What To Do When You Don’t Know What to Do

“He who deliberates fully before taking a step will spend his entire life on one leg.” ~Chinese Proverb

Here’s the thing: I don’t know what to do.

About this thing, about that thing. About big things and small things.

About anything.

Actually, to be honest, even the smallest thing seems big when I don’t know what to do about it. The state of “not knowing what to do” is like some kind of Miracle Grow for small things in my mind.

This is not a new thing. Not knowing what to do is a particular and well-honed talent of mine. I can even juggle several not knowing what-to-dos at once.

For example, at the moment I don’t know whether to go away with my friends this weekend or not. And if I do will I take the train? Or get a lift?

I don’t know whether to take that new job. And if I do, when should I start it? What about all those other job offers that will flood through the door the minute I say yes to this one?

I don’t know whether to start the diet tomorrow. Or today. Or next week. Or not at all. I don’t know whether to call my counselor or ride this one out alone.

I don’t know what is best, what is right. I don’t know what I want to do.

Do you know what else I don’t know? I don’t know what to do about not knowing what to do.

And whenever I feel like this (which is not always, but often), I start not knowing what to do about things I did know what to do about before. Things I had already made decisions on, things I felt excited and sure about before, now feel wobbly and wrong. Even though I know the decisions felt right when I made them.

My brain starts questioning it all: What if I didn’t really know what to do then either, and just decided on something that wasn’t really the right thing to do after all? What if it turns out to be “wrong”? What if I acted on impulse and didn’t think it all through properly?

It’s like I’m mourning all the other possible options that will never, ever happen now because I didn’t choose them.

The little voice in my head chides me: If you choose option a, then such and such might happen, which could lead to x and then that may mean y. Had I known in the beginning about y, maybe I wouldn’t have chosen that original thing. Or would I? How do I know? 

And this uncertainty, the worry, the anxiety, the not knowing, it isn’t picky. It doesn’t just stick to the thing I’m not sure about. It leaks. It seeps into everything else, so instead of feeling uncertain or anxious about one thing in particular, about one decision specifically, I feel anxious, uncertain, and worried full stop. I forget what started it. I just feel it.

I feel it in my chest, near my heart. In my throat. It feels like guilt, muddled with regret, with overtones of panic and an undercurrent of fear. It feels hard and cold, like a vice-like grip.

And I don’t like it. But I just don’t know what to do about it. So I do nothing. Except worry and be anxious that doing nothing is not the right thing to do. It’s exhausting, it’s frustrating, and it’s totally and utterly unproductive.

And the only thing that makes it stop? Is to just decide and do something. To just do anything.

And the only way to know what to do? Well actually, there is no answer to that one.

Other than to not worry about worrying. To not feel anxious about feeling anxious. To accept that there is no right answer.

To breathe. To try to feel beyond the worry, to try to feel the answer rather than (over) think it.

To stop trying to second-guess every possible outcome of every possible decision. To stop trying to control and account for every accountability. It just isn’t possible.

To trust.

I can’t know what will happen. I can’t know how I will feel about any of it. I can’t know whether the decision I make is any better or worse than any other decision I could have made because I am only ever going to experience the one path I do choose.

So I can only react with what I have, what I know, and how I feel, right here and right now. And I don’t need to know how to do that; I just need to do it. I just need to allow it to happen.

Back to my decisions. Well, I still don’t know what to do. I still don’t know what the “right” thing is.

But maybe that’s not so much of a problem after all.

Because I do know what the wrong thing is. And that’s to make no decision at all. Even if the decision I make is not to decide just yet—that is still a decision. Own it.

A friend once said to me, “Whenever the time is right, it will be the right time.” It helps me relax about my decisions.

I often wonder: Am I the only one like this? I don’t know that either, but if you’re with me:

Stop thinking it through. Stop making up what might happen. Because that’s what’s happening here, you’re just making it up. Just make the decision instead and enjoy the ride. Whatever it turns out to be, it doesn’t really matter—you can change it later if you really have to.

Whatever the decision is, just make it. What’s the worst that can happen, really?

Just make the decision and then be glad you did. Enjoy the freedom and the relief that follows.

Enjoy the present, indecision free. Because while you’re busy worrying about what might happen tomorrow, guess what? You’re missing out on all the great stuff happening today.

So just decide. Just relax.

Want to know the good news? The decision thing is just as leaky as the indecision thing.

Once I get going again, I know there’ll be no stopping me. I’ll breeze through decisions that floored me before. I’ll put those small things back in their place. And if it feels wrong, I’ll change it. I won’t worry about it. Things that felt a bit wrong and weird before just won’t matter anymore.

I won’t know where this whole confident, decision making thing came from. I’ll just feel it.

I’ll feel it in my chest, near my heart. It will feel like contentment, embracing joy, tickled with peace and flavored with lightness. It will feel soft and warm, like molten honey trickling through my veins. It will make me smile.

And I will love it. And I will do all I can to hold on to it.

That I do know.

So let’s just get started. Let’s just relax. Let’s just decide. And let’s never look back.

Photo by J. Tegnerud

About Emma While

Emma is passionate about positive psychology, avidly learning and applying its lessons to her life and work. Her own personal journey through stress, growth and discovery inform both her ChattingHappy blog  and The Happy Catalyst facebook page with the hope of spreading happiness to others, one spark at a time.

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  • This blog resonates with me in so many different levels… “Do you know what else I don’t know? I don’t know what to do about not knowing what to do,” Funny; I was just telling someone about this earlier today! Thank U for sharing; exactly what I needed at the moment! 🙂

  • I do the exact same thing.

    Every time it’s time to make a decision, I create this flowchart in my mind of all the possible outcomes. But then I quickly become overwhelmed with the amount of information this creates.

    I contribute to my own data overload.

    I’ve been able to overcome this by embracing the idea of a bad decision. If it happens, it happens. I realize now that most decisions can be recovered from, learned from, and adapted from.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that a bad decision is better than no decision. That way you’re at least controlling your own outcome.

  • I think this is a very common problem that a lot of people struggle with. We over-think and ponder our problems instead of taking action and moving forward. Its important to remember that “perfection itself is imperfection” so that we can make our move and keep going instead of constantly getting stuck in our heads. Great post Emma, thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Divya Natarajan

    I guess it happens with all of us sometime or the other. I’ve been facing such a situation full of dilemmas in past few months. After reading what you’ve shared, I got to understand the hidden meaning, i.e. you just have to do what you want to do without thinking how to do it.

    Thanks for sharing this post Emma. 🙂 God bless

  • I so could’ve written this. It’s something I’ve struggled with since I was a kid. Always wondering if this decision is right. If that decision is right. Picking out clothes for the day. Packing for a trip. Deciding to take the trip. It’s amazing I get anything accomplished. Everything done with an unhealthy dose of trepidation. Fortunately, I’m working in much the same way you are – just letting go. Some decisions are easier than others. But, as in managing my depression and anxiety, just doing something, anything, can be a catalyst to get us unstuck from the whirling trail of what ifs, if this then thats, and of course, how can I be certain… well, we can’t.

    Thanks for sharing. Has given me something to ponder today.

  • Phil Bennett

    Thanks Emma, feel like I could have written this myself. I drive myself in circles with the amount of options in my life. I’m not scared of limitations, I’m scared and anxious of being limitless.

  • Razwana

    I am the complete opposite of this! Sometimes I will make a decision and then realise perhaps I should have given it more thinking time! I have learned to slow down though – but not always!

    Usually, I get so tired/bored of the indecision that I make a decision and move on. I’m impatient!

    I guess we have to consider what is it that is keeping us in the state of indecision. Is it the fear of consequences, or something else?

    – Razwana

  • Nicole

    Im exactly like this! Not knowing what is right or second guessing decisions because of fear of the unknown..or that ill miss out on something picking option a to b. I recently broke up with my boyfriend of two years cause i wasnt sure how i felt about the future, and felt like something was missing. Now that we arent technically dating we still talk and have seen eachother a couple times which made me second guess my original decision of breaking up because things seem to be different”. I cant distinguish my feelings of wanting him because i dont have him, or just not used to having a change. I would like to work abroad in australia in the future as well which had a factor on my decision. Why can’t i just be happy with my decision of the break up but I feel myself still holding on and scared of the unknown without him? I want to be happy and just know that i made right choice. Any advice?

  • Amanda

    Amazing!! 🙂 this is exactly what i needed!

  • I can count on my hands the number of times I have made a decision without thinking it through. I PRIDE myself on really considering all of my options and deliberating before I made what I feel is the best choice for myself. But recently my boyfriend and I have been considering moving out of our apartment into a house–either rented or bought. And it terrifies me. For once I am really living in the moment and enjoy what comes and the idea of purposely shifting all of those things for a move is really scary to me. My boyfriend is the opposite of me: he frequently jumps into things with both feet, rarely considering the consequences, and really following his gut. It is so hard to blend our two styles of decision-making–without making the other feel like they have no say in the matter.

    Just wanted to share my feelings on decision-making. I feel like as I’ve gotten older I am more and more able to listen to my intuition and make choices that I feel comfortable with right from the start.

  • nice to know I’m not alone in this — and by the comments here I REALLY know I’m not alone in this. Planning and making decisions to move me towards my goal is awesome — if I only knew what my goal is! I don’t know; is a goal of being happy a goal enough? Is that too open-ended? Too nebulous? I. Don’t. Know.

  • Bonita Devauld

    Emma While you rock! I like your style, straight to the point of “indecision” but it made me snicker at the thought of how true it is “what we do to ourselves”, so consistently but Hey its just what I needed to realize. Thanks for the smiles.

  • Laurent

    Thank you Emma for this ! For me, some decisions come naturally, others take time to mature, until the time is right… and then comes the right time. Deciding not to decide is an option, an acceptable one as long as it’s a conscious one, and is not forever.

    Some decisions can’t easily be reversed though, and these definitely need more time. Maybe not so much to weight the pros and cons, because this may become an endless debate, but to make sure the guts feeling is right and genuine about the first intuition (which so often ends up being the right one !).

  • Amy

    I am just like this, too. Even ridiculously unimportant decisions, like “which brand of mascara should I buy?” Thank you for sharing.

  • Emma While

    Hi Nicole, thanks so much for sharing your dilemmas. What a tough one. I’m not sure anybody could give you advice on that one other than yourself, but here are some thoughts: first; did it feel like something was missing with the relationship, or with life? within yourself? Secondly; Do you need to label this? (ie as having broken up, or as having got back together) – Does it work to see each other as you are now and relax into seeing what happens, or doesn’t happen? I know I’m always keen to have things neatly in boxes and labelled but if I just relax about that, suddenly there isn’t as much of a decision to make. Third: Can you separate the Australia thing from the boyfriend thing, unravel them? If you want that to happen, work on making it happen and what will be will be with the boyfriend when it comes to it. And finally: You can never really know that you made the right choice…I don’t think there is such a thing. But choice, there is definitely that and you have the freedom to choose to believe you made the right choice (if you see what I mean). We’re so good at post rationalising, and so good at berating ourselves about ‘stupid’ decisions, but if we put our minds to it we can use this to our advantage and convince ourselves we did the right thing too. Do you meditate? Maybe just sit quietly with your thoughts and see if you get any clarity that way. I have to say, the biggest moment of clarity I ever had on a great big tangle of indecision was sitting on a train staring out of a window thinking about nothing in particular…and suddenly it was all just SO obvious. I have no idea where it came from but I could have cried with relief! So probably the best advice is to just give yourself a break. I don’t know if any of that is helpful but I wish you all the best with your decisions, your relationship and your Australian dream, and thank you for reading my post :).

  • Emma While

    You’re so right Ericson. There’s a great Theodore Roosevelt quote I love: “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”

  • Emma While

    Amy, those decisions take the longest for me! I can bore myself to tears mulling over totally inconsequential every day decisions like this. In fact I am surviving off the remnants of several manky old mascara bottles at the moment just to put off that very decision. SO glad I am not the only one.

  • Emma While

    Laurent, thanks for this. Good point about some decisions not being so easy to reverse…but there is usually another decision we can make further down the line to move things forward again if not return completely to where we where before. Trusting my intuition is something I have had to learn to do more and more. I used to think the bad feeling I got about certain things was fear or nerves, that I didn’t want to do something because I was scared of it. Turns out that feeling was a gut feeling that something was just plain wrong. Learned that the hard way and found myself without a job 3 months later. But, have since made other decisions that have got me to a much happier place than I was in even before that ‘bad’ decision. Thankfully. Definitely learning to recognise and trust that initial gut reaction is crucial. Thank you.

  • Emma While

    You’re welcome Bonita! thanks.

  • Emma While

    What better goal can there be Tara? Seriously, I do think that’s a great goal…but you will need to work out what it is that makes you happy and then work from there. There are different ways to do that…maybe that can be my next post…you’ve got me thinking!

  • Emma While

    Thanks for sharing Grace. And thank you for putting a positive spin on deliberation. Your take on considering all of the options is proof positive (if you forgive the pun) that positive psychology works. You and I describe the same thing, but I saw it as a failing and you are proud of it. I vow to be more like you from now on. I think the blend of decision making style between you and your boyfriend is a perfect match…tricky I know from experience, but a great balance. Good luck with the potential move…feel the fear and do it anyway!

  • Emma While


  • Emma While

    Razwana, I love this: “sometimes I get so tired/bored of the indecision that I make a decision and move on.” I SO know all about that one. Sometimes I dwell on a decision so long the thing I was trying to make a decision about sort of expires and goes away before I get round to it! And great question you pose at the end…fear, in its various forms, is always at the root of these things isn’t it.

  • Emma While

    Thanks Phil, glad it resonated.

  • Emma While

    Thanks for reading David…I bet you get a lot more done than you give yourself credit for really. Happy pondering.

  • Emma While

    It’s a pleasure Divya, glad it has helped an all the best with your dilemmas.

  • Emma While

    That’s a great line Patrik “perfection itself is imperfection”. So true.

  • Emma While

    Excellent! I’m so glad 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing, Emma!
    While relaxing and taking step by step, in my opinion, we also have to set our expectations right from the start. We often expect too much, too soon. One of my big areas to work on, at least.

  • Emma, you really speak for many here, huh? Me too, of course. Although, things started getting much better once I discovered that I have a body too, not just a mind running in all directions… 🙂

    My body knows what to do. My body in in tune with me in a way my thoughts are not (it’s just because my thoughts have a different kind of job than my body, that’s all). I might not know whether to turn right or left, but my body just turns in the direction I really want to go.

    That instinctual wisdom can be applied in all kinds of situations, not just when we’re walking. Which job to apply for? The one that makes me smile, or the one that my hands start typing about, or the one that my eyes start envisioning.

    This is a valuable discovery for all -and even more so perhaps the many people who have spent years making decisions big and small with a partner – and suddenly have to do it on their own, with no one to support them through the process.

    It is a discovery process, and it gets easier along the way. Don’t you find?

  • Emma While

    Halina you’re so right! One of my struggles is that I’ve spent so long and so much of my life ‘thinking’ and rationalising everything – including the feelings and emotions that no doubt carried much more wisdom in the first place. Shutting my head up so I can listen to the rest of me has been and will continue to be key. Once I get that quiet, the answer has a much better chance of popping up of its own accord as well. Definitely a discovery process.

  • Emma While

    With you there Jantje!

  • Bhago

    Thank you Emma.

    Just unbelievable that this exactly expresses my present state of mind.

    The guilt of indecision followed by procrastination followed by guilt in a vicious cycle is truly a messy thought process. Was trying to (unsuccessfully) express this just a day ago to my wife. She wonders why I think way I think, and I second that thought, but I do.

    Been 6+ months since I resigned from a good n comfortable job to do something on my own. Still don’t know exactly what to do or which opportunity to pursue of the many or trying to find that magical idea that will be worthy of letting go of a long term stable (high paying) job to embark on an unknown path.

    Your words more than resonated with me, and I thank u for giving a sense of relatability and some direction.

    Thank you.

  • worldchild

    This is me. I can hardly believe I just read this. I really thought I was crazy or that my mind was more messy than the majority of the population. It feels great to know that I am not the only one with so many channels in my mind that keep arguing with each other. I have the hardest time making decisions. I am too doubtful, too hesitant and too worried.
    I will read this article again.

    Thank you for writing this.

  • Nicole

    Perhaps it was a bit of both missing in life and relationship, hard to distinguish between the two. And its hard to not label things at times..but for now i think we will keep it as is. Do you have any advice on meditating? I would like to start practicing it. thank you 🙂

  • Here you go

    I would like to add this quote:

    “Marry, and you will regret it; don’t marry, you will also regret it; marry or don’t marry, you will regret it either way. Laugh at the world’s foolishness, you will regret it; weep over it, you will regret that too; laugh at the world’s foolishness or weep over it, you will regret it either way; laugh at the world’s foolishness or weep over it, you will regret both. Believe a woman, you will regret it; believe her not, you will also regret it; believe a woman or believe her not, you will regret it either way; believing a woman or not believing her, you will regret it both ways. Hang yourself, you will regret it; do not hang yourself, and you will regret that too; hang yourself or don’t hang yourself, you’ll regret it either way; whether you hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret both. This, gentlemen, is the essence of all philosophy.”

    You can interpret it they way you wish. I know what it means to me.

  • Written by Soeren Kirkegaard (my countryman as it happens) who, had he lived long enough, would have turned 200 a week ago and whose last name means cementary, literally! 🙂

    And you know, more often than not, when the time comes when you don’t have much time left and you look back at your life it turns out to be the other way round: You look at anything you ended up doing (marrying or not, laughing or not, believing or not… and most importantly, not hanging yourself after all! :-)) and realize there is nothing to regret and everything to appreciate.

    So perhaps it’s time to turn old Mr. Kirkegaard around and say: Marry and you will appreciate it, don’t marry and you will also appreciate it… etc.

    With much appreciation 🙂


  • en dansker

    Også min landsmand.

    Det er en fin vinkel at give citatet. Det vil jeg tage til efteretning.

    en dansker.

  • Raquel

    Well written. I am always at the I don’t know what to do stage it seems. I am afraid I will do the wrong thing. I definitely need work in the decision making dept. Thanks for sharing your article.

  • Keryn

    Mindfulness is the answer to all this not knowing.

  • Emma, to answer your question, no, you are not the only one like this 🙂 Your post made me laugh, because I completely relate to the inner mental flowchart and the way you describe it shows that you don’t take yourself too seriously. I particularly like “I can even juggle several not knowing what to dos at once.” I’ve got several going on right now that I am worrying about, and coupled with the worry attached to each not-knowing-what-to-do is, as you so accurately noted, the anxiety attached to wondering why I feel so anxious. It’s such a vicious loop and we exhaust ourselves running it. Your advice is sound and I’ll refer to it the next time I feel that way. In the meantime, I hope you can find strength knowing that others go through the same thing you do, and that you have helped us by sharing your story. I wish you the best!

  • Hi
    I experienced the same thing as you did every now and then. Sometimes, I like to second guess whether the decision that I was making was the right one or could I take another path? But then I remember that the decision that I made at that point of time was the best decision at that point of time and tried to make peace out of it.
    Another thing that works out for me when not knowing what to do is to take a deep breath and do nothing. Sooner or later, an answer or gut feel if you prefer to call it would appear suddenly in my head and I follow this answer. I use this technique quite frequently.

  • lv2terp

    Wow, you are amazing with your description! That was so real to me, I was anxious reading it! Amazing skill you have to portray so clearly that I feel I am in your shoes! 🙂 What a great inspirational message! 🙂

  • Happy90

    I thought so too. I feel alone in my life.. my family, friends, and everyone around me won’t and can’t understand the real me. And I felt too frustrated about my life. I already made a lot of mistakes in my life not because I did not do the right thing but simply because I cannot afford to do the things I wanted in life. Because of this endless thinking and watching the whole world, I forgot to think about the “real me”, on how I make decisions and how to start. But this article told me that ‘there’s no answer to what’s the bad or right thing, but just DO IT and never look back.’…

  • Happy90

    I think the same way. I feel alone in my life.. my family, friends, and everyone around me won’t and can’t understand the real me. And I felt too frustrated about my life. I already made a lot of mistakes in my life not because I did not do the right thing but simply because I cannot afford to do the things I wanted in life. Because of this endless thinking and watching the whole world, I forgot to think about the “real me”, on how I make decisions and how to start. But this article told me that ‘there’s no answer to what’s the bad or right thing, but just DO IT and never look back.’…

  • Sarah

    I really needed this. My dad just passed and so I moved home to California from Utah.. but I don’t want to stay here and I don’t want to go back to Utah…so I just don’t know where to go or what to do or what will become of my life… but that’s okay… It’s all okay.

  • sarah

    I have started to realize that the reason why people didn’t understand the real me was because I wasn’t showing them the real me.

  • Emma While

    You’re very welcome and judging by all the comments on here, you are certainly not alone!

  • Emma While

    Sarah, that’s a great insight!

  • Emma While

    Wow, what a lovely message thank you so much. I just sat down and let it all spill onto the page exactly as I was feeling it so I’m really glad it resonated with you too (although sorry for making you anxious!)

  • Emma While

    Hi Sarah. I’m so sorry for your loss. Whenever the time is right will be the right time to make that decision. It’s ok not to know right now. Give yourself some time and space. All the very best

  • lv2terp

    How sweet of you, that is actually an amazing skill to affect an audience like that! Keep up the work just letting it flow!!! 🙂

  • Emma While

    Hi Mulyadi, I think you’re so right. We can only ever use what we have right now to decide and not the power of hindsight we get later on. And that doing nothing trick is definitely my favourite one. Things just have a way of working themselves out almost without you noticing that way. Thanks for your comments.

  • Emma While

    Thank you Faith, it’s great to hear everyone’s comments and feedback so thank you very much for sharing and I hope my post helps you next time the decision worry loop sets in!

  • Emma While

    Very true Keryn

  • Emma While

    You’re welcome Raquel. Feel that fear and do it anyway… Unless its your intuition telling you to do something else and then try that instead. All the best.

  • Emma While

    Bahgo I feel your pain as I went through a very similar time just recently. In the end, I suddenly had s moment of clarity on a station platform of all places and suddenly all the things I worried about just didn’t seem really to matter and the decisions seemed much more obvious. I think the trick was I’d stopped thinking about it for a while so my brain has time to catch up. Maybe give yourself a bit if a break and your moment if clarity will follow. I hope so. Best wishes for the future wherever it may take you. Just remember to enjoy the ride.

  • Emma While

    Hi Nicole. Have you heard of Headspace? They have a great way of explaining mindfulness meditation for beginners they’re uk based but have a website and app to help you get started with a 5minutes per day meditation.

  • Emma While

    Being the real you is so important and hindsight is a cruel cruel thing. I’m glad my post has been helpful, thank you for reading

  • shanmuga


    I read you article at the time when i was going through tough time to make a decision of accepting a new job. You are absolutely right , the decision we made initially seems to be right but later the 2nd thought start querying what if …. the decision was wrong. I was happy when i got this new job offer but later trouble started in my mind .. what happens the commitment gave by the company are not fulfilled , should i trust the new company to support my career aspiration or I did wrong thing by resigning my current job. At that time i came across your article and felt the article was written for me. “Whatever the decision is, just make it—what’s the worst that can happen, really? Just make the decision and then be glad you did. Enjoy the freedom and the relief that follows” After reading your article my mind is clear , I will go with my decision and do not worry whatever it is going to happen will happen and when time is right , everything will be right for me. I will keep reading your article whenever i have to make any decision.

  • Becca

    Thank you so much. This is just what I needed to hear tonight. I feel like when I finally make a decision that other peoples opinions clutter up my mind which leads to more confusion. So I will just trust in my first decision, my gut feeling and trust it will all be alright.
    Thanks 🙂

  • Not OK

    What good does this really do me? I got divorced, lost my business to my ex,got driven out of town by him and am now in a new city by myself with no friends( they stayed with him as he employs most of them). Am relying on him to give me money because I don’t want to be dirt poor and never be able to go to the dentist again or whatever on the stipulation that I’m available to him for unprotected sex whenever he shows up in town every month or two or three… Already scored 2 venereal diseases from him when we were married but it was a conscious decision since he always said how much he loved me and we would grow old together but admitted on his last trip he was lying the whole time(12 years) to make me happy .Did I mention years of verbal abuse where he regularly refered to me as a ‘worthless bitch’ while I cooked and cleaned and catered to his every whim while trying to run a goddam business?!.Not great for rebuilding self esteem now and am lonely.That and the job market here is so flooded that I can’t find a decent job and have zero sex drive now and a broken,no, crushed under a bus heart.Also,I don’t have enough income to even move to the other side of town let alone somewhere else.What magic do you suggest I manifest to move along from this situation? I am fu~ked and I know it plain as the day keeps coming and coming and no sign,no friend that doesn’t end up totally wanting something or being wierd ever shows itself. I used to believe in love and the universe but I know it’s bunk now. Too bad…

  • Emma While

    you’re very welcome Becca 🙂

  • Emma While

    Hi Shanmuga, I’m glad it helped. Deciding to go for that new job is not an easy decision to make at all…I’ve done it twice in the last year. The second time because actually, the first time turned out not to be the right move. But without it I’d never have ended up where I am now. Life chucks us some funny twists and turns sometimes, we’ve just got to cling on tight and do the best we can! Enjoy that freedom and fingers crossed the new job too.

  • OG

    Move on or be defeated; that choice is still yours. Both your self esteem and your heart will heal when you decide it’s time for them to. Don’t go looking for magic to solve your problems either. With what you’ve been through, I’m willing to bet you now possess a pair of Grade A huevos rancheros to face any situation. Best of Luck.

  • Carol Barker

    Thank you so much Emma – this is exactly my problem too, and as you and others have said, it creates an overwhelming feeling that can leave you thinking that you are ‘trapped’, which slowly saps your confidence. It really helps knowing that others feel the same way, and just knowing this means that I can start making my way out of this situation.

  • Emma While

    We are definitely not alone Carol…in fact it turns our there’s even a word for us, sort of. I read this post by Gretchen Rubin the other day about the difference between ‘satisficers’ and ‘maximisers’ when it comes to decision making. It’s not the whole story when it comes to indecision, but it’s certainly a part of it. here’s the link in case anybody else finds it interesting/helpful:

  • Swaroop

    Its was an awsme Article.
    it jst explained my situation.But i am still confused abt my decision. I want your help.
    I am intrested in Biology and want get into a med. school .Bt i am not that rich to afford that fee
    And all my family members are insisting me to do Engineering
    What to do?
    I am good at both..!

  • Emma While

    Hi Swaroop. That is the problem with being good at everything! Only you can really decide this one, but I would say, do what makes your heart sing, not what other people tell you to do. If it’s something you really love, you will find a way. And if your family loves you, they will find a way to understand. And if you’re not ready to decide quite yet, why not take a year out and work to save the money to put towards it? Good luck, I am sure you will make the ‘right’ decision for you in the end.

  • Lukas Adrian Dohnal

    Thanks… Thanks so much for this article. … I underwent so much mental and emotional stress recently just because of this issue. I could not decide what my career would be, I could not decide between university and an apprenticeship, between this and that. In all that thinking I forgot the most important thing – it doesn’t really matter whether your choice takes you. It’s just like child’s play – we tend to take ourselves and our I-control-idea too seriously at times, whilst we should probably relax, sit back and… Enjoy the ride. 🙂 I solemnly swear I will do a lot more not-caring from now on.

  • Raghu Ram

    Hey Emma . I must say , I understand every word of what you said. I am the sort of guy who’d be everyone else’s unbrella but my own . Thank you for making me stay this way .

  • Jenny Davies

    Thank you so much for this. This is exactly how I have been feeling for the last two weeks. You’ve been able to put into words my feelings where I’ve been struggling to. I keep reminding myself to breathe and I’ll go through periods of hours where I’m perfectly fine and happy and then the anxiety will hit me again, without warning and my chest will be tight and I’ll be worrying about failure and uncertainty and fear and not making enough of myself and then I’ll swerve back. It keeps going like that, like a tennis match with the anxiety being hit over the net, not quite leaving the court.
    I am definitely going to revisit this page, and check out your blog. Thank you, Emma.

  • Istenno

    check out asheville, nc

  • Jay

    This is exactly how I feel as a junior student at university clueless about where my career is heading. Beautifully written.Thank You.

  • 到此一游


  • Robert Louis

    This is certainly a very good
    article and precise method of rehabilitating one’s undeceive anxieties. However
    as for myself I already have a method in place for this uncertainty. The way I
    view life is that things are already destined to happen, your future is already
    pre planed. I believe in fate and each of us has a destiny that we can not
    change no mater how hard we try (the only thing we are in control of, is if we
    wish to choose a path of good or evil).

    Certainly from what I can tell you,
    is that my life is filled with extreme anxiety, minor depression, moderate mood
    swings, paranoia, social ignorance, extreme pride, minor frustration and a lack
    to change no matter what advice is given to me. I am the worst of the worst,
    when it comes to someone offering me advice on how to live life. No mater what
    I always end up building my own code of ethics based on my own personal
    beliefs. So for this reason I have missed out in all the wonderful blessings
    life has to offer.

    The thing is that being uncertain
    on what to do in ones life is like living in a comedy and the joke in on all of
    us. I believe that not knowing what to do is an illusion and we are all just
    partaking in a test of events that are already pre determined to see how much
    we can endure human beings. However again like I stated before we are always in
    control of one purpose and that is distinguishing right from wrong; knowing
    what to do when we have to make a decision that well either cause us to fall to
    are inevitable doom, or to rise into the light of everlasting love.

    My point is that we all know what
    to do deep down in are own hearts. However some things we can change and others
    we can not, because they have already been sit in place since the day we were
    born. Or rather like the word Karma, our Karma is what can cause some things to
    change in our lives. But if we choose to draw away from one good deed (Positive
    Karma) , everything in life will fall like dominos in to the direction that we
    have no control over…Which then ends up leaving us with this question> “What
    do I do when I don’t know what to do anymore?”

  • David

    Emma, you are an idiot.
    I regret making the decision to read your essay.

  • Wiley

    Total GAG!

  • John

    I have to make a decision, but I have fear that i can’t do that thing, I know that that decision is right one, but i don’t know can I do it. please help me!!

  • Eric

    I Have same problem, help me

  • sanjay

    writing of a genius

  • You’re not alone! I’ve been going back and forth about taking a new job that pays higher money than my current job (which is important bc I’m broke) but I have fun at my current job even though I don’t enjoy what I do (if that makes sense). But I’ve been trying to “decide” for over a week now instead of just making the decision even though, I know what I want. But do I??? lol

  • fhantome

    This is so strange, because I have the exact same thing. I’ve been thinking about what I want to study for at least 2 years now and I STILL DON’T KNOW. Is the the right decision to just choose, no matter the cost? I’m so conflicted in everything I make a decision in.

  • Cat

    Amazing and what I needed to hear. I have been driving myself and everyone else crazy with my worries about where to move, or even if I should move. I’ve only been able to make small temporary moves, resulting in more confusion and more running around between the same few states for over a year now (all the while considering and now visiting other states and becoming yet more confused and worried.)

    I guess my age – 47 going on 48 – makes me worry as well. I tell myself I am getting too old to make a bad decision or the wrong decision, when the reality of it is that there are benefits with every decision and things can be changed. But I worry about how much time I have left to “pull it together.” At least I am still looking at places to consider living and visiting them, so I AM doing something. I am checking out my options and maybe that statement there is actually the decision I have made – to check out all my options for a time. When the time comes, I will make a bigger decision form there. Maybe it is what we tell ourselves that makes things feel so confusing and worrisome. Relocating and considering my future priorities IS a big deal and needs some good thought and planning to some degree.

    So, I am giving myself until the end of summer to get my things out of storage and either stay where I was or move somewhere new. If it doesn’t work out, I can move back to where I was. What’s a year or six months at this point? I will have learned something and I am resourceful. But thank you for this article. I hate worrying about not knowing what to do about not knowing what to do. As a friend of mine also said, “The next step will present itself.” And even if it is not clear now, the next step is always presenting itself.

    I at least have experienced various places and have not been stuck in a rut.

  • Cat

    OMG, I just went there as one of the places I was checking out. I would like to move there. However, I think it may have too much cloud cover for me and I suffer from severe depression at times that is affected primarily by now much sunlight I get. It is a neat town. Part of me still thinks I should consider it, but part of me thinks my depression would be aggravated and it would be hard to enjoy. One of my indecision issues. I still can’t totally rule anything out, even though I have this medical condition with sunlight and my mood.

  • Cat

    Sarah – I too am sorry for your loss. Did you ever figure out where to go. I like your framing of the situation in that’s all okay. Thank you for that. I am in a similar situation – not wanting to go back, but not knowing where to go either. Stuff in storage for over a year. Would be curious how this resolved for you.

  • Cat

    Thank you for this reply, Mulyadi. I am at the do nothing thing after running around NC trying to see if I could see myself living there. In the end, I was not moved and moved to at both the same time! I thought on my drive back to my mom’s in Michigan that eventually, I will get some sort of guidance from somewhere that will help me out. I am having to turn it over to either a higher power outside of myself or one within myself – maybe both. I like your technique. I will borrow it. Thanks! Getting quiet and tuning in is a real help.

  • Istenno

    i don’t think it’s very cloudy here, though last year we did get tons of (record level) rain. i was happy with it, though, as i had just spent oodles on new plants and trees. no matter where you choose, though, don’t get fooled by “the sunshine state” of Florida….you’ll get lots of sun, but i guarantee it won’t help depression 😛

  • Cat

    Thanks! My gut keeps telling me to give it a try. Maybe I will! I get a weirder gut feeling about Florida.

  • i been feeling like this for a while now i just dont know what else to do .. thanks your kind words

  • B

    I love this, I am the exact same and it is incredibly comforting knowing that I am not alone, I like to think of it as a blessing. Some people live their lives without ever taking a moment to consider the right and wrong in their actions or debate their choices and the possible outcomes and so they never truly feel that satisfaction from knowing you did the right thing. Yes, it’s not always how it works out, I’m usually regretful of my actions and decisions but just now and then it eases me to think of the good I have done and to remember that not every thing is as bad as it seems, including myself.

  • Melody

    Oh my god! i thought i was the only crazy person who feels this way. My mind’s cry right now..playing devil’s advocate. I am so fucking confused about everything that im doing that im not doing anything. And the fact that i have to take decisions regarding my career right now is so scary. I dont know what to do and im just running around in the dark trying to find my way out.

  • setare

    Bravo!!!!! When I was reading this, I felt that these words are coming out of me!
    Emma While, It was so great and wonderful, thank you.

  • Hi Cat. Happy to know that.

  • Jessie

    great article, really needed to hear this!!

  • Barbara Dunn

    Amazing 🙂 I specially love when you say : “So let’s just get started. Let’s just relax. Let’s just decide. And let’s never look back.” <3

  • The Unknown one

    Think about, if there is a FATE, if there is … what must happen, WILL happen

  • Anand


    Its fortunate for me, that I stumbled upon this article of yours and that too at a time when I really needed it. This habit which you have discussed about, is shared by me too.
    I am happy to see that I’m not the only one who’s stuck in this maze, and the fact that there are others too, tells me that I’m not alone.
    I really connected with this article and would like to congratulate you for writing such a beautiful, simple, direct, and effective piece. Although I don’t think that I’ll be able to apply the prevention method right now, coz’ my mind isn’t in a receptive mode. But there is a little bit of hope inside me that someday I will be able to apply it and actually improve and get out this labyrinth in which I am captured, tortured and killed(metaphorically) for every single day of my life. Till then I just need to do one thing, which is survive……
    Once again congratulations to you for writing this piece, it has given me the hope to run an extra mile and I wish that you continue writing wonderful articles which have an impact on the people.

  • Poet Warrior

    What you have just briefly described is the essence of all spiritual practice.

  • Sarah

    You have described exactly what I go through all the time. I worry about making a decision, then I make one and then later still worry about if it was the ‘right’ one. Especially if it goes against ‘what everyone else is doing’. I really hate it. It’s exhausting and I just want to feel confident and content with my choices and my life.

  • Gwen

    The comments are as consuming as the post. Thank you for reminding me to move my legs!

  • Aleeyah

    This is the most perfect article I have ever read. It is very detailed and explains exactly how I feel to a T! Thank you for this, because I need it right now at this time in my life where I’m confused about EVERYTHING. Every aspect of my life (Spirituality/Religion, what I want out of life, What is my purpose in life?, Do things happen for a reason or do I have some kind of role in how things play out?, Was I supposed to stumble upon this article or was it a coincidence?, “I’m stuck between ‘If it’s meant to be, it’ll be. & ‘If you want it, go get it.'”…*SIGH* I’m trying to seek understanding for all of my questions and it’s hard because I feel helpless, as if I have no control over my life (including my thoughts and feelings), and I feel like I’ll never discover answers that I’m searching for. I don’t know what to do and I’m uncertain about my next move (decision). I know I can’t just crawl under a rock and wait for something magical to happen. I have to do SOMETHING. Make some kind of decision. I’m scared to make any decision because I don’t know if it’s the “right” decision or not. What if I “think” I know what I want, but it’s not and it’s not apart of my life plan? I’m simply scared to make a decision about anything because I’m afraid of an unexpected outcome. “Oh, don’t worry! Let things flow! What is meant to be will be.” That’s all fine and dandy, but nobody ever says what you’re supposed to do IN THE MEANTIME of you waiting to see the outcome of a decision or just going with the flow. I can’t live my life by being idle…as much as I may want to. Does that make sense? I’m depressed. I feel empty and in despair. I have so many thoughts and questions, but I’ll stop typing now.

  • Amber

    I think I have a lot of regret. And I think I’m afraid. I don’t know how to be myself. And I don’t know how to make decisions. I think one thing I do I make decisions based on how I am feeling but I just don’t know . I don’t know if I’m being myself right now or not. I am tired of playing the victim. It’s just hard to feel so alone and my friend (not in real life on Facebook ) said that you are suppose to move forward not backwards. But I just don’t know what I’m doing. I feel like I should just go back on Facebook and reactivate it. I deleted it and now I’m stressing over it and have been along with so many other things. But I look at quotes and disorders on Google and I start thinking like I have so many questions do I just face reality will that decision be better than making no decision? But I just think too much. And I ignore people. I have no friends. I cut them off a couple years ago. And I don’t know how to feel I know decisions have to be made. But my brain thinks crazy things some times. I feel like I’m high on life.

  • Ansh

    Its almost morning right now when i am quoting this…and the reason is simply that the anxiousness of what to do with my life and where am i going and where do i stand stole my sleep away from me. I was discussing a new job for myself with my new roommate and he was telling me the job responsibilities and stuff like that which i have never thought of before, though he was of the same batch as I was and suddenly again that negative thoughts clouded my mind about what the heck i am doing with my life. I was depressed and fought with my girlfriend for no reason, just because i was upset and couldn’t make her realize what i was going through. Then i opened my laptop and simply googled “i don’t know what to do” and here is the first link of yours. I never read big articles completely, either i don’t read at all or just read the main thing. But this one here, i would call it the first one probably i read from the start to the end. The reason is that it was the first thing ever where i was feeling that someone really knows me within. It was true about me. I am a kind of person who really doesn’t think much. For a few hours maybe and then i get back to my normal stupid thing. But after reading this, i have certainly known one big mystery of my life, that there’s simply no answer to that. Thanks for that. But the passionate i am about building my career and to the kind of “highly educated” family i belong, i am very uncertain about the things i am capable of. They say that i have got something in my genes but i cannot figure out what that is. I am unable to think what am i good at. I don’t want to realize this when its too late. But certainly your quote ahead “Whenever the time is right, it will be the right time” will suffice that.
    I wanna thank you from the depth of my heart for this article. I cam certainly say now that YOU KNOW ME and i am definitely not alone…..

  • Topsy Kretts

    I think that is a great article, if unsure what to do – just do anything. But is watching a film, playing games doing something or not because you are not working towards some goals?
    What if you know what you want to do, but unsure of how to do it and get stuck at that level? Like start a business etc.?

  • Shubham Varshney

    I am in a very critical and most important time of my life . I am about to graduate from a very good college . But I don’t know what to do next in my life. People around me know what they want to become in future but i don’t know. I feel very alone most of the times. I have been a very good student till now yet i do not know about my career. I am currently doing Physics hons. but i don’t feel like doing it. In classes i fall asleep , i don’t listen to lectures except there is one subject ;Mathematics. But still i am not sure about it. I study physics when the pressure of exams come over me. My family asks me to fill up different forms of civil services exams as they have expectations from me. It all feels like a maze which has no exit.

  • Mindfull Man

    Thanks for this Emma, your words have really helped me 🙂

  • Laura Gray

    Sarah, thank you for writing this. I came across your article by accident. I am at a crossroads after a horrible week. I feel lost, frightened, isolated. Your words resonated with me. I don’t need to know exactly what to do. That’s ok. I never thought it was enough just to take one tiny step and see where it got me. I thought I had to have all the answers. I don’t. And that’s ok.

  • sam

    im bored

  • Sean Habermehl


  • tyrone biggums

    i fucking love you.

  • Living life

    Really loved your blog, connected a few dots for me. Thank you 🙂

  • Aray

    I’m coming to a point in my life where I’m so tired of being confused, undesisive and unpredictable. I always feel like by not making a decision will help me from making a bad desicion. The thing is, I never end up making any decisions and that’s the biggest mistake. Thank you for your post it help me make a decision for the rest of my life and that is to not be scared of the outcome and be happy that I’m not that confused,indecisive, unpredictable girl I always been.

  • Alien Ami

    I find Anti-depressants help me, be calmer & less anxious therefore it’s easier to make decisions. Try playing fast decision games etc find the fun in life again & not focus on the unnecessary complications of life



  • Nathan

    The fact that WE’RE all sitting on our computers talking about how much YOU/I feel about this just makes it worse. Awwwwwwwwww. Pick your motherfuckin’ ass off that sofa, leave your home, and go on a journey. Say FUCK IT! Just do it.

  • You made me smile. I’m doing it, Nathan!

  • leslye

    This hit home for me. I feel this way right now and googled “I don’t know where to start” and this just gave me life. Thank you.

  • Fatima

    Lovely article! Well emma i think the same !!and this fearvis not letting me to move to overcome your confution ..

  • Shubham Khadria

    Nice lines. I always felt the same but now I have an idea how to work around things. 🙂

  • Lemuel Herrera

    I am very lucky to get bumped into this article because im currently going through a hard time for a couple of years now. I feel like i am chained by this one moment in the past that i can’t get over with, that i always end up feeling regretful of the decision i’ve made that time when im making a decision for whats in front of me today. Now i always think that i am incapable of making a decision and restrained from living. But then after i have read this article, for a couple of minutes i found myself laughing keep thinking how stupid i am back then and im starting to forgive myself. Im enlightend by this. A big thanks to the author of this article. God bless you.

  • But Emma what if I take your advice and the decision I make turns out to be wrong? … 😀

    You’re right, I think we can all feel the right answer, but we over think and let the thoughts and emotions of our ego override our inner knowing.

    If we all are truly connected to a higher purpose and totality in the world, I believe quieting the mind and listening will guide us to the right decision every time.

    We may not understand why, but we must trust our deeper wisdom.

  • Satsuki

    I’ve been thinking that I might be going crazy. Finding this article couldn’t have happened at a better time.

    I’ve always been an over-thinker but recently it’s been getting worse after the breakdown of a relationship and having recently graduating from college.

    This comforts me greatly as I have been second/triple/millionth guessing all my decisions. Despite that vicious cycle, at least I have started to pick myself up and move forward and taking action as opposed to festering in inaction.

    Thank you!

  • Brittany

    Thanks, i needed this.

  • Karan Pande

    Overthinker I figure it out… I m gonna change it…

  • Karan Pande

    I wasted 3 years of my career as the same overthinker who just cant stick to one thing even today before reading this post I was so depressed , guilty and frustrated that I don’t have the power to take decisions for me….
    I have been preparing for some competitive exam past one year and even till date I don’t know how to start , which book to take, how to study so much of confusion so much of strategies that I have not even completed one book by heart ……my exam is 3.5 months from now I m so much depressed .

  • nsage

    Wow you’re an incredible writer! I love your style! And I can completely understand those feelings. Hopefully I can learn to relax, too.

  • Nate

    go left go right it really doesn’t matter we all end up in the same place, this helped me think through what I keep thinking over and over and over it finally stopped, Thank You!

  • meg

    this described exactly how I felt to night and reading it made me feel so much better about the decisions I’m making thank you

  • sumeet

    we all are running in circular path… some people can see it and are worried… some cannot see … really dumb people… and some just ignore it … like closing their eyes and pretending that no one can see them … since their eye is closed.

  • sumeet

    we all are running in circular path… some people can see it and are worried… some cannot see … really dumb people… and some just ignore it … like closing their eyes and pretending that no one can see them … since their eye is closed.

    still there are some straight paths hidden in the circle… that … my friend makes the change… it includes the capability to walk on it.

  • sumeet

    we all are running in circular path… some people can see it and are worried… some cannot see … really dumb people… and some just ignore it … like closing their eyes and pretending that no one can see them … since their eye is closed.

    still there are some straight paths hidden in the circle… that … my friend makes the change… it includes the capability to walk on it.

    so never get depressed… (though the world around will seem to be trying to make you depressed)… as it is the opposite of a relax mind… and you need to know the power of a relax mind.

  • sumeet

    we all are running in circular path… some people can see it and are worried… some cannot see … really dumb people… and some just ignore it … like closing their eyes and pretending that no one can see them … since their eye is closed.

    still there are some straight paths hidden in the circle… that … my friend makes the change… it includes the capability to walk on it.

    so never get depressed… (though the world around will seem to be trying to make you depressed)… as it is the opposite of a relax mind… and you need to know the power of a relax mind.

    try to find the straight lines in your life… identify them by their outcomes… yes you have to predict… with 100% probability of the required results… some people will say is impossible… but it is possible with a relax and calm mind.

  • GiorgioJoe

    Hey there, I just wanted to leave a quick thanks for these wonderful words. It is currently a really weird and sort of unpleasant time of my life, when I question and overthink almost everything I do. But now that I`ve found this article I don`t feel alone, scared and lost, I feel comforted. Thank you so so much. Best wishes for fellow overthinkers too, I feel you.

  • Marie Cherry

    That is me!!!!! This not-knowing has consumed me for the last 2 years. Its amazing how life literally slips out of your fingers while you spend all your time contemplating endless and utterly useless possibilities. Been to counselling for also year and a half now, still the same. I guess at this point would be also useful to take some medication? Surely pure will hasn’t got me out of it…

  • Tarun Rattan

    I like your thoughts and they are inspiring me. Thanks,let’s see how they change my life and attitude.

  • satpal

    I just graduated from college didn’t got placed in campus. I thinked a lot about what career should i choose so now it became tough to go with one. I am feeling anxiety whenever i go deep in future with any option. Most of the time my mind is in future. Same thought running again and again. I am under treatment and taking medication but sitting at home i can’t kill time. What should i do how to move on. Sitting at home and preparing for government job and answering frds questions for not getting placed in campus gave me more time to fiddle about options. Then i start thinking of taking any private job but start worring about low pay and social pressure. How should i proceed?

  • satpal

    I am in your situation right now how you doing now can you tell me how you came out?

  • satpal

    How you made the decision finally and what you feel now please tell i need help.

  • satpal

    How you decided finally and what you feel now can you please share i need help.

  • satpal

    How you doi now did you applied it? I want to know?

  • Lukáš Dohnal

    Its 3 years. I dont remember. And even if I did, I probably wouldnt have to say more than I already did in that comment. If thats not enough, then Im not sure how I can help.

  • Breathe

    What to do when you don’t feel like you have any options? That’s what I was hoping you’d address. I ‘wish’ I had too many options.

  • Bryce

    Hi Emma,
    I really agree with this & it is this kind of attitude that eventually calms me down after thinking too hard about any one thing really. I have a question though, if you see it.
    I seemed to decide that I like to write, but I do not write to survive, but just on my own, whether it is a hobby or not, I don’t know. I seem to have this idea that I would like to write a certain book. The issue is, is that sometimes, I get caught up by thinking and lose myself. In this way, I lose that feeling that wants to go and write, and really to enjoy anything altogether, so in this way it is like depression, but I would not call it depression as I have been through that too and this is not that. (though maybe similar in ways no doubt)
    Regardless, I ended up asking someone about it and they said you have to push through that feeling and just keep going. (what she meant by this was to keep writing even though I don’t feel like doing it) but she also mentioned this is what she did for her work so she wasn’t sure if it was the same for things you don’t survive on.
    Anyways, I know that sometimes I don’t feel like writing and I’m still enjoying life, but I let that thought get to me in terms of “not writing enough” essentially, and that gets me to the point where I back down from life as well. And so, in this hazy kind of state of anxious feeling, my decision becomes should I let go of all these thoughts (this I think is a given and yes I should, as to hold on to anxiety I personally believe is pointless) however should I always ride this kind of thing out until I just feel like doing writing specifically again? Or should I just go and do what I kind of do for fun (however feel like I wont have fun with it in that moment), also feel brings my life some purpose at times, and do it even when I don’t want to.
    This may be a very confusing question, and albeit a very long one… I’m not sure, but I thought I’d post it here because your the first person to relate to certain aspects of my life.
    Thank you for your post, it was very nice.

  • Chinx

    Thankyou so much emma…amazing article…just few words i needed at this juncture

  • kabeerpro

    I still dont know what to do my life is fucked up I guess

  • kabeerpro

    My life is so fucked up I still dont know what do. It has been a while I’ve been thinking killing myself but i dont have the courage to do that .

  • Olivia Wilton

    Oh my god. You are me. I am so lost and have been for the past two years! Nothing feels right and I’m just so stagnant that it’s driving me insane!

  • Olivia Wilton

    This resonates with me so strongly it’s ridiculous. I am so anxious and scared about being limitless because I feel like I’m floundering.

  • shree

    They say live today and leave the worries for tomorrow –
    well, what do you know – it’s tomorrow already and the thing I was worried
    about yesterday is actually happening today. So. Now what do I do ?

    I reached here after facing some high difficulties and
    challenges. And now that I am here, I am thinking that this is not where I
    wanted to be. I can’t go back for sure. So where do I go now ?

    Sometimes I feel like leaving everything aside, to sit down
    and keep scribbling the entire day. Words. Sentences. Meaningful or nonsense.
    Just keep writing. About anything. About everything. That’s when the reality
    bug bites me – this won’t bring food to my table. This won’t pay my bills. And
    the child’s education. My retirement. My securities. Health coverage.

  • Anna

    What you are talking about is chronic indecisiveness called aboulomania

  • Regina T

    I have read somewhere that if you cannot decide about your future you may take a decision for tomorrow. What would you do tomorrow…? I believe that this is a much more less frustrating decision and it can be really helpful.

  • The decision thing is just as leaky as the indecision thing.

    I searched Google for the title of this post and ended up here. Thank you. The gem above is exactly what I needed to hear. In my mind, decisions were a sealed box, a concrete path, a solid step in a specific direction with no way to go back.

    The above quote reminded me that even when we make a decision, the outcome is nearly always full of surprises and uncertainty. The difference is that anxiety, worry, and indecision lead more anxiety, worry, and indecision. Making a decision—choosing a direction and then moving towards it—leads to more possibility.

    More anxiety or more possibility? That’s an easy choice to make. 🙂

  • Issa

    Emma, loved your article. I’ve always been overthinking if I’ve made the right decision, is so exhausting. Sometimes feel a little bit crazy about being this way. Thank you so much for putting it into words. Nowadays I try to decide not with my mind, but with my heart and body. Those parts of my body are wiser than me. xoxo

  • Austin Keeton

    It’s almost like I could have written this.

    It’s so hard to take a step out of the indecision. It’s the need for it to be “right” that drives it. It also comes with a hard smack to my self-esteem as well.

  • Alex

    Thanks for this article. I’m the same way as you described it here. I’m too in that position right now, where I need to make a decision but my head and other factors (job = income, family) it’s pulling me to different directions keeping me on hold. I’m getting depress, and feel about to have a breakout, I want to live my life. How do you shut your mind and listen to the rest? I want to learn to do this. I’m desperate, any answer would be much appreciate it.

  • Bernie O’Mahony

    I know this is an old post…but I’m at this stage in my life right now. I used to be a good decision maker. I ran a business for 13 years. I failed my marriage, I failed to save money, I failed at many things but somehow believed it would all work out. It hasn’t.

    And right now, I don’t know what to do anymore. I just walk around like a zombie, with a smile on my face, so that everyone thinks I’m doing okay.

    I no longer have the confidence to run a business, nor the enthusiasm that was once there. I really feel like I couldn’t care about people or life in general at times. I quit the gym, I quit speaking to people. I quit caring about being an active member of the community. I hate people. I hate the stupidity of some people. I hate that my marriage didn’t work, I hate that I wasted so many years trying to make it work. But yet I still love the old her. I resent many things I’ve done to make it not work, to not make my own life work, yet I feel like I’m stuck in a downward spiral where I can’t see an end.

    Where do we go from here? I don’t know.

    But I’m here, clinging to hope that it gets better, that it can change…

  • L Jones

    “I feel it in my chest, near my heart. In my throat. It feels like guilt, muddled with regret, with overtones of panic and an undercurrent of fear. It feels hard and cold, like a vice-like grip.

    And I don’t like it. But I just don’t know what to do about it. So I do nothing. Except worry and be anxious that doing nothing is not the right thing to do. It’s exhausting, it’s frustrating, and it’s totally and utterly unproductive.”

    That is exactly how I feel right now. I did something wrong but I’m not sure what. I’ve been waiting to yelled at, punished, or even hit but nothing. I have only had one other time when I didn’t know what I did wrong and I completely overreacted in punishing myself. My friend was actually upset that I did something so extreme. So, I think I might be about to do something stupid and overreactively punish myself.

  • Gboyega

    Thanks Emma!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Marie Sosnowski

    To be honest I just decide to go for it weather it’s right or wrong I refuse to second guess myself anymore. I’m 56 and I will trust that I can do what I decide to do and if it’s wrong – oh well – I’m not perfect – what a shock lol. Live love and keep it moving !

  • Tessa

    Hi!I’m 22 years old and I am exactly at this stage in my life where I feel alone,sad, no direction in life and don’t know what decision to make or which one is beneficial to take.They say focus on one thing and achieve that one but I don’t know where/what to focus.I feel depressed.I committed a lot of bad decisions that became a mistake.My family and friends do not know the real me. They see the mistake I did,they don’t know what I sacrificed.I stopped explaining cause they don’t believe me even if I say . I thought what I did was to give good result but it came out as a mistake.I came to the point that I hated myself.Im so confused.I don’t know what path to take.

    I’m glad i’m routed to this page knowing that I’m not alone. Thank you!

  • Tiny

    I think part of my issue has been my lack of passion in addition to the feelings you described above. Or rather my ability to articulate myself when I talk with someone who is willing to help. Even when I want to “try” a career path, I have been unable to attain the job so I have gotten to the point where I am lacking self confidence and unsure of how to proceed.

  • Immanuel Joshua

    I really liked the post

  • Whitney

    It’s comforting to know I am not the only one like this.

  • Lala La

    even after reading this, I still don’t know what to do

  • Aishwarya

    If you hang yourself, you won’t be able to regret it cause you’ll be dead

  • Donnamarie Reames

    This is exactly how I feel. Thank you for giving voice to my feeling about this.

  • John Mauney

    Bernie, I don’t know how things are for you 10 months later but I thought I would share this with you. I was in a similar situation a few years ago and I don’t even know what caused it aside from possibly because of a traumatic event in my life because of my family. I read this book called Power of TED and it kick started me a bit out of the spiral. It’s not a perfect book, it doesn’t have all the answers, and my problems aren’t all solved, but maybe it will be useful if you haven’t read it yet. Here’s an Amazon link


  • Bernie O’Mahony

    Thank you John. A year on and I’ve pretty much pulled myself out of the slump I was in. My brother passed away Christmas just gone and his passing made me realise I was feeling sorry for myself without good reason. Everything I have or don’t have, is because of my choices. So I choose to be happy and positive and things have started looking up. I still love my ex wife very much, but have since met someone who worships the ground I walk on. The ex-wife has been very congenial with me since our divorce, but I’m assured there’s no chance of reconciliation and I’m okay with that, now. I’ll definitely check out the book though. Thank you for taking the time out to reply. 🙂

  • Shreya Bhadani

    there are so many things roaming in my mind right now, but i just know that i want to thank you… so THANK YOUU

  • Violet

    In school teens are so rude and unhelpful as well as some teachers and when i ask for help i get no help and sometimes i just don’t know what to do because no one is kind enough to take the time to help someone but i praised those minority’s who do and it makes me happy .But i get stuck and look like an idiot and it ends up falling back on me for not knowing how to correctly do something.I just need help on what to do when this happens bc i feel so deeply hurt and lost

  • Yash Jagtap

    While I was reading , I was thinking that this article is something I know ,it was like I wrote it but when I continued to read I realized this(writer) is someone who has gone through same situation as I am going through. And the flow of content is very satisfying and helpful . It is like complex to easy. You really made it easier to me. And at this point of time in my life ,you are savior.
    Thank you so much for sharing , caring

  • Kimberly

    Omg. This is me! Thank you for this!!

  • JK

    I’m 63. I live in a wonderful city right downtown. Nearly 40 years. I was looking for a home in France for some friends, and instead, I found one for myself. Absolutely, seemingly so, 110% perfect. Now the papers are processing and I’m freakin’ out. It’s a major visa production. Driver’s license, buying a car, right side steering. I don’t speak French. This home is rural by 30 minutes. Here, I’m used to walking out my front door and I’m immediately in the life of the city and I love that. The city negatives, for my age, are answered with, “Hey, ya live in a city, get over it.” Which is true. Emma, those who follow you know that you’ve been through and are still going through the many tangled and untangled loose-knotted and tightly woven knots of life. Your writings are like an oil can loosening our knots. There’s always a thread waiting to see how it’ll be knotted or turned into a beautiful bow. The knocks or knots of life.

    For the last three weeks after returning from France seeing the house, I’ve been on cloud 9, 10, 11 and upwards. Now, I’m at a 2. I’ll have to make up my mind in the next three weeks.

    Every leaf of this lotus blossom unfurls into signs of promise. At first I thought, “Buying this– and, likened to living on the moon, I’ll see what I’m made of.” And, I liked this idea. And now it’s a let-down and I’m not even there yet. Something that feels so right, and then so wrong. Riding these waves back and forth every 2 minutes of my day. High anxiety. Not sleeping. Then,”Hey I don’t have to do this” and this makes me come off my self induced anxiety ladder. Now, I’m weighing the pros and cons of decision making. How can something SO RIGHT, feel SO WRONG? I think I need to buy a house in Hawaii to get over thinking about the home in France. The continuing paradox of life. I know from experience everything turns out for the best. It’s let-go and let-be. I’m finding when something feels so right – it doesn’t mean I have to have it. If anything, it leaves a debate in my head for decision making.

    On my way back from Paris, I flew through Warsaw and the woman sitting next to me, after I told her my positive story about the house, she said quite focused, “Are you sure you’re not using this for a distraction?” I immediately said, “NO!!” And now her question is pointing my compass to answer it again; there’s as many yeses as there are no’s. One most disappointing outcome: If I renege on the property I’ll have let the couple down who owns this home, although, I know I can’t predict what their feelings would be, and in the long run, it’s the personality inherent in selling and buying.

    We all have a wise mind and yet so often don’t know where we’ve put it and, most often than not, if I’m looking for my glasses, I’m already wearing them.

    Thank’s, Emma, and to all those who’ve shared their vulnerable stories.

    One last thing, if you plant apple trees don’t expect to be making apple pies soon.

  • JK

    I broke down for hours one day. I realized at this point, “In order to break through one must break down first.” Which is true, although one can’t predict or force a breakdown. Some times we have to be pushed up against a wall in order to fight our way out. What causes this reaction? Protection. So, the question would be, “What are we trying to protect?”

    If driving and I run out of gas, and it’s 20 miles to the next gasoline station and I’m in the middle of a coyote infested wilderness and after weighing my options what do I do? I start walking. Why in the first place did I run out of gas? Did I not understand the distance I was driving to? Woods don’t have wifi, unless you’re Tiger Woods.

    I guess a the decision to be made is: “Go with your gut.” Someone very special told me a long time ago, “If something doesn’t feel right, put it back on the rack.” So far this is true.

  • Troubled

    This totally gave me insight. I’m having troubles with my friend and I’m really worried about her. But I think it’s better to talk to her and say that I’m here for her rather than do nothing at all and just worry about it. I can’t imagine all the terrible outcomes that might happen if I say the wrong thing, because they are all in my head. But I do know what’ll happen if I do nothing. Thank you so much for writing this!!!!!

  • George Van den Berghe

    Well there are so many things to do but none of them are meaningful. It is best to be stoned all the time.

  • Chris Marklowitz

    I think that this post is not entirely wrong, it is very idealistic. The ideas presented to be optimistic and confident I believe are important. And not cause anxiety, I would say are incomplete. More is needed than just optimimism, but, doubt. The reason I say this is because I will often be in a place of knowledge to correct other people’s mistakes, and they often, instead of changing, want to feel confident and like they know and chose to,make a bad life for,both them and,those around them. Rather than being content with making wrong decisions, I would say being content with making wrong decisions to learn to make right ones. And if you do not know how to learn from them, then keep pushing yourself. It will take patience in time, and eventually, the brain will change and adapt as it has been proven to under struggle, to learn to change.Evalute your life, and take little steps. Inform yourself on,the standards and philosophies of a good life. The most successful people are not the smartest, but the underacheivers who kept marching on in adversity. And so, to avoid the trap of anxiety, but to also avoid the trap of fear of,failure and resistance to,change due to our biological tendency to fear what we do not know. Sucess takes a mixture of optimism and pessimism called realism.