I saw this tweet the other day that resonated with me completely:
This tweet hit home for several reasons when I initially saw it. I’ve been feeling “stuck” for the past few months, not really knowing what I’m doing at this time in my life. I had the conversation with my mom that it feels like I’m just floating by, grasping what I can, how I can. Thankfully, I’ve been getting by, but it’s started to take a toll on me, from physical to mental. It’s been a series of emotions that have managed to snowball into a bigger hindrance. I know that I’m not the only person who has or is currently experiencing the feeling of idleness, and trust me, I get it, so this read is for you.
I feel like the older we get; the more strain falls atop us. We usually tend to let feelings of inadequacy or fabricated expectations lead our lives from societal pressure to loaded standards created by ourselves or our families. It’s also easier to allow those feelings to roll over, even subconsciously, than to acknowledge them honestly. I’ve noticed that the stress of figuring out my life and what I want to do in it has only increased since entering my thirties. Although the natural thought process that develops with age can be a great thing, it can be equally destructive. I’m aware that because of experiences, expecting what we envision for ourselves may not always be what’s for us, which can be a hard pill to swallow. Accepting that is even more challenging as a Black woman. Combining that harsh truth with your own personal development and expectations can definitely get the best of you if allowed. See, getting stuck isn’t the problem. It’s the self-doubt and other negative thoughts that don’t do anything but trap us in a spiral of regrets as we repeat the same regressive patterns. Thankfully, like most things, these feelings pass. Life does get better, this we know, but, in the meantime, I’ve learned to do the following when my optimism is obsolete, and that stuck feeling starts to linger a little bit too long.
From church and bible scriptures to crystals and meditation or all of the above, everyone has unique spiritual paths that help keep us centered and what I like to call “full.” In moments of despair, staying spiritually aligned with God, honoring that relationship through whatever I’m going through sharpens my outlook. Situations are handled with much more faith and determination for peace. We’re human, so of course, some cases won’t always be dealt with that outlook, which is okay. Remember that our circumstance is not the main character in our stories; it will pass.
Coming Up With a Short-term Goal List
As a certified overthinker, this is necessary. Many of us give too much energy and overanalyze situations that sometimes don’t even exist, lol. When we do that, we stay in a constant state of panic, which isn’t always loud or pronounced either; it’s experienced mostly internally for people. Coming up with short-term goals instead of long life-altering ones is more effective for people like us. Take one thing at a time, ensuring never to put too much on your plate because those things will still be on that plate at the end of the day.
One of the most important things we should always be aware of is caring for ourselves. The best thing about self-care is how big the umbrella is! Everything from a bubble bath and a glass—or three— of wine to finding the perfect therapist for you falls under all things considered self-care.
For me, I try to incorporate things that make me feel at ease or just damn good every chance I get. Not at any fault to my parents, because they only presented what they knew, I wasn’t raised to celebrate myself as much as I was prepared to work and survive. Although those roots will always be a part of me, I had to learn what it meant to take better care of myself, which included way more than keeping my bills paid. Pouring into ourselves, however, and whenever we can is essential. We can’t be great for ourselves if we aren’t better to ourselves.
It took a drastic loss in my life recently to really receive this. It’s easier said than done, but it is accessible to us. We only get one life, and spending it worrying about things that are out of our control is a waste of time, opportunity, and ideas. Whenever I’m stressed or feel anxious, I try to control the situation with urgency while handling myself gently and with grace. I check myself with the reminder that I’ve exhausted all options at this time, and all I can do is manifest the best outcome. Lord knows this used to be the most challenging skill to master. I spent a lot of time regretting past decisions and comparing my life to others, and not focusing on building my own. Now that I’ve passed that, it’s a priority to recognize that I’m blessed and stride in gratitude. Life is a gift, and nothing is guaranteed. It’s crucial to stay aligned with what’s most important.
Now, I’ll admit I’m still a work in progress myself when it comes to following these four vital keys. But, I’m grateful to finally be at a point in my life where I can see clearly what needed to be noticed. If you’re reading this and feeling unfocused, lost, or just unsure where your future is heading, it’s completely normal. Growth is complex, just as it is necessary. It can be gruesome and uncomfortable but please never stop giving yourself grace. You deserve it just as much as you deserve the success we’re all chasing. This adulting shit is hard; life is a lot. Try not to deplete yourself when all you have is yourself.
Jenelle Parrish is a writer based in Brooklyn, NY. Using her voice to share her struggles, stories, and journey, she only hopes to be a progressive tool for other young black women like herself.