I think we all come to a point in our lives when we don’t know what to do. When we’re faced with that moment it can leave us feeling helpless and hopeless. Especially when you’ve dealt with trauma, eating disorders, addictions, and various mental health issues, having to deal with difficult decisions can seem impossible. The coping mechanisms that we’ve used for so long are no longer there to act as our security blankets. Therefore, we have to navigate through life on our own two feet —and that’s scary.
You know it’s ok to not know what to do. It’s a part of life and it’s something that everyone faces all the time. When we are going through recovery it can feel especially shocking. But the thing I want you to remember is that everything works out for good in the end. Practicing mindfulness and surrounding yourself with positive people, places, and things is critical to helping you make the right decisions and move forward when you are unsure as to what direction to take.
Along with mindfulness and surrounding yourself with positive people, here are some tips to help you when you find yourself not knowing what to do.
Stop, take deep breaths, and seek your Higher Power for wisdom.
This might sound silly, but it’s not. When we are at a crossroads, how often are we tempted to act impulsively, often out of our own emotions? Emotions can be wonderful, but only if they are balanced. I’ve been doing a lot of work with trying to keep my emotions at bay over the past few years, but it’s an area that will need improvement for the rest of my life. Therefore, when we find ourselves needing to make a decision and we don’t know what to do, as naturally impulsive people the best thing we CAN do it stop, breathe and ask our Higher Power for advice. If we are the smartest people in our lives then we are not living a very fruitful life. Our Higher Power, which for me is God, knows what’s best and will always guide and direct us, we just have to be willing to stop, meditate and listen.
Be positive and consistent.
Ok, so you’ve asked your Higher Power, you’re trusting but you’re not seeing anything changing in your life. Now what? The best thing you can do in this situation and in any situation, is keep a positive attitude and be consistent. Do the right thing, all the time, even when no one is looking. This helps carve out your character which is essential for long-term growth and pushes you forward on your path, whether you realize it or not. Have you ever heard the saying that the most is happening when you feel the least? I have found this to be true and you don’t have to know what to do in order to be positive and consistent in your actions and attitude. You’ll be grateful later on when you realize that your character has been sharpened during the difficult, quiet times.
Above all else, trust in your Higher Power.
Now I believe in God, yet I am an open-minded person and respect everyone’s spiritual preferences. Which is why you’ll see that I refer to “Higher Power.” I am not religious in any way, shape or form even though I was raised Independent Southern Baptist. During recovery I founded my own intimate, personal relationship with my Higher Power and that happened to be with God. But I believe wholeheartedly that unless our lives are rooted in the spiritual, we will never have the full, happy lives that we deserve.
And this rings true when it comes to moving forward; first we stop, breathe, seek out wisdom from our Higher Power, then we consistently keep a positive attitude. Finally, it is critical that we trust in our Higher Power throughout the decision-making process because many times, like I mentioned earlier, there is a period of silence. Sometimes that silence extends for years. We can’t trust ourselves, why? Because we are human and we are flawed — we will always fall short of our expectations. But God (or our Higher Power) will never disappoint us and if we trust in Him we will see Him come through every single time. During the trusting process our faith is tested and that’s a good thing. Do you know how many times my faith has been tested? So many times I’ve lost count. Letting go and trusting has been of massive importance to my recovery process and to moving forward when I didn’t know what to do.