Dear Zoey,

So, I’ve been reading a lot of self-help articles and books lately. I can be a sucker for anything that digs deeper into the human psyche and experience. I’ve always been a fairly reflective person, sometimes far too reflective. However, in general, I think self-reflection is good. So, among all my “reflection,” I’ve come up with this conclusion:

Nobody knows what the hell they’re doing.

You can dissect and analyze until you’re blue in the face, but what we all end up with is still this gnawing fear of the unknown. We want to know how to meet someone special, what are the signs of a good relationship, what are the signs of a bad one, what are signs that it’s time to throw in the towel, what are signs to keep going. We all just want to be able to compartmentalize our pain and our challenges into a few easy steps and we’ll be on our way. We want someone else to tell us what needs to be done, so that we don’t have to trust our own judgment. Because there’s the kicker…so many of us simply don’t trust ourselves.

I don’t.

I am the queen of “what if’s?” I live in a constant purgatory of which way my life should go, what’s the best thing I can do for you and me, what I can do to make people proud of me. And it. is. exhausting. Because living in this realm of resisting the unknown just prevents you from living. It prevents you from taking any step, in any direction, because you’re always fearful that it will be the wrong choice.

I am fearful that I will always make the wrong choice.

I really want to instill wisdom at this point. To tell you that there is not a one-size-fits-all cure for anything. I want to tell you that people and relationships are made up of a bunch of shades of grey, with no clear indication of what’s right and what’s wrong. I want to tell you that the only way you can ever really learn to respect yourself is to trust yourself. Your decisions. Your choices. Your voice. Your knowledge. I know all of that to be true, but I’m not living it. I don’t really know how to live it, honestly. I live in this deeply-rooted place of constantly searching for validation from others. Thinking that because someone else validates my decision, that it must be the right one.

And in this moment, I am terrified you will end up this way.

If there is anything I want for you…I want you to have the confidence and assertion to act on the things that make your heart beat. To live with abandon AND discernment. To live and breathe and make choices, because they are yours. To not try to sum up your existence with a few “how-to” blogs.

Life is here. It’s now. Stop waiting and start living.


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