“I am learning to trust the journey even when I do not understand it.” – Mila Bron
Our lives are made of decisions. From the moment we wake up until we fall asleep we are bombarded by decision we have to make. I remember while in college this process would start around 6:30 am. “Should I go for a run, or should I study a little bit more? Should I wash my hair now, or should I go to the caf? Or even better, can I just stay in bed?”
I have to confess; I suffer from perfectionism. Everything I set myself to do has to be perfect, otherwise I feel that I´m failing. Going to college? Let´s get straight A´s. Being an employee? You better be the best the one. Writing an essay? It has to be worth an award. Some will say it´s a good trait to have, you will always be striving for excellence. Some will say, myself included, that it can do more harm than good.
During my four years in college I was a slave, slave of myself. I couldn´t handle the slight thought that I wasn´t being the best. I was there in a mission and I had to accomplish it. I felt that I was always competing with somebody, but I was the one who created that competition. I saw people around me living their lives while I was trapped to my perfectionism.
My parents always told me that I don´t have control of anything in my life. It didn´t matter how hard I would try, some things simply didn´t happen. I lost many nights of sleep wondering “why”. “WHY that guy doesn´t like me?” “WHY I didn´t get that job?” “WHY this had to happen to me?” And I believe that at least in one point of our lives (in my case, basically every day) we questioned ourselves about things that we cannot change, things that are totally out of our control.
However, it is at these moments where life comes around showing us why she is the most beautiful and intrigued thing ever. If you stop to analyze, you never wondered why without obtaining an answer that would change your perception on that matter. And here is when the learning process occurs. 2016 was my year to learn how to be patient and to understand that I don´t have anything in my control, God has. Well, I was finally graduating, but what now? Do I stay in the USA, or do I go back to Brazil? Do I enjoy my last year of college, or do I graduate with the higher honors? Do I find an internship over the summer, or do I go home and stay with my family? For a type-B person, all these worries probably wouldn´t mean anything, but for me, a strong type-A person, these uncertainties were eating me alive. I developed a strong scenario of anxiety, having panic attacks at least once a week, arguing with everybody; I lost the sense of who I was, because of what? Because my perfectionism, my urge to solve everything that would cross my way, without letting God take care of things.
I believe that faith plays a big role on how we deal with adversities. I´m a Christian and I believe in God, He is the one that I go to when I need guidance, but you might have a different faith, and that´s ok. The point that I want to make is: we all need something to hold ourselves to when the when things go beyond our power. One thing that I learned is, we don´t have to solve everything alone, this is suicide. We live in a community, we are surrounded by people all the time, and I can guarantee you that at least one will wants to help you.
I liked to keep everything to myself. I believed that by sharing my worries, I would seem weak, and I couldn´t stand that thought. I battled with this for years, until life taught me that was ok to share, to talk to people, because when there is communication, where there is an exchange of ideas and experiences, both sides win.
I don´t know what are your concerns today. I don´t know what is stealing your sleep or your passion for life right now, but one thing I know: all these worries they will pass, all these present obstacles will go away, so more can come. This is life. Decisions on top of decisions, and until the right moment comes, we won´t know if we made the right one. The equation is simpler that we think: do your best + trust= what belongs to you will come.The quote that I started this article is by far my favorite one. The journey I pictured to myself is long, hard, and full of obstacle. I know where I want to go, I have an idea of how get there, but do I know if I am going to get there? No. And that´s the fun, waking up every day just waiting for the surprise box life will drop at your door. So enjoy life, yourself, people around you who want to see you succeed, knowing that sometimes what we want it totally the opposite of what we need.