I am a person of action. I get things done, and I don’t typically ask for help, but I seem to be the person people come to for help. If someone I know has a computer problem or technical issue, they text or call me. I think they believe that I have all this information in my head because I always have an answer, but the thing is, I don’t know what I am doing. Before giving them advice, I have to look stuff up.
Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover
So, I do exude some level of confidence, but it belies my true nature. Inside I can be very insecure and scared. However, I can find answers, and perhaps that is why everyone sees me as a source to consult when they need an opinion or help.
Although I may act like a leader on the outside, inside, I can feel unsettled and unsure of myself. Just because I have a ready answer doesn’t mean I truly know what I am doing; I only know how to find information.
Brené Brown – Unlocking Us
I started listening to a new podcast the other day, and it’s great. It’s Brené Brown’s “Unlocking Us.” In her first episode, she talked about FFTs, which is an acronym that describes how frustrating and scary a “first time” for anything can be. She used a couple of examples such as buying this spin bike and leaving the shoes clicked in for weeks because she was too embarrassed to ask somehow how to do it. Here is a well-respected researcher who couldn’t figure out how to un-click bike shoes. Her story illustrated that pretty much no one has it all together, and none of us knows what we are doing at some point in life.
She also talked COVID and how this is a big first time for all of us. Last week, I spent the entire week angry at the changes and my feeling that I have no control in life. Even tiny little things seemed unattainable for me. My default is always anger when I feel scared and frustrated. Although COVID hasn’t affected my life in a huge way, it has in small ways that have added up to me feeling uncomfortable and out of control. I don’t like it.
How to Deal with Life When You Don’t Know What You are Doing
In Brene’s podcast, she talked about a three-step approach to dealing with things when you feel like you have no control, that is way out of the norm for you.
Step 1 – Name it and normalize it. First, you have to call it out. Start with “this is a new thing for me, and I don’t feel great about it.”
Step 2 – Put it into perspective. This is just what is happening right now; it won’t last forever. This one statement, “this is just what is happening right now,” makes me feel better. It puts a time limit on it because everything always changes, eventually.
Step 3 – Reality check your expectations. Of course, I feel scared, angry, and out of control; anyone in this situation would. This statement helps me to feel more normal and accept my feelings and avoid resentment.
These three steps make me feel less alone. I have been using them a lot lately to find some semblance of control in my life even though I don’t know what I am doing.
It’s Okay Not to Know What You are Doing
Right now, many of us are dealing with uncertainty and learning how to do new things or things in a different way. It won’t last forever, and it is normal to feel frustrated, angry, and helpless. Give yourself the okay to feel them and work through it. Lean on whatever mindfulness and spiritual tools you have to get you through.