How to get out of a lull
Sat, 17 Jul 2021 01:17:03 +0000
I’ve mentioned that I had an existential crisis while I was away on holidays.
This happens regularly and it’s usually a good sign. One of my biggest fears is to be stuck and to not be learning and growing, and my existential crisis are often related to that. When I have one, it’s normally my brain telling me something needs to change. And normally, I find my way out pretty easily.
However, this time round it wasn’t just something I could shake off with some self care. I had been feeling stuck for months.
First it was Covid and lockdown, when I allowed myself to just be as I didn’t have any capacity to be productive or creative or even to watch a movie beginning to end.
But even after that, I couldn’t get going. And even though I was doing things, I couldn’t shake off this feeling that something was off.
This escalated around the end of May, and even though I thought going on holidays would help, I still found myself going round in circles, feeling disconnected, falling behind.
The truth is, I had been comparing myself to everyone else around me, and feeling like a failure. It was like everyone else was progressing. Everyone was moving and getting new jobs and going back to school. Everyone had the perfect house and the perfect relationship and the perfect life.
I also felt like I needed to do something. I wanted to take classes, maybe go back to school, upgrade my job situation. I wanted to feel like I was learning and growing again.
However, as the proverbial cherry on the cake, I had no idea what I really wanted to do. I knew I needed a change, but I didn’t know what that looked like. I wanted someone to come down from the sky and tell my what my life passion really was, and how to pursue it.
My rational self couldn’t get past my emotional self. I knew that other people’s success doesn’t take away from your own success. I knew that we all move at different pace, that I should not compare myself to others, and that ultimately no one has their shit together.
But sometimes you need someone else to remind you that.
So after two sleepless nights, spent tearing up and fending off anxiety attacks, I went for a hike with my friend Elena and opened up to her.
Elena is amazing for many reasons. First of all, she’s a great listener. She never interrupts, she asks for clarifications to make sure she really gets what you mean, and she checks in with you on how you’d like her to respond to your vents: whether you need advice, suggestions, someone to tell you what to do, or just someone to listen to you.
She also asks the best possible questions.
And that’s what really helped me. After I opened up to her and told her how I was feeling, she stopped climbing for a moment, looked straight at me and asked: Who’s stopping you?
Who’s stopping you from doing all these things you’re saying you want to do?
Who’s implying you that everyone has their shit together?
But also: Who’s telling you that you should be progressing at all times?
It’s me stopping myself. It’s only me between the things I want to do and the things that are not getting done. It’s me coming up with excuses for not achieving, telling myself it’s pointless or not worth it or that I am not good enough.
But it’s also me putting all this pressure on myself. No one is forcing me to enrol in more classes, work full time, or write the new international best seller.
Not evolving really scares me, but there are many ways you can evolve. Luke always says that you have to keep moving, if not forward, at least sideways. So maybe I had been going sideways for a while. After all, I have been doing heaps of things: writing, starting projects, working on said projects, sorting out bus stuff, connecting with friends. And I have to give myself some credit for that.
Finally, and also sadly, it’s also me who needs to decide what I want to do with my life. No one else can do this for me. It’s up to me to sit down and set my priorities straight. It’s up to me to decide what I really want to focus on, what I want my life to look like, and how to make it happen.
Even though I’m not 100% out of that lull yet, I am taking action.
I’m back at creating content, setting myself deadlines, really trying to prioritise values, projects and goals.
I have been asking myself questions like: Why do you want to take over a certain project? What’s your motivation behind it? Is it you or because of some external pressure?
I have also been practicing gratitude as much as I can/remember, acknowledging all the things that I have achieved so far and cutting myself some slack.
Finally, I have been talking to more people about my existential crisis, and everyone has been extremely helpful and understanding.
I’m not out of it yet, but definitely getting there.