Key to Success

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Waking up in Warsaw - I feel anxious immediately. 

I want my mom. I miss my siblings. As I walk around the apartment cleaning my face, making the bed, I question my entire existence. What is it with this desperation to be close to my parents? Can I build a life that’s not near them? Am I still too young to be on my own? I boil water to make coffee.

I am questioning everything, my decisions on where to live, where to work, what I want to do, who I want to do it with. I start feeling guilty for the hypothetical consequences of the hypothetical decisions I am making. I am pre-apologizing, I am pre-explaining, and, I’m crying. 

I’m sitting in a charming city in Eastern Europe - crying. Day 1. I feel like an old woman wondering where her glory days went. I need a grip. 

I have always been an anxious person but before I was self aware I hadn’t realized it. Before, my anxiety came off as aggression. Now that someone pointed out to me that when I’m being a bitch it’s because I’m anxious, my assertive-self has withered away to die and this new Pansy-Nancy is softly knocking on everyone’s door hoping she isn’t bothering anybody. 

Anxiety is hard. If it’s perpetual, it is impossible. If it’s circumstantial it’s paralyzing. It’s impossible and paralyzing all the time. I am not, though, giving an excuse to not act against it. I am instead, giving a theory to consider, that may help. 

My anxiety will ALWAYS be there. She will never stop asking me if I’m sure–because the world is unsure, and that’s fine. It doesn’t matter what’s happening outside because it ultimately comes down to me. The question is, can I trust myself, and do I believe in me? 

All of my countless questions are hypothetical and arbitrary. I could make plan A-Z for every one of my hypothetical situations and still be completely blind sided. All I can really do is trust myself. 

I have to trust myself. Be there for me. I have to love me in ALL my decisions, fears, and anxieties. I have to love my strengths and honor them throughout my life. I need to find peace with me and realize that I am not everyone’s keeper: that my decisions only affect myself.  I have to accept that I won’t always make the right choices. I have to forgive myself every single time I don’t and I have to have the courage to start over. 

Obvious? Yes, but stay with me.

When I ask for advice, people tell me to trust my gut. I automatically envision this fantasy of who I want to be and my gut leading me right there- to who that person is. That’s a lot of pressure because then I begin to question, eh, what if I change my mind? What if I don’t end up liking it? What if I don’t live up to that amazing person?

But here’s the plot twist: I think that we misread the reason to trust ourselves. Trusting ourselves to know what’s best for us does not come from a destiny to succeed; it comes from a search for peace. Self-trust is a battle between anxiety and peace, and we wrongfully measure it by faith and fear. That is a delusion.  

We value success over inner peace which is backwards. Success involves incredibly difficult decision making, which is impossible without internal tranquility and strength to trust yourself to make those decisions. Instead, true success is an unwavering certainty within yourself that leads you to make the tough decisions that separate the strong from the weak, those who can endure the waves of fear over those who swim back to shore. 

Our destiny is to find peace and self-fulfillment, the success is a consequence of that hard work. 

I will leave you with this quote that I think sums up internal peace beautifully and simply.

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus, The Stranger

Victoria Boustani