Life is a silly little maze where we don’t know what to expect at the next turn. While we can prepare all we want, life always throws something at us that we never expected. If you have been tired of countering life’s plans, stress, anxiety, and depression have probably taken over you by now. But you need to trust the universe that you will be okay. No matter what, you WILL be okay!
Life always comes with plot twists
We all love to make plans. We love to list down things that we need and want to do. And check off each item as we do more and achieve more. We plan our day, our work, our relationships and our lives. But the thing is life doesn’t give a shit about our plans. Life ALWAYS has its own plans and catches us by surprise, taking us to places and putting us in situations we never imagined or expected.
And it’s not a one time thing. There is a pattern to the uncertainties of life. Everytime you believe life is going one way, it suddenly changes track and throws you into uncharted territory, far far away from your comfort zone.
It’s not that we are unaware of the twisted games life plays with us. We are rather well aware of it. And that’s why we plan. We plan to control life. We take steps to build a life that is safe and “secure”. We build careers, relationships, goals and dreams so that we can tame life. We always try to stay a step ahead of these “uncertainties” of life because we are afraid that life might lead us to a place from where we might never be able to come back.
From one traumatic experience to a beloved memory, life reveals numerous plot twists that keeps you hooked to the final reveal in the climax and you keep guessing till your last breath. I know it all sounds very depressing and morbid, but the uncertainties of life have hidden poetic beauty.
So how can you know that you will be okay?
Learn to let go.
And the moment you let go of your illusion of control and start to trust the universe, you finally start experiencing this beauty of life in every cell of your very being. And it is in this beauty that you realize you will be okay, cause life has its own way of giving us exactly what we need.
And what is it that we need? It’s not the corner office that you worked so hard for, it’s not the person you wanted to marry, it’s not the car you’ve been saving up to buy, it’s not the place on the top of your favorite travel destination. So what is that thing?
Lessons and experiences that make your life worth living.
The illusion of control
We, as a species, love to control. Control everything – work, people, relationships, environment, ourselves, our future and even our lives. But due to our limited capacity to understand the grand scheme of the universe and our lack of self-awareness, we tend to overestimate how much we can actually control. This is the illusion of control that we have – believing we can change the outcome of events that are inherently uncontrollable. The harder we try to control the outcome of situations, the more desperate we become. We become superstitious and start doing things that throw us further away from our life path.
But what we need to realize is that we cannot control life. We cannot control the outcome of a situation regardless of how hard we try. Simply because the universe is in full control of everything, including you and me. The ONLY things we can control are ourselves – our thoughts, our emotions, our behaviors, our actions and our reactions. That’s it.
And this is where the need for letting go comes in.
After going through a lot of crap in my own personal life, I finally learnt to let go. There were times when I had lost everything I had and yet I was too stubborn to let go of control. The harder I tried to control the outcome, the worst it got. The worst I felt. It is only when I was completely drained and exhausted and almost went off the deep end, that I realized control is nothing but an illusion and I finally let go.
The moment I let go, I felt a huge weight lifted off my chest. All the pain, frustration, desperation was instantly gone and I felt liberated. Somehow I knew everything was going to be okay. It was okay. I didn’t need to try so hard anymore. I could let go and still be okay. I had this intuitive insight that the universe had my back and all I had to do was trust it.
No, that didn’t mean that I would give up and everything would fall into place. It meant that I could give my best to pursue my dreams and goals and stop worrying about the outcome. It meant that I could put in the efforts needed to reach where I wanted and trust the universe to guide me there. Instead of trying to control the outcome, I simply walked the path I needed to. And everything eventually turned out okay. I was okay after years of being in the darkness. You will be okay too. Just let go of your need to control and trust yourself, trust the universe.
Ways to know you will be okay if you let go
In life, nothing goes as planned. But things always tend to fall into place. If you are still in doubt about letting go and trusting the universe that you will be okay, then here’s what you need to realize –
1. Your attitude will get you through
If you are thinking why you will be okay if you stop trying to control the outcome and worrying about your future, then pause and observe your mindset and attitude. Pessimism, anxiety and fear makes us doubt everything, while optimism and positivity gives us the confidence to take action and trust that everything will be fine. Your life depends on how you look at it. Using a pessimistic filter will make you more cautious and realistic. While that can be useful in certain situations and aspects, a positive mindset helps you know that you will be okay, maybe not tomorrow or the day after, but in the long run everything will fall into place.
And it is this attitude that will help you overcome most of the obstacles and challenges that block your path or try to push you towards sleepless nights. However, you need to be patient and have faith in yourself most of all. Optimism empowers you to thrive in the long run, be healthier and achieve more.
One 2010 study explains that optimism makes you believe positive experiences are more frequent and stable than negative events. Optimists “think that they can avoid problems in daily life and prevent them from happening, and therefore they cope with stressful situations more successfully than pessimists.”
2. It’s 90% how you react
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” – Charles R. Swindoll
No, we cannot control our life despite our best efforts, but we can always control our reactions. Navigating through life’s ups and downs, we get exposed to a wide range of emotions and most of them can be rather difficult for us to process or accept. Although we cannot always control what emotions we experience, we can always control what we do with our feelings and how we react to them. Every decision, from the most insignificant ones to life altering major decisions, we make are influenced by our emotions. When we are in better control of our emotional reactions, we make better decisions that lead to better outcomes.
Managing our emotions allows us to control when and how we want to express such emotions and how it will affect our lives. So if you want to know that you will be okay even when you let go, then you need to focus on how you react to life. Studies have found that our ability to “voluntarily regulate emotions” is crucial for coping with aversive life events. In fact, researchers have found that “individuals who can best modify their emotional expressive behavior have the highest well-being, disposable income, and socioeconomic status.”
3. You’re solution-focused, not problem focused
You know you will be okay one way or another when you think more about probable solutions than worrying about the problem. This shows that you are brave and optimistic enough to deal with whatever challenge you are facing right now. Moreover, when you are determined to find a solution to a seemingly unsolvable problem, you are more likely to actually solve your issues and move forward. So even if things look gloomy and dark now, you know in your heart that the light will shine through the heavy, dark clouds and show you the way ahead.
Your determination and resilience will push you through the pain and help you recover. So no matter what you may be going through, keep your focus on the solution, instead of getting worked up by the problem. That’s how we survive and thrive.
4. You give your best even when the chips are down
Are you still wondering if you will be okay? I hope by now you have realized that regardless of what you are facing right now, you can choose to detach and trust the universe and believe that you will be okay as long as you are trying your best. When you are constantly putting in effort to change your situation and transform your life, nothing can hold you back. You are not a quitter, you are a fighter and you choose to fight till your last breath. When you have the inner strength to fight all odds, it shows that you believe in yourself. And the universe in all its glory is inside you.
You may feel scared at times engulfed by all the darkness, but you know in your heart that you will shine bright and create your own light. You believe that you are walking on the right path and this is just another challenge for you to overcome, like so many before. So instead of doubting yourself, juggling with too many things and feeling overwhelmed, pause and take one step at a time.
Focus on dealing with only one day. Just focus on today. That’s all. And when you give your best to make the most of your day, you create a better tomorrow. It might not happen immediately, but eventually. You may feel tired, wounded and insecure, and that’s okay. As long as you stand up and choose to fight, you will be okay.
5. Nothing is permanent, except change
In life, change is the only constant, everything else you see and experience is fleeting. While this may mean that all good things will come to an end, so will the bad things. Just like the moments that give us joy and happiness don’t last forever, the difficult moments will pass too. No matter what unimaginable suffering you are going through, you know deep in your heart that this will not last long. Your situation has to and will change and you will be okay sooner or later.
You will again experience moments that will make you happy, you will meet new people who will love you and help you heal, you will reach new goals and destinations and you will find inner peace. And all this pain and suffering that you are going through right now will make those moments of happiness even more memorable.
The ever-changing nature of life is what makes it worth living. The impermanence of things is what gives us hope and makes us step forward. As life reveals its secrets one day at a time, you will realize that you will be okay no matter what.
One 2016 study highlights what His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama believes about the universal law of impermanence. It states that this law “applies as much to psychological phenomena, such as thoughts feelings, and perceptions, as it does to material phenomena, both animate (e.g., the birth, living and death of sentient beings) and inanimate.” It adds that suffering arises from desire and attachment to our desires. But meditation can help us change this and understand the law of impermanence which can eradicate our suffering.
How to trust that you will be okay
When nothing goes as planned, we tend to get consumed by fear, anxiety, stress and insecurities. We start to worry and become desperate to control the situation and the outcomes. Relax, you will be okay.
Here are few quick ways to trust the universe and know that you will be just fine despite life’s worst challenges –
1. You realize that obstacles are there only to help you grow and make you the person you need to be.
2. You have family, friends and loved ones who care about you and will support you through anything.
3. You understand the value of prioritizing love – giving and attracting love from people and the universe.
4. You observe the synchronicity, impermanence and beauty of nature and realize we are all governed by the laws of nature.
5. You are grateful for what you have and feel thankful for how far you’ve come.
6. You are aware that you will be okay thanks to your self-awareness and self-development practices.
7. You trust your intuition and make decisions considering your gut feelings instead of solely relying on logic.
8. You don’t let your future decisions be influenced by your past negative experiences of suffering.
9. You know gifts are often disguised as challenges and not getting what you wish for can actually take you where you need to be.
10. You realize accepting your reality instead of resisting it will help you see the bigger picture and help you think better.
11. You avoid complaining about your situation and refuse to spread your negativity to others because you know you will be okay.
12. You feel more driven and motivated by failure and setbacks.
13. You are aware of your mental health and take necessary steps to cope with your stress, anxiety and depression.
14. You don’t rely on your distorted thoughts to make decisions, instead you seek advice from trusted loved ones.
15. You are comfortable with being uncomfortable and you don’t mind working hard to overcome obstacles.
16. You choose to be kind and generous even when you are at your lowest instead of being selfish and bitter.
17. You know that you need to keep your ego in check and avoid being an entitled narcissist.
18. You know your real strength are your loved ones and you always make an effort to spend more time with them.
19. You don’t compare yourself or your suffering with that of others, rather you compare yourself to where you were yesterday.
20. You focus on the little things and do what makes you happy, like pursuing your passions
Trust the universe & you will be okay
Life happens. Despite our best efforts, life takes its own path and sometimes that path is the roughest we have ever been on. That path takes unexpected twists and turns and at times may feel like it’s impossible to reach the end of this perilous journey. But life gives us what we need, not what we want.
When you are prepared for life’s challenges, you trust yourself and the universe. You know that no matter how hard it gets, you will be okay. Instead of getting overwhelmed and trying to outdo yourself, you take small steps to move ahead and soon you find yourself out of all the chaos.
Life takes us where we need to go, where we can be our best self. But to reach there, we need to let go of the things that hold us back. We need to free ourselves from our insecurities and fears and tell ourselves – “It’s okay. I’m gonna be alright!”
Related: It’s Okay To Not Be Okay