6 months ago, I quit my job as a nurse. No plan or anything. All I know is that I didn’t like being a nurse anymore. As if I “liked” it from the start. I’ve always wanted a career in art or design but I was persuaded to take nursing because it was practical. I’ve let people dictate on my life (worst decision ever!). I didn’t believe in myself, suffered from low self-esteem and I was struggling with social anxiety and depression. Few days after I quit, anxiety crept on me until it paralyzed me. I was hospitalized due to acid reflux which was caused by anxiety. What’s worse was it wasn’t the first time that happened. It was a frequent occurring thing in my life. I felt stuck. The uncertainty of the future scared me so much.
FEAR OF CRITICISM
I was the type who always needed the approval of someone before doing something. I didn’t value my opinion. Criticisms usually hurt… which tended to further aggravate my anxiety. It was hard.
I felt so paralyzed and stuck for a long time that there just came a time where I just felt sick and tired of what’s happening in my life. All the anxiety and negativity. I thought, f*ck it I’ll just do what I want. Discouraging words stressed the hell out of me. It was POINTLESS. I realized people love to give advice like they know you more than you do. From then on, I’ve learned how to filter helpful words from unhelpful words and ignore comments that won’t provide any benefit to me.
Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.
But along the road, I’ve also met encouraging people. It was their words I held onto. I think one of the reasons we feel stuck is because we’re not doing what we want in life and we’re scared to follow that uncertain path.
YOU CAN’T PLEASE EVERYONE
There’s one truth in life – You can’t please everyone. You’re going to hear people who’ll tell you that you won’t succeed. In times like this, you have to use some of your critical thinking to maintain a healthy emotional state like doing some self-talks and seeing the positive in the situation. They say, happiness is a constant effort. In reality, each person perceives differently. What doesn’t work for them might work for others. Each person has their own truth. Moreover, a lot of times, theory is different from application. You’ll never know if you don’t try.
6+3 = 9 but so does 5+4.
The way you do things isn’t always the only way to do them. Respect other people’s way of thinking.
“I don’t believe I’m capable”. It’s a thought that I frequently have but I found out that oftentimes we don’t know what we’re capable of until we do it. It helps remembering your achievements to remind you that you are capable and those achievements doesn’t even have to be big.
If you’re so scared, stop dwelling on the “what-ifs” and just do it. Take that scary leap. Seriously, like what I’ve said, you’ll never know until you try.
SO HERE’S AN UPDATE AFTER 6 MONTHS OF QUITTING MY JOB:
I found a job again in pharmacovigilance(drug safety). Why not art or a design job? It wasn’t easy for me to find that kind of job since I didn’t graduate in that field and my skills weren’t enough. During that time, I also didn’t know exactly what specific career I want. I had to research first and it took months to determine that. I narrowed down my choices to being a UI(user interface) UX(user experience) designer and doing business. I didn’t want to study again so what I’m doing now is I am trying to study during my free time and to working towards building a portfolio. I’m also working on the start-up of a small business slowly step by step. It was the reason why I needed a job because I needed funds for that start-up.
By the way, the process isn’t like what you see in the movies where people just suddenly make a big leap of change. It’s a slow weaning process which takes discipline. Although of course, that process differs from person to person.
To be honest, I’m also uncertain of this plan if it will work or not but I believe it’s about doing what I think is right for me at my own pace. I just always remind myself that this is MY life and it’s me who’s going to know what’s the best for myself.
SO, AM I HAPPIER?
A resounding YES. The fear and uncertainty are always there but then I realized that’s natural in life. Yes, it’s scary but it also feels lighter knowing you’re in the right path. When I think about that, failure doesn’t seem so bad. It won’t be a waste because it’s learning through your mistakes for something you love doing. If you want to do something and it has been bugging you, just try so you don’t have any regrets.
WHAT DO YOU DESIRE?
“Whatever satisfies the soul is truth.”
– Walt Whitman
I believe it’s important to consider what you really desire in life. You may be confused still and thinking about what your dreams or passions are but you ALWAYS have to ask yourself, what does my soul desire? What do I think will make me happy? There are always those things that you want to do at the back of your head – DO THAT. Even if you’re scared, try to face your fears and do it because the last thing you want is to be on your deathbed and regretting your life.
It’s a waste of time living a life of doing something you don’t like. Or at least, if you’re stuck with a job you don’t particularly like and can’t leave, do something else that will nourish your soul. Each of us has our own path, our own unique experience and not everyone will understand that because it is uniquely our own.
WALKING THE TALK
They say nothing grows from your comfort zone. Especially if you’re like me who’s struggling with a mental illness, It’s going to be brutal battle. Sometimes, just getting up from the bed is already hard, and that’s okay. You don’t have to feel so pressured. There are no rules. Each person has their own way of doing things and each has their own pace. A lot of times it can be overwhelming which is why it’s very important that we always have to be kind to ourselves.
Starting is hard and expect it to be sloppy. Have no fear of perfection, it’s natural to make mistakes when starting. Good results come from effort and discipline. You actually have to push yourself to get up and do it. The important thing is that you’re making progress. I know it’s hard but you have to focus on your progress and not compare yourself to others. There will come a time where you’ll also get your own chance to shine.
Here’s the summary of the steps which I did:
- General goals
- Some questions to get you started:
- If money wasn’t an issue, what do you think you would do?
- What are the things to make you happy?
- What do you desire?
- For example: I want to pursue art.
- Some questions to get you started:
- Specific goals
- Make it more concrete, what exactly do you want?
- Research of all the possibilities you can think of. There are so many new kinds of careers right now. There will be something that will fit you. Internet is your friend.
- It’s hard to achieve something if you don’t know what your focus is.
- For example: I want to pursue art and design, so after some research, I found out I wanted to be a UX UI designer.
- What are the steps to get there?
- Make a plan of your weekly, monthly, yearly goals so it won’t be too overwhelming. You have to divide it into smaller steps – it will feel a lot more achievable.
- Expectations vs. reality: When we plan things, we usually imagine that it’s going to be smooth; however, a lot of times we find out it’s a lot different once we apply it because there are many unexpected bumps along the road.
- This is the hard part because this step needs consistency and discipline. It’s also going to need courage to put yourself out there. You have to conquer those fears, it is what will make you stronger.
- Taking care of yourself
- Don’t forget to enjoy life. You have to go out, have fun and explore. Meet new people so you’ll obtain newer perspectives. It’s those things that make you grow.
- Practice gratitude. I suggest making a gratitude journal and make it a habit to write there every day. It’s going seem pointless at first but what’s happening is that it’s going to train you to have a grateful and more positive mindset.
- There are many other things which can help, find out what works for you. The important thing is always remember to be kind to yourself.