Creating Change: My Life is Miserable
“Nothing feels right. I feel empty inside. I feel like a part of me is dying.”
Have you ever felt this way? I have. I was stuck in a situation I couldn’t stand. I felt like a helpless animal trapped in a cage. I couldn’t see any way out for myself. The more I focused on how miserable I was, the more upset I became. I had this internal conflict going on. I knew what was making me unhappy, but I just couldn’t face my demons. I couldn’t do anything about it. I felt that I had no power. I felt that trying to make a change would be met with failure, or perhaps even meant I was a failure. I felt like I was confined to life- that what I had, was all there really was.
My life felt pretty bleak at the time. I was lucky. In the deepest and darkest hours of despair, I had a pretty amazing friend challenge me and tell me that I couldn’t live my life the way I was living it. If I did, I would never be happy and that would not be fair to me or my family. I am very thankful for that friend and am very thankful that I was able to hear the message that was being delivered. If this person had not become a part of my life, I do not know where I would be today.
I can now look back on that situation and see that all of the walls of the cage I was trapped in were self-constructed. I built those walls. I built the trap door. I built the lock that kept me stuck inside. My self-destructive negative thinking based on false beliefs that I had developed throughout my life kept me where I was-miserable; living under a dark grey cloud that never seemed to go away.
The point is, if you are miserable and you know what is making you miserable at least on some level, you do have the ability to make things better for yourself. How you do that is the tricky part. You may have to face some demons. You may have to face some really uncomfortable thoughts. You definitely will have to face some challenges. The most important thing to understand is that you and only you are in control of your life.
Your circumstances don’t control your life- your thoughts do. Your thoughts are what build up those walls that keep you trapped: “I can’t quit. I can’t have a healthy relationship. I won’t ever have any money. I’ll never be happy.” My friend mentioned above, made the suggestion to me that my thinking was wrong. I could replace that thinking with something a little more positive- that I could have the things that I wanted in my life; that I didn’t have to sacrifice myself for everyone else; that I was worthy and entitled to a good life.
It has not always been a quick and easy trip. I am still faced with those negative thoughts from time to time: “it will never work; you are going to fail; what if they don’t like you?” The difference- I am now able to say “nonsense” and push forward. If I try something and fail- I am not really a failure. I have succeeded. I have learned and I have grown from the experience. Here are a few tips to help push you forward:
1) Do you feel that there are no options? Build a list of alternatives. I had a great job but relocated for a number of reasons. The only thing I could find initially was a job that I really hated. It got to the point where I cried almost every morning before going to work. I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do. The people I worked with were terribly grumpy and didn’t value the work they were doing. I knew that I could not work there for long and survive.
I built a list of alternatives: look for a job in another location, go on some interviews in my current location, or look at going back to school. The first option was not the greatest. It would mean being separated from family. Returning to school seemed like a possibility. Interviewing in other related fields seemed like a possible option. I went on several interviews and realized what I had wasn’t really so bad and that it was only temporary so I could deal with it. I stopped spending so much time focusing on what I hated and started focusing on other things that brought me relief- this was only temporary; I could go back to school; I could work elsewhere if I really wanted to.
2) Build a list of your successes. When that voice pops up that says you are such a loser- challenge it with your list of successes. This is hard for some people to do. They gloss over successes and emphasize their failures. If you fall in to this category, get a large pad of paper. I’ll start you out with a list of your successes: learning to roll over, learning to sit up, learning to talk, learning to walk, learning to ride a bike, learning to tie your shoes, going to kindergarten, graduating from elementary school, getting a driver’s license, graduating from high school, getting a job or advanced degree. This is just a start. Seriously- build a list with all of your successes and see just what an incredibly brilliant person you are!
3) Look at your failures. What did you learn from them? Can you see how this information might serve you better in the future? Nothing really is a failure. When something doesn’t work out or go as you would like it serves as an opportunity to learn. When I first attended college, I had no idea where I wanted to go or what I wanted to study. I chose something that I had done fairly well with in high school- biology. I got to college and after dissecting a few too many lab animals decided it was not for me. I couldn’t stand the smell and I didn’t like being in the lab all of the time. I did not see this as a failure or as a waste of time and effort, but as an opportunity to learn more about myself and what was right for me.
Luckily, this “failure” if you will- led to me finding something that I really love- helping others find their inner light so that they can shine brilliantly.
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Have a great week!