Now that is a question that plagues me all the time. Consciously, subconsciously – sometimes both. Am I doing this right? This being life and all the encompasses it. Am I doing it right? What if I’m doing it wrong? Am I making the right choices? Is this the right thing to do? What if…? Continue ad nauseum.
Perhaps to the surprise of no-one, I’ve found that my usage of social media has prompted this latest reflection. Mostly it’s been personal jealousy, but there’s definitely been a side of professional jealousy too.
Lately I have lost count of the amount of friends and people I know getting engaged. Seeing these announcements results in a two-pronged feeling, of happiness for them and a feeling of wondering where I am going wrong. How are these people finding each other, whereas I find myself in situationships that more often than not become plagued by Schrodinger’s Text (the same principal as the cat, but in this case it’s a case of looking/not looking at your phone to see whether they have text. Most of the time, they haven’t.)
This thought process then accelerates with me emotionally self-flagellating myself with the fact I’m defining my self-happiness or self-worth based on the fact I’m not in a relationship. Thereby I’m denouncing any and all other personal achievements, as I feel as if I’ve failed on this front therefore I cannot relish any other success. In more rational moments I can then counter this with the fact a relationship isn’t an automatic gateway to a happy ending, it’s constant work etc. (Yes, I do regularly have these internal debates. Yes, I am aware what a riot I sound…!)
It’s sickening to think how much time and emotional energy I have wasted and will inevitably continue to waste on this vicious cycle. But, really, this envy stems from a bigger problem. My fear that I’m not living my life the ‘right’ way. Have I made the ‘right’ decisions? What if I made the wrong choices and that’s how I got to this point? Could I have done better?
But that’s the thing. Many of us feel this way because we’re all to aware that we have absolutely no idea what we are doing. We firmly believe that everyone else knows what they are doing whilst we feel adrift and unsure.
Red pill time – I’m starting to realise that no-one actually knows what they are doing.
Looking at the our current political climate would be an excellent example of people not knowing what they are doing…
But, on a more day-to-day personal level, this innate need to compare ourselves can cause so much needless harm. For all the wonderful things social media and the internet has provided us with, our usage of it can easily mess with our heads. A snapshot or post about a success of any kind, is not the truest reflection of our lives at the current moment. Our profiles become a scrapbook of which we present the best possible versions of ourselves. We then scroll through each others scrapbooks and can become plagued by insecurities. X is doing so well, they’re doing it all right, they must be so happy.
I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. At all. About anything. Yes, that does include this post – I have no idea where I’m going with this stream of consciousness but it feels rather therapeutic right now so I’m running with it.
Contrary to how I may present myself, be that social media or in person, the only way I could describe my way of living life is stumbling. I stumble through one thing to the next, dealing with what I can and often getting immensely overwhelmed by it. I am very much paddling desperately underneath, no matter how calm a swan I may look on top. I angst over everything, everything I say and everything I do. I worry whether I did the right thing, and if it could be misinterpreted. Did I say the right thing? Did I get it wrong?
And I think life could feel a little easier if we all admitted to ourselves, and possibly each other, sometimes, that we don’t really know what we’re doing.
I have no idea what I’m doing. Literally not a clue.
That’s not a bad thing. Not really. The bad thing is then lambasting myself for this fact.
I am doing what I can. There’s really no wrong way to live your life, as long as you’re not intentionally causing harm to others. We make the choices we can with the information that is available. We cannot regret those choices that we made before as, at the time, they felt like the right ones. We invested that time and energy into someone or something because it felt right at the time. If/when it goes wrong, we can regret that investment but it’s needless. Refunds aren’t available and we wouldn’t be the same if those people or things hadn’t been in our lives.
Existing is easy, living is hard. And there will be times when it can feel particularly hard. Maybe we need to realise that we all feel that way and show each other, and ourselves, that bit more compassion.
I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m doing my best. That’s the important thing I need to remember.
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” – Haruki Murakami