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My anxiety has always caused me to live with an overabundance of caution. The way I have always felt is that the less I do, the less likely I am to experience negative things. If I never do something, then how could it ever hurt me? If I never experience something, there is no way that I could ever hate it. If I never try, then I never have to know. I could keep on living in this self-imposed bubble of caution forever.
But what I often forget is just how long forever is.
Forever is a long time to never travel. Forever is a very long time to never learn a new skill or hobby. Forever is infinite. The potential for good and bad is infinite. And some days, I don’t know whether to celebrate or fear that fact.
Looking into my future, I can imagine an endless stream of possibilities laying themselves out before me. I could find my dream job, my soulmate, my dream life. I could live happily-ever-after. But I would be naive to believe that the future holds only positivity. I would be naive to believe that my wildest dreams will come true while all of my nightmares just disappear.
Life will never be all good. No matter how many movies and books I read that try to make me believe otherwise, I know that life is so much more than “good.”
Life is chaotic. Life will come running at you full speed, whether or not you are prepared to brace yourself for its impact. Life is beautiful, but life is also so, so ugly. There are things that will happen to you in this life that you may never understand, and I think that is okay. I don’t think we are meant to know the answer to everything. I don’t think we are meant to always understand the events unfolding around us. Sometimes bad things do happen to very good people and that is incredibly unfair. You often see the ones who care the most become devastatingly hurt. Sometimes really wonderful things happen to people who have done a lot of evil and caused a lot of pain. That is the thing about this life that we are all living: it rarely makes any sense.
One moment, you are having the best day of your life, and then one phone call ruins everything. You could be completely in love with someone one day and not even be able to recognize them the next. We will never know what is really coming next for us in this life. There is no magical crystal ball that we can peer into and see our future in. The only thing that we will ever know for certain is that nothing will ever remain the same. Even on the days when you do not feel a big change or shift in your world, there are smaller changes happening all around you. Sometimes life throws us into catastrophic changes, while other times, it works to slowly chip away at and reveal our next big adventure.
You will never know all of the answers, and you should never be made to feel like you are supposed to. Some days, your decisions will be big, while others, they will be so small. The best thing that you can do for yourself through each of these decisions and changes that life throws your way is to always stay true to yourself. There is no guarantee on how your choices will affect your life, but one thing you can guarantee is that if you never choose anything at all, you will never move forward.
There are moments to be cautious, but then there are also those critical moments where we are faced with the choice to finally step outside of our comfort zone. This will not be easy, nor will this choice come without an onslaught of “what if’s?” surrounding it. But sometimes, the most difficult decisions can lead to the most beautiful moments in our lives. You do not have to take every chance or every risk that comes your way, but I hope that when you find something you cannot imagine your life without, you take that chance. I hope you let yourself step outside of your comfort zone and away from your caution so that you can pursue what it is that you really want out of this life. I hope you look your anxiety in the eyes and tell it that this time, you are going to be the one making the decision.
Above all, I hope you let yourself live.
There is so much more out there for you on the other side of your anxiety.