Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and asked, "Where is my life going?" Have you ever thought, "Why am I here?" or "What am I supposed to be doing?" Even more important, have you ever asked, "What do I really want to be doing?".
If you are not doing what you want, then why aren't you?
When we are younger our whole life is ahead of us and it is full of infinite possibilities. In our twenties and thirties we are busy establishing ourselves as the new young adults we are—getting an education, becoming self sufficient, finding a partner or spouse, getting a good job, establishing a career, creating a home and starting families. During those foundational years we are so busy and focused on getting our lives together we rarely have time to take a good hard look at ourselves.
But once we reach our late thirties or forties, we often find our lives are not going where we thought they would. Life has this funny way of taking us where it will, and sometimes we find ourselves in places we never thought we'd be. One morning we wake up with a feeling of discontent and the realization we don't really like the view out our window anymore.
It is at this point that many people become "stuck." They may not know where they want their lives to be going—just not wherever it is. When we realize that nearly half of our life is over, we start thinking about how we are going to live the rest of it. This is where the going starts getting rougher. We certainly don't want to repeat our past mistakes or poor performance, and we want our lives to change. We just don't know how. It is at that point we start becoming prisoners of our own limitations. It is easy to fall back on old excuses. It's the economy. It's my family. There are no other jobs. I'm not good enough. I don't have any money. I don't have any other choices. This is just how it is.
The real truth is, no matter what our circumstances are, we still have choicesSometimes the choices may seem quite small, but we still have them. We can choose to eat breakfast or not. We can choose to ignore the alarm clock, or not. We can choose to put on this outfit or that one. We can watch this TV program or another one. We can wash the car or leave it dirty. We can paint the kitchen yellow or green. We can call a friend, or mope around by ourselves. And so it goes. In a single day, we make hundreds of choices about hundreds of things, even if they seem so insignificant they are unnoticeable.
But as we walk through our lives, one of the most important choices we will ever make is how we elect to THINK and FEEL. We can smile or frown. We can be a curmudgeon (basically an old poop) or we can be a pleasant person others like to have around—our choice. We can choose to drag around our heavy old load of personal baggage, or we can dump it beside the road and move on—again our choice. We can choose to drown in our own self limitations, or make the decision to throw off the shackles and start living life to the fullest right where we are. How we live is a mindset and a CHOICE, not possessions, prestige, money or power.
What is most significant here is the fact that we have that choice. Too many people don't think so. They don't think so because they have been "programmed" by others to believe in their own limitations. Fortunately for us, just like computers, we can change our default programming. The first step is to identify what that programming is. We literally are what we believe, and our lives directly reflect that. If you want to know what you really believe, take a look at what is going on in your life. Does it look like you want it to? If money is in short supply, it may be because you have a belief that money doesn't grow on trees and there isn't enough to go around. If healthy relationships continue to elude you, perhaps it is because you consciously or unconsciously believe you aren't good enough or are afraid of close relationships. If you can't hold onto a job, perhaps you don't truly want one.
For further insight as to what your hidden (or not so hidden) beliefs might be, take a look at what you experienced or learned from your family or friends when you were a child. Whether you agree with them or not today, you may subconsciously still be sharing their attitudes and viewpoints. Stand back and take a look at your birth family. Are their lives working well? Is yours? What kind of friends do you have and what people do you associate with every day? Are they happy? Cheerful? Optimistic? Do they make the best of things or do they spend their days lamenting about the state of their lives and the world in general? Do you get a sense of satisfaction about moaning and groaning with them? Does knowing that others are miserable help make you feel better and help you justify your own present circumstances?
Again, it's a choice. You can continue to hang out with the complainers or seek new relationships with people who have better attitudes and are leading happier lives. You can keep wallowing in self pity, or you can start pulling yourself up by being of service to others. You can continue to gripe and tell your same worn out story over and over, or you can create a new one with a better middle and the potential for a much better ending. It is up to you to take action.
Judith Albright, MA, is the President and Chief Visionary for Limitless Living, LLC, an online membership organization designed to connect everyone who wants to live an unlimited life with ideas, resources, and people who can help them achieve that.