Is your life what you always thought it would be?
In many ways, this is a trick question. Nobody has the capacity to anticipate all the twists and turns life has to offer. Young people don’t have the life experience to do so.
So, if your life is not specifically what you expected, that is to be expected.
However, there is a more general, youthful expectation that is realistic and achievable. The expectation is that you will be happy as an adult.
Are you happy?
I’m not talking about the happiness that will come someday. Not the happiness that you would have if it weren’t for so-and-so. And certainly not the image of happiness that you project onto the world.
What about the feeling, deep down, that you are satisfied with your life?
This feeling runs deeper than your current mood, deeper than your relationships, career, hobbies and even your religion. It’s a sense that you accept where you are – right now – in life.
The vast majority of people are NOT happy.
In fact, 67% of people report being less than satisfied with their lives according to a recent Harris Poll.
Speculators suggest that the gross lack of happiness has to do with the economy, politics, race relations and other external factors – and no one can deny that these have a tremendous impact on our sense of how life is going.
But there is a deeper energy to happiness that can’t be measured. This deeper aspect of happiness has more to do with who you have become and how you have adapted to the challenges of life. It has much less to do with what is happening in the outside world than most of us are willing to admit.
If you are over 35 and you do not have this feeling of satisfaction (not contentment, but satisfaction) then you had better get busy because no one is going to hand it to you.
Nobody is coming to rescue you from unhappiness. No one is going to show up at your doorstep and bestow sudden grace upon you. If it is to be, then it is up to you and you alone.
If you are under the age of 35 and dissatisfied with where you are in life, this makes more sense from a developmental perspective.
Between the ages 20 and 35, so much work needs to be done to establish a life that you can be satisfied with.
If you are under 35, keep moving ahead toward your goals. If you don’t have strong goals, you must create them! This is not a time to be passive.
By the age of 35, if you haven’t established a satisfactory base of satisfaction, then you need to take a hard look at yourself.
Have you taken your life seriously?
Are you sabotaging your success?
Have you been waiting for someone else to deliver you?
Are you spending time making excuses instead of making progress?
Do you allow fear to hold you back?
Are you blaming the outside world?
Have you been passive, as if you were not in charge of your own life?
You can continue to believe there is nothing you can do about it, but that STILL won’t change a thing. It won’t change the angst in your soul.
You can tell yourself all this is not important, but you know it is. This is why you feel the angst. You expect to be happy. And that is a good thing.
Sober up by assessing your subjective level of happiness on a scale of one to ten. Be honest. Ten is completely happy and one is miserable. Where are you?
Take a hard look in the mirror and remind yourself that you are the one responsible for your level of satisfaction in life.
Ask yourself what you need in order to be happy. What’s missing in your life? If you don’t have any insight, then seek a trusted outside opinion. This is critical. Don’t blame yourself for not knowing. Get a second opinion.
Make a plan to get what you need. If you don’t know how – again – seek an outside resource. It’s important!
Going through this process will do more than merely meet your needs. It will give you confidence in your ability to create happiness, which is an immeasurable resource to have.
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