Over the past few weeks I’ve been struggling (to myself obviously, because people don’t like to openly discuss their feelings out of fear of seeming weak or being ridiculed). I’ve been worrying and panicking over certain decisions I’ve made and actions I’ve taken in some aspects of my life, ones that I cannot change or even alter in a small way now. It’s not been fun, it’s most definitely not been positive and the mental toll it’s taken on my self-belief and trust in my future decision making is the hardest part.
re·gret (rĭ-grĕt′) v. re·gret·ted, re·gret·ting, re·grets To feel regret. n. 1. A feeling of sorrow, disappointment, distress, or remorse about something that one wishes could be different. 2. A sense of loss and longing for someone or something gone or passed out of existence
Remorse, that’s the aspect of regret that my brain is stressing about lately. The idea that I have spent too much money on things that do not matter. Worrying that I have made the wrong decision about where to study my masters. Thinking that I’m a burden and that my indecisive nature has cost my parents too much. Doubting that going back to university is right for me, that I’m not smart enough and that my dream career path is just that, a dream and not reality. Worry, worry and more worry, thanks brain for being like this! But, don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for sympathy, I’m just being honest. It’s nothing new to doubt yourself so I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. I guess I just wanted to write it all down to make sense of all these thoughts flying around in my mind.
I’m never entirely sure what triggers my brain to spiral, worry and over think everything, I’ve just come to accept that it happens every so often. However, I think the main contributing factor is the judgement or fear of judgement from other people. I have always, without fail, been someone who hates conflict, wants to please everyone and needs the approval or support of others for reassurance in making most, if not all, decisions in my life. It’s one of my least favourite traits, but one I just cannot seem to shake. I think everyone hopes in some way to be able to please everyone else and make everything the best it can be, but it’s really not possible and I know that but I can’t stop myself from also thinking otherwise. Thinking, as in wishing or longing that I could go back and make a different decision, be more persistent, believe that I am good enough for the job rather than doubting myself and just giving up. All of which cannot be changed now, but I worry about anyway.
I’m just lucky that throughout the past year I have met some truly amazing people with the kindest souls who are always there to support me. So I leave you with this, something a friend, who I have only really known for a month or two now, told me when we were reassuring each other that how we feel is not strange, it’s really very normal to have ups and downs. We just need to believe in our own strength to get through this and learn from it for the future…
“Making a decision isn’t always easy but you need to trust in yourself. Do what’s best for you. Even if in the end you realise that you should have made another decision, it’s okay. We can’t always make the best decisions but at least you can learn from them. …believe in yourself!”
I actually wrote everything before this paragraph a few weeks ago, but the feeling of regret still hasn’t faded and I guess it won’t until I start trusting my decisions and believing in myself in a little bit more. But the main reason I wanted to add this kind of reflection section at the end is because I read something Sophia Bush wrote on her Instagram after I wrote this post and it truly resonated and started a real conversation in my mind of so many more things. So here it is, it may be long but it is well worth reading…
This thought has been resonating with me so hard the last few days. On Tuesday night at the Creator Awards, once Ruthie Lindsey and I finished our masterclass, the room opened up for a Q&A. One woman asked such a thoughtful question, and to sum it up, basically wanted to know we each got to the point in our lives where we stopped being afraid. How we pushed past fear and came into confidence.
Now. Here’s where shit gets real. We didn’t. That whole “get past x and you’ll be onto y” thing? It doesn’t exist. No matter what you achieve, you’ll set a new goal that will be out in the distance. You will never “arrive”. No matter how much success you have – or in many cases the world perceives you to have had – it comes with a shit ton of failure too. But you definitely miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. So you’ve got to choose to take the first step. The big leap. The one that feels so scary that you shut your eyes and scream when it starts. Do that.
Whatever you’re afraid of – the questions usually look like this, right? “Can I do this? Who do I think I am to try to do this? Why would he/she pick me? Am I crazy to think this might be something? How do I ask? How can I tell them? How can I get my foot in the door? How can I get on that plane?” The list goes ON.
The fear won’t magically subside. You’ve got to pick it up and carry it i your pack with you. Roll it up and carry it in your pack with you. Roll it up next to your ambition and your tenacity. Tuck it in with the confident thread that runs up your spine. Right next to your big idea. Your big love. It’s part of you. The sooner you make yourself acquainted with it and quit trying to pretend like it’s not there, the sooner it becomes just another piece of you instead of a larger than life monster in your closet.
You’ll rack up successes and failures in your life. They’ll all be pieces of your puzzle. Regret will be a thing that keeps you awake at night. It’s the thing that makes you ask the unanswerable “what if?”. Next time you as “what if?” finish it up like this… “What if I AM as capable, smart, loveable and worthy as my best friend says I am?” Yup. Now leap. Fuck regret. Don’t let it own you. You’re worth so much more than that.
Sophia’s words made me realise that it is not regret that I am struggling with, it’s fear. Fear of the future. Fear of not being the successful child my parent’s are hoping I’ll be. Fear of being unhappy. Fear of feeling like I’m not enough. Fear of failing. Fear of the unknown immensity of life. The list goes on. So, I guess this post should now be called Fear-FULL, because I’m definitely feeling a whole lot of it. But the same outcome still stands, I need to believe in myself more and trust the decisions I made and will make in the future. I won’t let regret, fear or even the fear of regret own me, I will fight it and believe that I am enough, even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes, it’s the truth and I just need to remind myself of it.