I don’t know about you but it took me a long while to understand and accept that the life I was living was not the right one for me. I only realised I needed to change my path after dealing with several symptoms related to fibromyalgia, sciatica, and last but not least hormonal imbalance. All my symptoms were caused by long-exposure to stress and anxiety. I had had already problems with stress management before leaving my country but things got tougher when I decided to invest in a career that society says to be ‘great’. I couldn’t had been so wrong and instead of living my best life, I actually destroyed my mental and physical health. First it was stress, then constant anxiety followed by depression and a painful existential emptiness. Whenever I solved one symptom, I soon would have a different one to deal with.
As you may know, I’m still recovering from everything. I came back to my country and I made the decision of finding a life that is more aligned with my nature, values, and dreams. It hasn’t been an easy stage but at the moment I have been illness-free for a month now and I think that was the most important goal to accomplish. Of course, I’m struggling a lot with food and my body weight needs to be addressed, but I’m giving myself the compassion I wished others had for me and that has been life changing. For instances, I may not fit in my clothes but I don’t let that define how comfortable I am with myself. I’m confident that on time I will solve my body weight issues. Breaking through depression daily is my greatest priority at the moment and that involves living life accordingly to my heart instead of pursuing what society values.
To reach the point in which you decide to reinvent your life though, you have to become aware of the little signs that life gives you to let you know that something is wrong, that you are out of sync with yourself. I consciously or unconsciously chose to ignore these signs as I already told you. That brought me negative consequences. Besides destroying both my physical and mental health to a point of almost no return, I also failed to be the best version of myself. I failed to be fully present to those who love me and I failed to develop new positive relationships. So to help you make an assessment and bring you some awareness to the signs that are supposed to warn and make us choose better options in life, here are eight aspects or symptoms that you may be experiencing:
(Desperately) Wanting a New Job
You believe that finding a new job is the only solution. In fact, you think that if you only found a slightly better option, things would automatically get better. While this may be true to some of you, it’s not always accurate. We are often so desperate to leave our current job that we don’t have the right clarity of mind to find and choose a job that is actually better than the previous one. This has happened to me since I was 18 and started working. I would find a new job from a place of desperation and that never allowed me to see through the red flags. It took me 10 years to finally want to break this cycle.
(Desperately) Needing a Sabbatic Year
I think having a sabbatic year must be great but I also know that for many of us it is actually an escape. We often choose to take a sabbatic year when we somehow feel lost and we are not sure about what we want to be doing next. We take the time hoping we will find some great idea or plan for the future. We may even travel and meet new people or we may not even do anything useful. Either way, more often than not, we don’t end up with what we expected – a structured and inspiring plan for the future.
(Desperately) Dreaming of A Retreat
This one is my favourite and probably the one I thought more of. My life was so unbearable that I dreamt a lot with escaping and living in ashrams. All I wanted to do was to travel, do yoga, and find myself. I thought doing a retreat or living in an ashram would give me the answers I needed. Guess what, that may not happen and you can save a bunch of time and money if you decide to actually sit with yourself first and design a life plan that is compatible with who you are. And if you are still burdened with the question Who am I? you may want to read this blog post here.
(Desperately) Looking for External Motivation
Guilty as charged. I lost count of the amount of self-help, self-development or personal growth books I read in the last five years. My shelves are full of books that have wonderful advice and yet I never really applied them all to my life. Why? Well, I guess I was not really motivated to do so. I wanted change and I wanted a better life, but I was looking for motivational prompts outside of myself. They may help us for a short-while, but they can’t do the magic day after day – you need to find a source of pure motivation within you, because true and sustainable change only happens from the inside out. Books and inspirational talks may play a role but you have to seek and develop the power of change that lies within you.
(Unconsciously) Using Family as an Excuse
We often thing we can’t go after what we really want in life because it’s already too late and we have a family to support. We may do have to support our family but we also need to ask ourselves whether we are using it as a good justification or whether it is more of an excuse to avoid going after our dreams. I’m not saying that we should be irresponsible and sacrifice the wellbeing of our family. Not at all. What I’m trying to say is that sometimes if we work things through, we can find a way to keep supporting our family and yet dedicate some time to the development of a life we would be happier with.
(Unconsciously) Complaining All the Time
This was probably the number one sign that gave me in. I became a professional complainer. I would be grumpy every day and I lost my patience with people. Everything and everyone had the power to annoy me easily. I would complain about how slowly people walked in the supermarket and how loud people were in general. I would also complain about my relationships, routine, and miserable lifestyle. Of course, the more I complained, the more I would find to complain about. Do you know why people complain all the time? Well, it’s because they are not happy with life.
(Unconsciously) Living Other People’s Lives
Luckily enough, I never lived other people’s lives but I do know many people who spend their time scrolling and living through other people’s accomplishments. There is nothing wrong with being happy or sad about what happens to other people, but if you live behind a screen or your house’s windows, then you are not truly living. Get out of other people’s lives and start living yours. You can do whatever you want.
(Unconsciously) Craving Freedom
Guilty as charged, once again. I have been always wanting freedom and that’s why I craved travelling and living in ashrams so much. I thought that would set me free. In the meantime I realised I’m the only one who can set myself free, so until I break through it, I will try my best to live the present moment and thrive by making better and more conscious decisions in life, moment by moment. I believe we must first conquer the freedom to be ourselves in the here and now, because freedom also comes from within, not from the outside.