I'm really lost in my life journey and cannot sense what my future holds. I recently graduated and plan on going back to school but I don't know anymore if it is what I really want to do. I also have been having issues with my love life and don't know how to approach men, let alone let them into my life. I am scared I will end up alone and unsuccessful because I am so uncertain about everything. I have been trying to find work and I am living with my mom who is a student as well. Do you have any advice for me about where I should be focusing my time and energy? – SR
Life is terrifying sometimes (OK, maybe often), SR, and it sounds like you are allowing yourself to get crushed by uncertainty. So here’s a trick: don’t focus on what you don’t know, because that will only make you feel awful. You know for sure that you are scared about work, school, money, men, and your relationship to intimacy. Duly noted. The more you obsess on what you don’t want, the worse you will feel. When you’re scared and overwhelmed, it’s not the time to figure things out, SR. The way I see it, there are two major issues at play here; there’s how you’re handling the stress of your plight, and then your actual problems. The first requires greater self-care and constructive kindness to yourself, while the latter requires a plan!
There are no assurances in life, but if you act in reaction to your fears you’ll have a hard time being happy. All actions (including inaction) have their consequences, and you need to tone down the panic and listen to your heart.
I know you’re in a rush for answers, but if you look for them while you’re in a whirlwind of fear, you’ll only see things from that vantage point. In other words, get calm before you try to fix your world. Step off the cliff of what-ifs and onto more stable ground. Focus on what you do know. For instance, you know that you’re committed to getting work. You know that your mother is supportive of you and working to better her own self, which may be hard right now, but is ultimately awesome. You know that you want to have intimacy with a man, and that you are not quite ready for it yet. That may be super simple, but it’s a start, and you should add to this list. Repetitive focus is like prayer, and it’s always better to pray to what lifts you up, instead of what holds you down. If you can train your mind on certainties, it will help you cope with the unknowable. There are no assurances in life, but if you act in reaction to your fears you’ll have a hard time being happy. All actions (including inaction) have their consequences, and you need to tone down the panic and listen to your heart. It’s way easier to be decisive if you’re not thinking several steps ahead. Stay present, because you can deal with the here and now! The future is a crapshoot, but it’s also not your responsibility yet. So that’s step one.
Step two is the easier part, believe it or not. Don’t go to school until you feel confident about what you want to study, SR! Student debt is no joke, so don’t spend your money or time unless you’re certain about it. Keep on taking consistent, practical steps to securing a job. This isn’t easy, but it is simple. Put one foot in front of the other until your basic needs are addressed, and refer to step one as frequently as possible. Abundance is built on a secure foundation.
This is not the best time to be worrying about love, SR. Your life is in such an unsteady place that you are unlikely to have the confidence to put yourself out there, so don’t. Wait until you have a job and feel more comfortable with where you’re at before you try to heal your intimacy issues; just because you’re alone now doesn’t mean that you always will be! Confronting your insecurities never feels great, but this is a particularly bad time to go about it. Focus on being kind to yourself for now and let the rest follow.
The Mission’s resident advisor gets booked months in advance by San Franciscans seeking help with all kinds of relationship issues. So we asked Jessica if she’d come on board to do a weekly advice column, Truth Talk, for The Bold Italic. If you have a burning question for Truth Talk with Jessica Lanyadoo, you can post your question anonymously here or email her at email@example.com, and check back on Wednesdays to see if she has an answer for you.
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