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What's Next?

An incredibly wise person once told me (ok, she didn’t actually tell me, I read it in her book), that asking ‘Why?’ is a waste of energy, it’s always better to ask ‘What’s next?’

I don’t mean that it’s not good to try to get to the root of things. I’m talking more about specific why questions. The ones that turn you around and around in circles and really have no answer.

Why did this happen to me? Why didn’t this happen to me? Why can’t I get better? Why does this keep happening? Why can’t I be like them? 

Why questions feel like they’re important, but often hold a glimmer of something dark and almost sinister. They seem like they’re innocently asking why, but underneath, there’s always an element of blaming and shaming (often yourself).

What next? Is a way of moving forward instead of turning in endless self-defeating circles. What’s next is a way of acknowledging where you are and the things you can do to move forward. It’s a way of looking at your choices.

I try to live by these words.

Mostly because the person who wrote them is Edith Eger, a 96 year old psychologist, writer and holocaust survivor. Her book called The Gift, is truly a gift (you can get it at the library!).

If I could meet anyone in the world, Edith Eger would be at the top of my list. There’s a vibrancy and joy that comes through in her written work and in the interviews I’ve listened to with her, that makes me lean in and want more.

In The Gift, Eger talks about the tools she used to break out of her own imprisoning thoughts and move through fear, guilt, shame and anger to be able to access joy. 

Her story truly shows the breadth and depth of the healing that is possible. She lived through horrors I would never want to imagine and came through it all to be a shining light and a beacon of hope.

If she can do it, so can I, right?

And if I can do it, then you definitely can too.

It doesn’t mean we won’t have ‘Why?’ days. There will always be days where the weight of our struggles is heavy and we’re too muddled in our feelings to know which way is up.

It’s ok to feel angry, sad, resentful, lost, hurt, scared, abandoned, anxious.

Feel them and when you come up for air, ask yourself, “What’s next?”

This is not the roll your eyes, throw your hands up in the air and passively ask the universe what else it has to throw your way.

This is the looking your life square in the face and making a conscious choice about how to move forward. It’s really being in the knowing that what is happening to you might not be within your control, but what you do next is.

And, don’t worry too much that you have to make the exact right choice. Most adults make between 33 000-35 000 choices in a single day.

So, what’s next?

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