Feeling stuck and unhappy?
Did you ever find yourself feeling stuck and thinking to yourself how did I get here? I am fulfilled? I am in the career I enjoy? Do my close relationships make me happy? Where to next in my life?
This is a common scenario that a lot us find ourselves at some stage in our lives.
How do we get to this stage?
Most of us have not been taught to choose correctly what is right for us. We were not taught to explore and find ourselves. We were not taught to work out what our values are and how to make decisions in life.
As a result, the common trajectory of life ends up looking something life that…
We work hard to finish school or university, then to finally fall into a job that provides us with experience. And it is hard to find one being a graduate, so we must accept whatever comes along after an exhaustingly long search.
Most of us have bills to pay like rent, loans etc so we continue in that job for stability, and of course as the society these days promotes the importance of moving up the career ladder, we do just that without thinking twice. After all we have all the time in the world, we are young! Do many of us think of how we will feel if we continue in the same job in 30 years? No!
We spend enormous part of our lives working so our job becomes our identity.
On a personal life front, we enjoy the good times with friends and having romantic relationships but again we do not seem to think much about bigger life picture. We seek short term good feelings. And why not, as we are always told we are young only once so it is important to have fun!
Then we end up getting married and because we were generally not modelled by our parents how create and grow a successful and loving relationship, we end up drifting along and generally drifting apart. In the meantime, children come along bringing more joy, yet showing more cracks in our relationships and adding the next level of responsibility.
Having a family makes us feel like financial stability is of upmost importance! Any thought of personal happiness and satisfaction in life is taken over by the sense of responsibility.
However, this niggling feeling of something is not right stays and keeps rearing its head until it can no longer be suppressed and then, voilà, we arrive at the destination of questioning of how on earth did we get here? Why do we feel deeply unsatisfied with life despite having plenty of so called good things in life? How do we get unstuck and move forward?
To help us better understand, lets reflect on few things…
If you look at your life and decisions you made, did you just drift along in hope things would simply work out? Did you plan for the long-term future?
Most of us tend to seek short-term tangible results and forget to look at the longer-term picture. We do not pose a question of what do I want to be remembered as? What do I want to achieve in life as a whole? What do I want to be doing in 40 years’ time?
Did you dream about what you could be or did you dismiss your dreams as being unrealistic? Most of us get stuck in the small detail and dismiss a dream if we cannot see how to achieve it now. We fail to see that just because we do not know the how right this moment, it does not mean it is not possible. The how may unveil itself with time if we focus on making steps towards that dream.
Did you ask yourself who I am? What makes me happy? Most of us know what we do not like but not what we need to be happy. Our needs may not equate to our wants as we see them at this moment, for example you may think you want a big house, but will it really make you happy? Do you really need it? Examine the true reason you feel you may need it or not. If you truly get to know yourself, it is the satisfied needs that drive happiness and fulfilment.
Passion is the next subset of needs. What are you passionate about in life? What gets you out of bed in the morning? What gets you excited? What makes your spirit or soul sing? That will determine your career choice and actions in life. Not many of us understand the word passion and confuse it with things we enjoy like travel, food, exercise etc.
Another question that we forget to ask ourselves is why am I choosing to do something? Or go down a certain path? Is it to do what feels right to me and in my life, without of course abandoning the necessary responsibilities? Or is to please someone else to feel accepted? Often, we forgo own happiness to keep others happy. Whilst that may appear like an admirable thing to do, it is only admirable on the surface because we cannot be throwing away our happiness for the needs for others alone. We need to strive to find a compromise between giving to others and ourselves. If we discard ourselves, we end up unhappy and unable to help other in the long run anyway.
As you can see here again, we are touching on the long-term consequences of our choices and decisions. So how often do you think of your decisions in terms of long-term consequences on your life’s progress?
Some of us simply struggle making decisions because we are fearful of getting it wrong. That keeps us on the fence and we aren’t moving forward. It may appear like an insignificant event when happens once or twice but generally it becomes a pattern of life and over the long-term makes us miss out on opportunities presented to us. It is best to make decisions and get them wrong than standing still and having ‘what if I did do it?’ hanging over us in the future. Making a wrong decision always offers an opportunity to learn and become a better person and that in itself is not wasted time.
A little bit more of reflection...
Another trap we fall into is relying solely on our intellect or minds to make decisions. Our minds are limited in knowledge about future possibilities. Life is unpredictable (take for example latest COVID pandemic) and it is impossible for our minds to know exactly what may be possible in the long run. The mind can only see short-term and work with the facts that are in front of it. The mind is also shaped by our experiences, especially negative ones, and can spin a good story really well leading us astray. As they say, “you don’t know what you don’t know”!
On the other hand, our feelings never fail as we know at a deep level what is right or wrong for us even if it may not logically make sense at the time.
With more importance being placed on academia today and the use of rational thinking instead of relying on the deeper feelings that some may also call a ‘gut feel’ or intuition, we lose being in touch with ourselves, our ability to make better decisions in our lives and greatly reduce our personal growth.
I hope the above gives you plenty of food for thought. If you need help with finding a new direction and getting unstuck, get in touch with us here. We are more than happy to help.