How I Stopped Second-Guessing What I Want And Learned To Trust Myself
I think it’s fair to say the lessons of your twenties are vast and some of the hardest to learn. Then again, I’m not 30 yet, so maybe there’s some life-altering test awaiting me in the decades to come. But something about this 10-year span is particularly and wildly difficult, exhausting and confusing. I’m attempting to figure out who I am and what I want for myself. I’m trying to learn how to save money while getting lit, date smart and in a healthy manner while not putting all my eggs in one basket, and striving to navigate a writing career to achieve success (and pay rent on time). As you can imagine, at times, adulting is more complicated than a Drake relationship status, and sometimes I question if I’m doing it all wrong. But in recent months, I’ve finally started figuring out how to trust myself and all of the decisions that come with building the life I desire.
I was tested this week when I decided to quit my job. And while the thought may scare the average employee, I was actually terrified more at the idea of staying. I just knew it was time. For months, I racked my brain as I considered jumping the 9-to-5 ship (again) and hightailing it back to the freelance life where my schedule is my own, my creativity isn’t stifled by corporate demands, and I can execute a variety of projects. Before this leap of faith, I mapped out a plan so my bank account wouldn’t take too much of a blow and shared the vision for my next phase with trusted friends only. Sounds like the right move, yes? Well, in hindsight, I was low-key seeking validation, which is the fastest way to both kill your confidence and make you wary of your decisions. Plenty of my loved ones were supportive, but others quickly shot down my idea, saying it wasn’t very “adult” to do anything but trek to an office every morning (*insert eye roll here*).
Sure, there’s a certain instability that comes with chasing freelance checks, but I’d choose that over the specific type of mental unwellness you suffer from when you hate your job but feel as though you have no choice but to go every single day. So, I chose my happiness over a secured health and benefits package. And to be honest, the only validation I needed for that decision was my own.
Listen, when you know something and when your mind is made up about it, just do it. What I’ve realized is that trusting yourself is necessary for growth and a lifetime of happiness. Listening to your inner voice and leaning on your instincts will guide you through the life you truly want for yourself, not the one expected of you. With all of that said, I still ask for advice and consult my mentor when sh-t gets rough. However, I never allow outside attitudes and recommendations to outweigh what I believe about and want for myself.
Before I gained a modicum of self-trust, I relied heavily on the opinion of my parents, then that of mentors and BFFs. But the time finally came to solely look within for all the answers. How did I do it, Sway? Through practice and the help of Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. As special as this book is for so many reasons, it mostly taught me that all the guidance I was searching for in others’ opinions and validation was innately understood. I simply had to tap into it. And as simple as it sounds, I also just stopped f–king listening to people.
It amazes me how much I was once paralyzed by uncertainty and would second-guess what my gut told me because another person’s opinion wouldn’t reflect my feelings. Looking back, depending too heavily on others’ expectations of me slowed down my “glo up.” Ignoring myself led me into pathetic relationships, terrible career choices, and ultimately, left me unfulfilled and living a life I didn’t want to lead.
You should have the same type of self-assurance in the major decisions you make in your life as you do in your GrubHub order or in your chosen Instagram filter. Don’t allow others to dictate what you know is right for you. Instead, trust yourself like Kanye West trusts Kanye West. Because even as narcissistic as it may sound, the connection you have with yourself is your greatest, most trustworthy relationship.
Nowadays, with the trust I’ve built in myself comes a confidence that can allow me to quit my job without worries, and the faith in my abilities to create the future I want. It may take me multiple times to stop overthinking and learn how to put all my confidence and faith into myself, but I will. And when I do, I know my life will only enhance abundantly. Isn’t that the goal anyway? To live our best lives? So while I may do things opposite from what everyone in my life expects, it’s what’s best for me. And I trust that.