“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Have you ever had an inner knowing that it was time to make some life changes, but you felt too confused to make them?
I’ve certainly felt that way a time or two. After I graduated college years ago, I felt completely confused about what I was going to do with my life. I was asking myself questions like: How am I going to find meaning? What should I do for a career? How can I make my dreams a reality?
But what if you feel so confused about your life that you end up doing nothing?
I remember moving home after college, lying in bed and reading fiction books for hours. I wanted to escape from the intense confusion and endless questions running through my mind.
The reality is, I was scared. I was scared to start a job, but also scared not to. I was scared to move away from the comforts of home, but deep down I couldn’t wait to get out. I was scared of the unknown, but also excited by the fact that anything could happen!
I was afraid to make a change, so I tricked myself into thinking that it was too complicated and confusing. For a couple months I did nothing, and my frustration grew.
Fear-based confusion is when you have an inner knowing that things are “off,” or you want to make a major life change, but you feel too confused to take action.
It seems like there are too many problems, unknowns, reasons why-not, or decisions that are too difficult to make. So you stay confused.
Does this sound familiar? Maybe you’re confused about making a career change, moving to a new city, ending a relationship, or getting your finances in order. I think we’ve all experienced this fear-gripping confusion in one form or another, and I know how frustrating it can feel.
I’ve noticed that when you’re aware we’re confused because we’re scared, it can drastically reduce your stress about it.
You’re certainly not alone or helpless. And luckily, fear-based confusion is easy to move beyond. Below are my top ways to move through life confusion and finally get clear on what you want so you can take action toward it.
1. Follow your excitement.
If the fear runs deep, following your excitement will help. For example, instead of trying to answer the question, “What should I do with my life?” ask yourself, “What excites me right now?”
Make a list of all the activities and experiences that excite you, but try not to judge your list. For example, simply riding my bike to a local cafe for some homemade chai in the morning really excites me. It doesn’t matter if things on your list seem small or insignificant.
There are several benefits to following what excites you in this moment. One, you start to feel more excited about your life. And two, your excitement usually leads you to people and experiences that will help you set a direction for yourself (more on this below).
Follow what excites you now, and know that your sources of excitement are going to shift and change as you grow.
Following your excitement is much less daunting than trying to figure out your whole life. In addition, it leaves room for expansion and gives you the freedom to continually try new things.
2. Decide on your direction.
Decide very clearly on the direction you want to go in. Making a clear decision is the quickest way out of confusion. I know this sounds obvious, but sometimes we have insane inner thoughts that hold us back. Thoughts like, “I’m not good enough” or “I don’t deserve this.”
But you most definitely are good enough, and you do deserve peace no matter what you’re telling yourself. Believe in yourself enough to make a decision and know that you will make the right one. Don’t worry about making a “bad” decision. In my opinion, making no decision at all is often worse.
In my example above, after a couple of months living with my parents and sinking deeper into my confusion, I decided to pack a backpack and travel to Spain. I didn’t really have any idea how that was going to help me answer my “big” life questions, but it excited me.
When I got back home from that trip, I felt confident and even more excited. I then made the concrete decision to move across the country to Northern California, and that completely changed everything for me.
The point is, it didn’t really matter what I did. It was my initial decision to do something that got me out of my confusion.
Once you make the initial decision, the Universe will start to provide you with people and experiences that help you move forward. Breathe, become aware of how your decision feels in your body, and act on whatever option has a sense of lightness and openness to it.
3. Release your expectations.
Expectations lead to disappointment. Usually, when we finally make the decision to change, we proceed to come up with a detailed plan for how it should all go down. We immediately search for something that will make us feel secure in the face of change.
But the truth is, you can manifest change much more quickly when you open yourself up the all the possibilities that you haven’t even thought of yet.
It’s perfectly okay to focus on what you want, but I like to try and leave the details to the Universe and simply focus on what I’m excited and capable of doing right now. This allows you to feel joy now instead of making your joy dependant on a certain outcome in the future.
You are meant to be here. As you focus on following what excites you in this moment, the clouds of confusion begin to part and you can see your direction more clearly. Then, moving toward it with inner confidence becomes natural.
It’s okay to feel vulnerable in the process, but I know from experience that the vulnerability associated with change is completely worth it. You’re worth it. Don’t let the confusion hold you back a moment longer. Once you take the first step, everything else will unfold for you.
About Amanda Christian
Amanda is an outdoor blogger and YouTuber. She creates content for hiking, backpacking, and camping education that helps people go from confused and overwhelmed, to confident and adventurous in the outdoors. Learn more on her blog at Amanda Outside.