Here on Long Island, we are used to the hectic, frantic pace of our lives. And sometimes, we let that pace overshadow what is most important to us, and what we most want out of life.
Getting Started On The First Steps To Change
Often what is at the heart of not living the life one wants is fear, anxiety, and / or a sense of inadequacy. Sometimes we let real or imagined obstacles stand in the way of living the life we really want.
We don’t let ourselves experience the life that is as filling, expansive, and three-dimensional as it could be. We feel like our lives are unfulfilling, small, and two-dimensional.
Some people have no sense of whether their life is how they want it to be, while others are keenly aware that it is not, yet do nothing to change it. This latter group tends to feel a great deal of discontent and / or unhappiness.
This does not mean that ignorance is bliss; with the former group, it just means that they are plodding along and perhaps don’t know that it is possible to have more.
One of the first steps to determining whether you are living the life you desire is to examine it.
Whatever you fear most has no power – it is your fear that has the power.
When we learn to look at our lives head on, our fear and discontent cannot survive. Tune in to what you are doing and not doing, what you are feeling and not feeling. Are you longing for something different or more? What is it that you may be missing or need, to feel joy?
Some Of The Most Common Areas That People Wish To Change About Their Lives
A big one is usually our career. Are you in the job that you love? Are you fulfilled by it? If not, what stands in the way of chasing that dream job, or even that dream feeling within the same job? If you had a wish-list for change in your current environment, what would it be?
Try to come up with some things outside of just salary here – would a few more days vacation be helpful? Would a better relationship with your boss or colleagues go a long way towards relieving stress? Would getting out of a relationship with a bad client or partner help?
How is your relationship with your spouse? Do you wish that there was more joy, more of a loving interaction between you both?
Or examine the relationship with your children – do you feel as if you get to enjoy being around your children, or is it simply getting them from one activity to another, always getting to the next thing?
Do we have the friendships that we want? Do our friends share our values and approaches to life? This doesn’t mean that all of our friends are exactly like we are, but do you feel good when you leave their house, or does it always seem like another obligation to see them?
Why Our Dreams And Aspirations Matter
You may never know, what might have been, unless you do something different - starting today, for today, is the best time ever to start making little changes and big changes, each of which moves you closer toward your dreams, one step at a time.
What are you not doing that you wish you were doing? What were those things that you always dreamed of doing “when you grew up”? Learning a new language, skydiving, pottery, a new yoga class, a Tough Mudder – what out there calls to you to go out and do?
Perhaps none of these ring true to you. Maybe you even feel a sort of disconnect, as if you no longer know what you are missing or what your dreams once were.
These questions awaken a sense of dread, even, as if you “should” know what you want to do with your life (at your age!), but you just don’t. Not to worry. Sometimes our dreams get so buried under the day to day and the helping of others (including our family), that we forget to look at the bigger picture.
Struggling Creating Your Own List? No Problem, Here Are Some Ideas, Tips, And Techniques To Consider
- Schedule a half hour per week for yourself. This is just “you” time – no chores, no electronics, no books, no interruptions.
- Go to a calm place, perhaps a park, or a spot in your house (when everyone else is gone), and just sit for a while. A notebook and pen would be good to have on hand, in case anything does come up for you, but there are no requirements for this time.
- If you would like to meditate, that’s fine, too (See my tips for meditation if you’d like more help.) Anything you do during this time is perfectly alright, as long as the end result is intended just for you. As Wayne Dyer says, “Be still and know.”
- Explore a few different options: go to new classes or fun runs or anything else that just sort of catches your eye – don’t worry about whether it will turn into a life-long habit or even for the next month. Just go out and explore. (Many colleges offer adult learning classes in all sorts of subjects. And many health and fitness classes offer the first time free – it’s amazing how many you can go to without even paying!)
- Consider reading slowly some pages of a book (not through the Internet!) on a topic that interests you. If you don’t have a suitable book available, spend some time in a bookstore looking through the hobbies or history or non-fiction sections. Perhaps metallurgy, or flint knapping, or knitting – anything that you’ve always thought about doing, but of which you may have never just got started. This tip is about gently breaking some existing patterns, and starting new ones of your own making.
Working On Fears And Inadequacies
A great therapist can help us to find out what our underlying thoughts are that are preventing us from our life of abundance.
Often people enter therapy because they are not living the life they truly desire, and reach out for help to shift this pattern.
Therapists can work with you not only to identify what it is that you are seeking, but also to learn ways of bolstering our self-confidence. For example, a therapist might ask if you are feeling lonely, but too afraid or anxious to change this? Are you not feeling good enough about yourself to put yourself out there?
At Nassau Guidance, we’ve worked with many clients over the years to discover what it is that they need to live lives of fullness and vitality. Within all of us lies that little spark of our creativity and joy; we just have to find it!