Your home is a mess, but not even half as messy as your life. Your partner isn’t talking to you, your work life seems out of control, your social relationships don’t go the way you want, and you feel like something is missing in life…
We all go through a point in our life where everything seems out of control. Once you get to that point, it’s hard to know where to start.
If you’re reading this, then chances are you’re at this point.
The bad news is that it will be hard. The good news is that you will get through it.
What To Do When Your Life Is a Mess
Here you’ll learn 3 steps to fix it and turn things around.
Step 1: Recognize the Mess You Have
It’s easy to say that you have to take back control of your life, but how do you actually do this?
If there was one right answer, most people wouldn’t deal with this problem for more than a minute.
The true is there isn’t one. There is no quick solution, but there are ways to deal with it.
First, you have to recognize that you have a problem. If you tell yourself everything is fine, then there is nothing to fix. The moment you don’t prioritize dealing with your problems is the moment you lose.
It’s possible to get through your days even though your life is a mess. Because maybe your home isn’t a mess. Maybe everything looks alright from the outside. We can still go to work and pick the kids up from school despite our problems, but day by day you’ll become more and more anxious and depressed, until it finally hits you all at a once.
The first step is therefore to take your problems seriously and actively decide to turn things around. Maybe you’re not at a breaking point yet, but you will get there if you keep ignoring the mess.
Step 2: Know What Are out of Control, and Let Go of Them
When your life seems like a mess, it often comes down to a lot of things around us that aren’t going the way they are supposed to. It can be the small things like a messy kitchen and the big things like personal relationships not working out, or bills that are overflowing.
Start out by figuring out exactly where it all seems to go wrong at the moment. Sit down and write down everything that’s been bothering you.
It may seem basic and stupid to spend time on a list like that, because with everything you should be doing – making a list about it just creates even more pressure on you.
But by writing it down, you’ll be able to get a good look at your messy life. Sometimes, we need to see the problems on a paper written down in our own words. My boyfriend keeps cheating on me. I’m way over my budget every month. My co-worker doesn’t like me.
Once you do this, you’ll be able to see that a lot of the things that seems to make your life a mess is out of your control. Underline all the things on the list that you can’t control and then let go of them.
It’s very normal (and okay) to have a lot of these out-of-our-control things on the list as well as problems that aren’t even really problems. Humans need problems, but we need to be able to solve them.
Mark Manson explains it like this,
“Problems are a constant in life. When you solve your health problem by buying a gym membership, you create new problems, like having to get up early to get to the gym on time, sweating like a meth-head for thirty minutes on an elliptical, and then getting showered and changed for work, so you don’t stink up the whole office. When your solve problem of not spending enough time with your partner by designating Wednesday night “date night”, you generate new problems, such as figuring out what to do every Wednesday that you both won’t hate, making sure you have enough money for nice dinners, rediscovering the chemistry and spark you two feel you’ve lost…”
Problems are a constant in every human life, but stop creating problems you can’t fix.
We get so caught up in small things like our partner liking someone else’s picture on social media. It’s much easier to let our bottled-up anger out on a person about a picture instead of saying you’re not happy anymore and that you should have broken up six months ago.
So, to recap step 2:
Pinpoint all the things that are brining you down that you can’t control. Problems are okay. They are a part of human existence, but if you want to move on and fix your life, then you need to only focus on the problems that can be solved.
Step 3: Don’t Get Lost in Distractions and Fantasies
When your life starts to feel like a mess, it’s often because we’ve been moving forward at a fast pace, but somehow still feel like we’re standing still. You thought that if you just kept going for another week, another month, or maybe even another year, you would get “there”.
You’re not sure where, but you told yourself that you would know this happy place once you got there.
Then you wake up one day and all the problems are still there. The magic solution you thought would save you from all the negative things in your life was nothing else than a tale.
We tell ourselves that we can overcome problems like having too many bills, if we just find our true love, or that it doesn’t matter you’re alone and miserable as long as you get the promotion at work.
We like to idealize the idea of a few good things in life that we’ve seen in all the movies: the perfect job, the perfect partner… And then we tell ourselves that instead of focusing on the small problems in our life, we should focus on getting those.
It’s in fact delusional to think that one good thing in life can make all the bad things go away. It’s a fantasy.
Even if you do get that one good thing that you’ve put so much pressure on getting, it will end up backfiring and make you feel even more sad once you get it, because you realize that all the other things in your life did kind of matter as well.
Instead of finding a quick fix, or chasing a fantasy, you should embrace the suffering. Mark Manson expressed his concern about today’s society in his book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck:
“I believe that today we’re facing a psychological epidemic one in which people no longer realize it’s okay for things to suck sometimes.”
While it’s important to not spend time caring about all the problems we can’t fix, it’s just as important to care about the things we do have the ability to fix.
Maybe you can run away from your problems for a while — getting caught up in a new relationship that makes you forget that you’ve broken the one with your family, or a new promotion can make you forget that you actually wanted to do something else with your life. Unfortunately, the on-going problems in your life will come back and they will hit you much harder.
The final step is therefore to keep your focus on the problems that can be fixed. The problems in front of you that you are in control of. Embrace them. Deal with them. One day at a time.
Don’t get lost in distractions. They might make you feel better for a minute, but they’ll make everything worse in the long run.
It doesn’t mean that you can’t fall in love or enjoy some good news at work while you’re dealing with your problems. But remember to deal with your pain and problems instead of pushing them to the side.
Our everyday life can become overwhelming and quite a mess if we ignore our problems for too long. But with the steps above, you can gradually take back control of life and find joy again.
Featured photo credit: Riccardo Mion via unsplash.com
|||^||Mark Manson: The Sublte Art Of Not Giving A F*ck, page 31|