Remember This When Your Life Doesn’t Look The Way You Think It Should 🧭

'Be gentle with yourself.'

Welcome to the Collective World X Thought Catalog Newsletter. Collective World is a one-of-a-kind creative network powered by the minds and voices behind The Thought & Expression Company. We’re so glad you’re here.

It’s easy to get caught up in all of the shoulds—where we should be, who we should be, what we should be doing. We look at the lives of people around us and wonder why ours looks so different. Why don’t we have a job as great as theirs? Why don’t we have a relationship as stable as theirs? And why does it seem like everyone is so much further ahead of us?

It’s easy to get lost in all the speculation. It’s easy to blame your situation, a higher power, even yourself. But none of that is helpful, and at the end of the day, all it’ll do is make you feel bad about yourself.

You are where you’re at for a reason, even if it doesn’t seem obvious right now. And I know no one really wants to hear that, but it’s true: You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be on your journey. You just have to remember that your life won’t look like your parent’s or your friend’s or your mentor’s, not because you aren’t as good as they are, but because your path is your own, and it’s unique—no one else’s will look exactly like it. And even though that’s scary and maybe even a little disappointing sometimes, there’s also something incredibly beautiful about that. This is your path to create. This is your time to explore it.

So before you lose yourself in the idea that you’re not where you’re supposed to be, stop and look around you. Forget all the shoulds and take stock of the things you already have and the place you already are. Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where you or anyone else thinks you should be. The truth is that you’re already somewhere, so celebrate the steps it took for you to make it here and appreciate the view before you move on to somewhere new. You never know which moments you’ll miss the most until they’re already gone.

So throw away the checklist of everything you feel like you already should have done. Mute the social media accounts that try to convince you you’re somehow doing something wrong. Set boundaries with people who criticize you for not having the life they think you should. Throw out any rulebook anyone tries to give you, because in reality, there are no rulebooks, no set paths, no maps that will show you the detour to get to where you want to be faster. And that’s okay. As Sadie Booth so beautifully put it, “There are no deadlines in your existence.”

When you aren’t happy with where you are in your journey, remember the road doesn’t end here. There are still so many beautiful things ahead, and if you were any further along the path, you might miss them completely. Have faith that your timing is the right timing. And when life doesn’t look how you expect it to, read these words by Leena Lomeli: “Remember that life is giving you exactly what you’re ready for. Every responsibility, heartbreak, moment of growth, and fierce change is not only something you can handle — it’s also preparing you for something much bigger.”

What We’re Reading This Week 📖💛

  • “I am interested in longing, in longing so deep it threatens to splinter a person apart.” — Rachel Yoder

  • “But asking for help was like screaming into the wind.” —Lyz Lenz

  • “It’s a constant process of falling in the deep, resurfacing, re-calibrating and telling myself everything will be okay.” — Fiona Robinson

  • “it always ends this way: collecting what little you can. like pinning butterflies, running your fingers over the wings so you don’t forget.” — Natalia Vela

  • “Being at war with your body is so last season.” — Camila Cabello

  • “It’s okay to just exist, here, in the present moment. Acknowledging that not everything will make sense, not everything will work out, not everything will feel wonderful and happy, but it will all be okay.” — Marisa Donnelly

  • “What happens to the boat that is frozen against the crushing waves, always about to be consumed?” — Megan Garber

  • “Finding happiness as an adult is as much about fulfillment as it is about avoiding burnout.” — Eben Diskin

For more reading recommendations follow Quote Catalog where we find and file the best things to read every single day.

Let us leave you with this:

“Don’t be so hard on yourself for feeling lost, confused, or like you haven’t achieved all that you wanted to achieve. Life would be boring if you’d done it all already, if you had no more room to grow or things to learn. Be patient. You’ll eventually figure it all out, and everything will make perfect sense.” — Charlotte Freeman

This is your journey. Allow yourself to make the most of it. 🌱