Have days when you question why you’re here? Or what the hell you’re doing?
Ever wonder if there’s something else out there for you other than the daily grind, or trying to pay bills, or working a job that sucks the life out of you?
Suffer from boredom and try to fill it with social media, constant busyness, or some other kind of entertainment that numbs you and passes the time?
And wonder why you’re still feeling unfulfilled?
You’re not alone.
There’s a growing trend (at least among the people I’ve met over the years, both online and live) who are frustrated with their life. The most common complaint I’ve been hearing is that they’re just not happy. Which is sad, really. So I started thinking about why people are feeling so disillusioned. Maybe it’s an age thing. The older (ahem) you get, the more you start looking for fulfillment beyond money, material goods, and trying to prove yourself to others (either personally or professionally).
But I also think that maybe it’s more than that.
Maybe it’s that we’re just too focused on the things that really don’t matter. Because, let’s be honest, it’s a way of life that today’s society seems to support.
I’ve met many people over the years who graduated from college and went on to get a job to “start their life”. Then, over time, they got bigger or better jobs that came with more money or more prestige or both. Then they got married or had kids or bought a house or got better cars or went on more vacations just to get away. You get the picture. And then one day, these folks sat around commiserating with friends and family over a meal or a drink, wondering why they felt so empty.
So here’s the thing. If you’re caught up in the trappings of life rather than life itself, it can become difficult to find your way out of feeling lost.
Along the way, I discovered something very important: Life Needs Purpose.
Sound simple? Well, it is. In a way. But challenging disillusionment, and the life we’ve grown accustomed to and may be afraid to abandon in the hope of resurrecting a more satisfying one, will only come with some serious soul-searching and commitment to change.
Here are some questions to think about:
- If you had to write a biography about your life, what would be its main theme? Would it focus on the accomplishments of a job? Or the difference you made in other lives, either through charity or volunteer work? Would it be all the hours you put in at the office for someone else’s benefit, or the hours you spent reading to your kids, or helping plant trees in your neighborhood, or feeding meals to the less fortunate?
- What were among your most memorable experiences in life? Was it a long-awaited vacation because you needed a break from the craziness of life, that was quickly forgotten once you returned? Or the mornings you set aside to watch the sun rise in silence, because doing so reminded you of just how truly precious life is and how abundantly small we are?
- How do you spend your spare time? Do you constantly check your smart phone for updates on social media, the latest gossip or news or entertainment, or email from work? Or do you shut the phone off as soon as you get home and focus on friends and family and loved ones instead?
- What lies are you telling yourself that keep supporting the current way you’re doing things, even though you hate it? If you’re in a job that’s making you miserable, maybe it’s time to rethink your career. If you’re in a house that’s bogging you down with huge mortgage payments, maybe it’s time to rethink the house. If you’re saving money to go away on vacation so you can revive your spirit, maybe it’s time to look into mindfulness practices (that are free!) instead.
- Do you surround yourself with positive, inspirational people? And people who support you? Or are you predominantly involved with people, either personally or professionally, who are only focused on their own success and happiness, drives or ambitions?
- Do you have a passion to pursue? Unless you’re independently wealthy, odds are you have to do some kind of work to put a roof over your head and food on the table. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t find your passion in life. What gives you true joy and inspiration? Writing? Cooking? Breeding dogs? Gardening? Exercise? Helping the elderly? If you have a passion, you have an outlet. The means to find purpose. So go out and do it.
- Do you spend most of your time worrying about what someone else thinks about you or your actions? Or do you just try to do your best, and the right thing, every time because you realize that’s all that really matters?
- Do you make excuses for your actions and choices? Because you’re too scared to change up your life? If so, that’s holding you back. Listen to that little voice inside your head (in case you haven’t noticed, it chatters at you all day), recognize the roadblocks it’s placing in front of you, accept the thoughts for what they are (thoughts, not facts), and pursue your purpose.
My point here is simple. Disillusionment carries weight, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Half the battle is acknowledging that you’re disillusioned. The other half is letting go of expectations and the things we can’t control. So yeah, disillusionment can be a good thing because it’ll spur you into action to make change. A good change. Think about what gives you real, honest to goodness joy, then pursue it. The only one holding you back is you.
Here is some wonderful advice to consider, with the close of this blog entry:
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