It’s never too late to get unstuck and find happiness in your life. A reader recently asked me for help getting unstuck, and my tips for her apply to all aspects of life: marriage, relationships, career, and goals.
Here’s an excerpt of her comment on my article about letting go of love:
“I met my husband 16 years ago, after I walked away from a relationship that was scary for me. I loved my old boyfriend with all my heart, mind, body, and soul. But I decided that I didn’t want to be in love because I needed to be able to control my feelings and actions…So, I married this guy that fit the illusion…14 years later, I am unhappy with everything about him…Leaving him would destroy my children and the happy home they think they have. I am afraid if I don’t leave, I may eventually cheat. He is not what I want at all. I need help!”
To read my suggestions to her directly, go to the article itself. For psychotherapist’s advice on getting unstuck and finding happiness, read Getting Unstuck: How Dead Ends Become New Paths.
And, here are my tips for achieving goals and changing your life…
Get Unstuck and Find Happiness – It’s Never Too Late!
“It’s never too late to be what you might have been,” said George Eliot.
First, figure out what went wrong. My reader realized that she left her first boyfriend to protect herself from the unpredictability of love. She didn’t want to be vulnerable – and now she’s tired of trying to make her marriage work. Fourteen years later, she realizes she’s been trying to force her personality and life in a direction that’s not natural for her…and, understandably, she’s unhappy. What about you — can you look at your life and figure out what went “wrong”? This is the first step in getting unstuck, finding happiness, and achieving your life goals.
Accept that you did the best you could. Don’t waste your time or energy feeling guilty or bad about the choices you made. You did the best you could, my friend. You couldn’t have made other choices in your life at that time…so forgive yourself and accept where you are right now.
Decide what needs to change in your life. What are you willing and able to change? What do you have to live with? There’s probably a bit of both in your life; you need to accept the things you can’t change – and by acceptance, I mean not complaining or wishing things were different. Then, focus on the things you can and want to change.
If you struggle with self-forgiveness (which is important if you want to get unstuck!), read 10 Reasons to Forgive Yourself for the Bad Things You Did.
Accept your lack of control. To find happiness and get unstuck, you need to accept that you can’t control many things in your life. You can’t control who loves you, who leaves you, who helps you, who betrays you. You can’t control your neighborhood, the traffic, the weather, or the economy. Of all the things you want to change in your life, remember that you can’t change people. You can sometimes change circumstances, and you can change your attitude and response to events and people…but you can’t change your husband, children, coworkers, neighbors, or family members.
Tap into your soul. The happiest people are those who are in touch with their spirits. Adding spirituality to your life not only makes you feel better emotionally, it improves your physical health. Tap into your soul by meditating, praying, taking time to really listen to your heart, reading Scripture or other soulful books, and talking to people about spiritual matters.
Focus on one step at a time. Does your whole life need an overhaul? Pick the biggest thing you want to change, and break it down into reasonable, manageable steps. Or, if you’re not ready to tackle the biggest problem – or you think that isn’t the road to finding happiness – then pick the smallest problem. What matters most is that you’re taking action in one area of your life, that you’re taking a step into personal growth.
Get help: a life coach, counselor, financial advisor, professional organizer. Whether you should consider hiring a life coach or getting counseling depends on your situation. If you’re struggling with self-identity, major life changes, fear, anxiety, depression, or your marriage – then I encourage you to talk to a professional. Therapists can provide objective feedback and guidance that our friends and family can’t offer. If you have money problems, financial advisors can help you with things like rebuild financially after bankruptcy. Professional organizers can help you declutter — which can improve your physical and mental health!
Find a book that reminds you about getting unstuck. I read Sarah Ban Breathnach’s Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort of Joy whenever I felt sad, lonely, or full of existential angst. I just flip through it when I need encouragement — it’s one of my all-time favorite books. To find happiness and change your life, you need to surround yourself with books, photos, inspirational quotations, etc – whatever reminds you of your goals, of the life you want to lead.
“Courage is not the towering oak that sees the storms come and go; it is the fragile blossom that opens in the snow.” – Alice M. Swain, writer.
Are you stuck in your job? Read How to Quit Your Job When You’re Scared.