“It's self-image that screws us"
Life's a racket where what you're looking for ain't necessarily what you actually want.
The question: "what do I want" is both a red herring and unanswerable.
Here's how it works:
Somewhere along the line, you absorb (I'm not even sure you create) an image of yourself, an identity of the kind of person you are. Associated with that identity are a bunch of values: the things that kind of person would value. For some of us it's hard work, for some it's being looked after by others, for some it's a life of poverty and hard yakka, for some professional success, great marriage, shiny car... thing is, it doesn't really matter what it is, it's the who in what we do.
The problem is that by focussing on what we want we go for the cream but forget the milk... and invariably come away hungry. That secret image we hold of ourselves wasn't actually created by us so we're invariably working very hard at fulfilling on a mirage.
All around me I (and I'm sure around you do too) I see people and marriages under stress because the life people are living does not accord with the identity (and values) one of both people hold. It's a crisis of values that tend to come to a head in the middle years of life. It can be quite stressful.
The source of the stress and unhappiness we experience is not what is actually happening, it is the disjunct between the life we think we should be living and the life we are actually living.
The source of the stress and unhappiness we experience comes from being attached to an identity, and concomitant values, that actually has nothing to do with reality or the life that would actually fulfil us!
It's that secret voice crying: "this is not me... this is not how it is meant to look".
The kind of life that fulfils us and makes us happy is not the one that fulfils on the image we have of ourselves
The image we have is a furphy, it's a lie pressed into us from outside that we then bust-a-gut to materialise and, if we're sufficiently ornery to actually pull-it-off, often then find unfulling.
Does this mean I shouldn't try and get the life I want? No of course not - but the first step is to start divorcing yourself from the identity you think is you, and the values that come with it, and start looking authentically for what actually matters to you - I suggest you would be surprised and delighted by what you find!
So, how do you find the life you actually want?
If it doesn't really matter which style of life you chose (given that most of you, my readers, readers do seem to have a choice; and the image you have in your heart that is forming your values and guiding your choice is probably a parasite... where can you look for direction?
You know what... I don't know!
There is a vast wealth of wisdom about the purpose and fulfilment of a human life, and I obviously make my living as a guide walking beside people as they go about creating a life that matters to them, but the truth is that, when push-comes-to-shove, the only question to ask is:
"what does the world (my kids, wife, friends, colleagues) need from me now?"
I help people look inwards and backwards and uncover the parasitic identity that is guiding their lives, but the path people chose ultimately comes from asking this question, over and over again.
If you are listening and reacting from this place (and it's hard I know... pesky little ego!) the right direction will always open up and it is invariably the easiest path to take (go HERE for a piece from last week about the role of faith and trust in this process - it's a but religious-retro but should resonate if you've gotten this far).
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P.S. Whenever you’re ready to look at new ways to take charge of the second half …. here are here are four ways we can help:
1. Request some articles on how to take charge of the second half of life by discovering you Leitmotif (the recurring theme of your life) email me
3. Get a free pre-order of our book (just pay shipping). It’s called “Midlife Creation: how to take charge of the second half of your life. Just email “BOOK PLEASE” and I’ll send you a copy when it is published (around December).
4. If you want to ask some questions or get a sense of how to start looking for your own Leitmotif you can book a quick private chat with me HERE(pls note you can't register into a program this way, but you can check me out and see if we click).