yourself—to those you care about—and especially to those who may be able to help you in some way. Sometimes we all need a different perspective on our personal situations because we can’t see beyond the end of our noses when LIFE is so overwhelming to us. Counselors, therapists, support groups, etc., offer that ‘other perspective’ to help us assess the problems we may face and to suggest possible solutions that we might not be aware of, that could change our current situation for the better. Sometimes you just need someone to listen and someone to say, “Hey, what about this?”
This is the first step in assessing your life. Ask yourself to honestly define where you are at present? What are you experiencing physically, mentally, and emotionally?
‘Spiritually’ is a whole other consideration, so we’re not going there right now, and that’s also why I didn’t mention ‘clergy’ in the listener/advisor consideration. It’s better to have someone listening to you who won’t push their own tainted perspective/agenda. In truth, sometimes a listener’s ‘tainted perspectives’ may clash with our own deepest psychological needs to express the truth of our being, and it may prevent us from being absolutely honest with that person and or even with ourselves.
More questions to consider: Are you sure of yourself and your future intentions—your proposed life direction? Does that seem to be working well for you? What aspect isn’t working so well for you?
Are you confused about your life’s path and how the terrain around you doesn’t look exactly like you had thought that it would by now? What is different about where you thought you would be by this age and where you actually are?
Day to day, hour to hour, do you feel happy most of the time? Or do you feel sad, or disheartened, or disappointed, or resentful, or even angry, and you may have no idea why you feel that way? When someone would ask me how I was doing at any time, I would always immediately say, “I’m fine.”
Was I really FINE? Probably not, but I was doing the best that I could at that time. Is that how you truly feel? Are you FINE, until you aren’t? What does FINE really feel like for you?
So my suggestion here is to first determine where you really are, and what you are actually feeling at your most honest, heart-centered emotion. And if you don’t have a professional ‘listener’ like a counselor or a therapist to hear you explain your feelings and to make you dig for the deepest stuff you’ve long ago buried in your most-secret, childhood memories, then buy a thick blank notebook, and start writing it down—write down the questions I’ve mentioned here, then write down your most honest, heart-felt answers to follow them.
In other words, start a JOURNAL!
Journaling has helped me to better understand myself in more ways than I could have ever imagined. Sometimes I would have no prior idea what was going on in my troubled head until it flowed out of the pen and onto the paper under my hand. I have journaled for thirty years. It helps tremendously to clear your mind.
I view journaling as a critical step in assessing where you are in your life. So take the time. Get what’s bothering you out of your head and onto the page under your hand.
You might be pleasantly surprised or maybe a little shocked, because it really helps clear the brain-fog and sort through stifled emotions. Certainly works for me.