I don’t know what to do, I’m desperate!

If that describes how you feel right now then congratulations! The circumstances are right for growth.

You might think that I am pulling your leg, but growth is rarely comfortable. Personal growth, by its very nature, means stepping outside of your comfort zone.

All of us have a desire for self-realisation (to be the best that we can be and live the best life we can live). This desire is stronger in some than others.

Life is a series of problems. The universe sends you a problem. If you succeed in solving the problem then the universe sends you another problem. So it goes! If you do not solve the problem, you have to repeat and so on until you solve it.

We were all born into a family we did not choose. Evolution made us as little survival machines. Survival when we are small means the care, the approval, the look of adoration from a parent or guardian. The survival strategies we adopted as children, successful within the confines of our family, can be disastrous in later life.

In a recent study it was shown that most of us, when confronted with a problem, will try our habitual approach to solving it. If that doesn’t work, rather than try something different, we do the same, not once but again and again. This is very like banging your head against a wall. It keeps you busy but you get nowhere and if you do it long enough it will make you feel crazy!

For example, you realise that you think too much, so what do you do? You think more about how to think less, ironic no? You can and do end up in the absurd situation of thinking obsessively about why you cannot stop your obsessive thinking. Some problems simply cannot be solved by more thinking, especially when your thinking is the problem.

You cannot force unpleasant thoughts to go away. What you resist, persists*. By resisting you simply create more of the same.

Perhaps it’s time to develop the skills of mindful resilience, which starts with developing a different relationship with your thoughts and feelings. Observe instead of just reacting. Allow thoughts and feelings to simply arise, exist and disappear. Your attitude is the key: open curiosity (without judgement, simply curious), a sense of kindness towards yourself (it’s what you deserve) and sense of humour. When we do this we open the door to responding instead of reacting automatically, habitually and unconsciously.

So going back to where we started, if you are currently in that uncomfortable space of “I don’t know what to do”, don’t despair. Celebrate it for what it is: a space full of possibilities for change, for growth.

These are skills anyone can learn. It is how we live awake.

*It may be a thought, a feeling, an emotion or a situation. You suffer when you want things to be different from how they are. What you resist persists. Usually it is not the experience itself that causes us pain and suffering, rather the resistance to the experience. How you perceive the experience determines how you feel.

You are currently viewing I don’t know what to do, I’m desperate!

Leave a Reply