If you are not happy, chances are, you know it.
It’s that low grade ‘my-life-sucks’ syndrome.
It could be a clear internal message, like – “I’m not living my truth” or “this isn’t what I wanted” – or an underlying dissatisfied vibe that prickles your skin.
We ‘make due’ with the way things are.
And suffer silently.
Or be the victim.
We accept less than we deserve.
Or accept what we believe we deserve.
We fight against the truth of what we have accepted and created in our life.
And we wake up one morning knowing bone-deep we can’t do it a minute longer.
Or we stumble along, sick from a life of wretchedness – wretched bitterness, wretched boredom, wretched misery.
We make our whole life about our partner’s dreams
and our kid’s schedules.
We stuff our anger and bury our sadness and put off our happiness because
it’s the right thing to do
and because no one wants to hear about it
and being mad isn’t appropriate
and because we made our bed, so we must lie in it.
Here are 3 common things that we do that prevent us from finding Joy in our life, followed by 3 ways you can change – starting today.
1. Make Excuses
This sounds like …
I don’t have time.
There’s no extra money for me.
I have to work.
It’ll be my turn when the kids are bigger.
Why do we make excuses?
Excuses are the reasons we give.
Fear. (Change is scary.)
Lack of clarity. (What do I want?)
Lack of energy. (I’m already tapped out.)
Overwhelm. (Where do I begin?)
Procrastination. (I should start … okay… tomorrow.)
Blame. (It’s easier to blame someone else than to accept responsiblity.)
2. Choose Gratification over Joy
Doing soul-crushing things that masquerade as Joy…
Drinking every night or every weekend – with friends. Or alone.
Shopping for pretty new stuff. Creating debt. Acquiring mass things.
Sex that compromises self-worth, safety and personal values.
Endless hours of games, Pinteresting or Facebook.
Instant gratification habits, vices and dangerous behaviours that sabotage our dreams and plans often provide a temporary high. It can feel good to buy something new, drink a few bottles of wine with friends and have a laugh or feel sexy, desireable and wanted by someone.
We justify the ‘things’ that make us happy.
We deserve something pretty.
We’ve earned a night out.
We’re young and beautiful and in control … and lonely.
Work hard, play hard.
But, when those behaviours set you up for undesirable consquences (short term or long term) – debt, hangover, health concerns or time wasted – joy is going to be hard to find.
3. Live Someone Else’s Dream
Spending your days supporting someone else to live a life they love (or worse, a life they don’t love…) while ignoring your own dreams.
Mother always said I should …
My partner doesn’t want me to…
Self-sacrifice means I’m a good wife/mother/employee…
My kids expect me to be…
One of the most outdated, useless, old-fashioned beliefs about being a ‘good woman’ (or wife or man or husband or mom or dad) is: being a GOOD anything requires selflessness, sacrifice and a refusal of autonomy.
You will be the best mother, daughter, spouse, employee you can be when you are
honest about what you want,
make time to look after your own needs and desires.
Did it ever occur to you that you can do both (support others’ dreams and live your life your way) and do both well?
Whomever taught us that to have one, we must forfeit the other?
What if by taking care of you first, you became more energized, happy and passionate ?
How would a happy, passionate and energized you feel offering support to those you love?
Can you find your joy?
Here’s something really cool.
My joy is not separate from my family. I love my family. I adore my husband. And think my kids are smart and cute and full of potential.
My joy is in the gym a few days a week sweating out my shit.
My joy is going out for lunch with smart girl friends.
My joy is on the trails with my dogs.
My joy is bubblebaths and good books.
And is under the covers snuggling with my man and #RickGrimes.
My joy is doing more of what makes my heart feel good and less of what drains me. For example: volunteer hours – I needed to take a break from giving time away. It was somebody else’s turn to help out for a while. And I gave up television – news, sitcoms and drama suck the life out of me.
My joy is saying NO to all the things that aren’t in alignment with my heart. This goes for people, events, causes, and jobs.
My joy comes when I ask for help from the rest of the people who live in my house.
I’m not a slave or a servant or a sucker.
3 Ways You Can Change Starting Today
1. Get Clear. You can’t fix it if you can’t figure out what’s broken. Get a note book and start writing. Labelling the biggest 2 problems you have will go a long way to coming up with a plan for change.
I’m out of shape and feel terrible.
Give it a name.
That you won’t sacrifice your own health any longer.
That it’s not okay anymore.
That you will find a new job to move on to.
That you are ready to do it all differently.
That your kids need to step up and help out more at home.
Making a decision is a clear cut signal to the Universe that you are ready for the next step. Deciding slams the door on what was and opens a new door to solutions and possibilities and opportuntities.
Be willing to do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes.
3. Choose You.
We’ve been programmed to believe filling our own cup is selfish. Taking exceptional care of ourself is judged as shallow or narcicistic or arrogant. No wonder we sacrifice ourselves for others – no one wants to be seen as selfish and self-centred.
Choosing you doesn’t mean you ignore everyone else.
It’s strapping your oxygen mask on first.
It’s filling your own cup, so you can continue to overflow to others.
It’s taking care of your body, so that you are well enough to care for others.
It’s leading by example – for your children, your friends, your mother, your partner.
What if choosing you meant living as an example?
What if choosing you meant teaching your children how to live with autonomy?