“It’s okay to not know what to do.” I had this exact thought when I woke up this morning.
I awoke, my head full of worries. This is not uncommon. What was less common, however, was how sick I was of worrying. Normally, being a rather naturally high-anxiety personality to begin with, I have a fairly high tolerance for worry.
But not this morning. This morning I had had enough.
And I remembered something my life coach taught me during the year when I saw her for weekly sessions. She said that trying to grasp onto a situation and control it by thinking (aka worrying) endlessly about it not only makes the worry worse, but it also prevents the fresh air of a potential solution from ever finding its way in.
When I would arrive for my sessions worried (which was always) she would calmly invite me to let go. To just let go and let the situation be unresolved – to let the outcome be unknown for at least that hour we were together – to just allow it to have its time to sort itself out without any extra “help” from me – that was very hard for me to do at first.
Now that I have realized I have forgotten to practice these skills all these months, it is hard for me again.
But she was – is – right. Because the moment I thought to myself, “Shannon, it is okay to not know what to do,” I relaxed for the first time in many, many mornings. I actually relaxed so much I fell back to sleep again!
When I was tempted to start up the worrying again throughout the day today, I would remind myself again, “It is okay to not know what to do. It is okay to give this situation its own time to work itself out.”
And even if I happen to think one whole day should be plenty of time for a resolution to present itself, which means I’m now starting to feel impatient (and more than a little worried) again, for at least one day’s time, remembering it is okay not to know what to do or how to fix it worked for me.
I felt calmer. I was able to focus and go about my day without the worry knocking on my door every five minutes to stick its head in and inquire, “Any news yet?”
If I wake up tomorrow morning worried – which is likely – I am going to try it again. “It is okay to not know what to do. It is okay to not know what to do. It is okay to not know….”
Today’s Takeaway: How do you handle the “not knowing what to do” part of sorting out a question, problem, opportunity or dilemma you have? What works best for you to ease worry and allow the situation to resolve naturally in its own time?
Anxiety image available from Shutterstock.