You Don’t Have to Have All the Answers; Just Do the Next Right Thing

Image Credit: Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash

The BIG THOUGHT in this LITTLE POST: Asking "What am I supposed to do with my life?" is too big a question; instead ask "What's the next right thing?"

We no longer live in a world where most people will only do one type of work for only one employer, live in only one city, or have only one spouse or partner.

Unless you're one of those fortunate people who was born knowing what you wanted to be when you grew up, chances are you've had to hit re-boot at least once in your life.

Changing jobs, changing careers, moving across the country (or the world!), and getting divorced and re-married are all part of the general realities of our current lives.

Not changing is abnormal at this point.

With all of that change, it's very easy to feel lost and confused, and to repeatedly find yourself asking "What am I supposed to do with my life?"

We live in a world that loves labels; that loves for things to be easily defined and categorized. So what happens if you've had to re-iterate so many times that you no longer know how to define yourself?

How do you step away from the intersection of LOST street and CONFUSED boulevard, and onto a clearer path?

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For most of my life I've felt like failure for not being able to put the "correct" label on myself.

The need to define myself in a neatly digestible format and to find "the answer" to what I'm supposed to do with my life - as though my life was a problem waiting to be solved - has caused me nothing but stress and heartache.

I haven't enjoyed my life as much as I could have, because every time I did something and that wasn't "it" - meaning 'it' wasn't the end of the road and that there was something else I would need to go do - I thought I had failed.

Turns out that hitting re-boot isn't a failure; it's all just part of the rich tapestry of life.

Photo by Eric Prouzet on Unsplash

The best part about getting older is having the gift of hindsight. And what I now know for sure is that nothing is "it" just the way everything is "it" because - in the end - each part belongs to the whole that is your life. (Aka - the tapestry that creates the final picture).

And that's why asking "What am I supposed to do with my life?" is too big a question.

Instead ask "What's the next right thing I need to do, here and now?"

The next right thing isn't about the next right BIG thing. (Although of course it might be).

It's about literally the next moment - like RIGHT NOW. What is that thing?

When you find yourself on an unknown path, at the intersection of LOST street and CONFUSED boulevard, ask yourself what you need to do next; what's your next best step?

Your next right thing is whatever the only possible answer is right now, for you, in your present situation.

"What do I need to do NEXT?"

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What I said to God through my gasping sobs was something like this: "Hello, God. How are you? I’m Liz. It’s nice to meet you... I am not an expert at praying, as you know. But can you please help me? I am in desperate need of help. I don’t know what to do. I need an answer. Please tell me what to do. Please tell me what to do. Please tell me what to do..."

...Then I heard a voice. Please don’t be alarmed—it was not an Old Testament Hollywood Charlton Heston voice... This was what my voice would sound like if I’d only ever experienced love and certainty in my life...

The voice said: Go back to bed, Liz.

I exhaled.

It was so immediately clear that this was the only thing to do. I would not have accepted any other answer. I would not have trusted a great booming voice that said either: You Must Divorce Your Husband! or You Must Not Divorce Your Husband! Because that’s not true wisdom. True wisdom gives the only possible answer at any given moment, and that night, going back to bed was the only possible answer.

Go back to bed, said this omniscient interior voice, because you don’t need to know the final answer right now, at three o’clock in the morning on a Thursday in November...

Go back to bed, because the only thing you need to do for now is get some rest and take good care of yourself until you do know the answer...

Go back to bed, Liz.

The next right thing.

That’s all you have to do.

And that’s enough.

Image Credit: Darius Bashar on Unsplash

You might be asking yourself "How does this topic relate to recovery from binge-eating?" What I found is that - for me - finding new ways of thinking about life and its challenges helped me to stop stress-eating, and has been a very big part of my ability to stop binge-eating.

For more on changing your mindset and imagining good things click ⭐ here ⭐ to get my guide on Visualizations — yours FREE with subscription to my site.

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