This book free from 6/1-6/3
Publisher Judith Albright
This book free from 6/1-6/3
There are few people who can honestly say they love everything about their life and wouldn't change a thing. For the rest of us there is always something we strive for, want to resolve, get beyond, or do differently. One of our biggest obstacles is not being clear about we want. Do you know what you really want? This book is written specifically to help you determine what that is, inspire you to move out of your comfort zone, eliminate whatever is blocking you, address your doubts and fears, withstand negative influences from others, and help prepare you for mental and financial challenges.
Is it Time for a Change?
As the years pass, many of us reach a point where we become dissatisfied and start longing for something different, even if we aren't sure what it is that we want. This inner feeling can happen suddenly or it may slowly creep upon us, but there comes a day when we begin to question if the life we are living is all there is. We start experiencing a restlessness of spirit and a yearning for more or less of something. Kahlil Gibran described this feeling as "life longing for itself." Although the exact reasons may remain shadowy or elusive, we instinctively know when we feel called to change or do something different.
This urgency for change tends to become more pronounced as we near midlife. It is around the time when we reach the milestone of our 40th birthday, that we start waking up to the realization that we have already lived nearly half of our life and have no idea what to do with the rest of it. This can happen at any time, but it is more common during what Gail Sheehy, author of Passages, called the “predictable crises of adult life,” which often accompany our decade changes (30s, 40s, 50s and on).
When we are young our whole life is still ahead of us and seems 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, creating a home, starting a family, getting a job, and establishing a career. During those foundational adult years we are so busy and focused on our current needs, we rarely think about taking an in-depth look at ourselves or consciously contemplating what we ultimately want out of life.
But by the time we are in our late thirties or early forties we may have become a bit disenchanted because life has not turned out the way we expected. Perhaps we have experienced failed relationships and divorces, estrangement from family, job loss, stalled careers, financial loss, health issues, and a myriad of other problems that are making us long for change. At this point we might not know where we want our life to be going—just not wherever it is.
If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else. -Yogi Berra
However, unless our life circumstances become so uncomfortable we are forced to do something different, we tend to remain passive and resigned to staying stuck where we are. The known is easiand less threatening than the unknown, so even though life may not be ideal, it often takes something dramatic to motivate us to take any action to change it. It is not until we reach a point of stagnation or deep dissatisfaction that we start questioning why we are here and what we are supposed to be doing. Life can become like an aimless Sunday afternoon drive—the paths we follow may take us to some unknown or unanticipated places, and we can even find ourselves on a dead end road. At that point we have a choice—we can either stay stuck where we are, or we can take it in good humor and turn around. Which direction to go is often our biggest dilemma. The decisions we make are often determined by what we think we can do or achieve, and what we will allow ourselves to have. This is directly linked to how we think of and view ourselves, much of which has been "programmed" in our minds by others, starting when we are too young to know the difference.
Ben W. is a perfect example of how negative childhood programming can influence the entire course of a life. As a child he was bullied at school by his classmates and humiliated by teachers who repeatedly told him he was lazy and stupid. At home he was labeled a “screw up” and a dummy, and was constantly reminded by his family that he was no good and would never amount to anything. At sixteen Ben had an argument with his third stepmother, which resulted in his father throwing him out and yelling at him to get out of their lives and not come back. As a result, Ben dropped out of school, lived on the streets for a time, and eventually got involved with drugs and alcohol. As an adult, he could never keep a job or hold onto money. He struggled with relationships, and after two failed marriages and several tumultuous liaisons with the wrong kind of women, he gave up on the whole idea. Nothing ever seemed to work out well for him. To Ben, life was totally unfair—other people always got the breaks, and everyone just had it in for him. He viewed himself as a total loser, and the only emotion he felt comfortable expressing was anger. There were plenty of opportunities for him to do that.
But one day, in the depths of despair, Ben realized he could no longer keep following a one-way path downhill. Even though he had no idea how to do it or where to start, he made a decision to start living his life differently. Feeling helpless and alone, he finally reached out for help. As a result, he came to the attention of a kindly man who began to help Ben change both his self image and the direction of his life. Encouraged by his new mentor, Ben gradually began to think and do things differently. The steps he took were small at first, but were followed by bigger ones as time went on. For the first time in his life he was around people who could see the real truth in him and treat him as a worthwhile human being. As he experienced the transforming power of kindness, unconditional love and acceptance, his life started to turn around. He began to believe in himself, and was finally able to overcome his negative self image and childhood programming. It was life-altering.
The changes you are contemplating are probably not nearly as dramatic or formidable as Ben's, and you may or may not need a helping hand. But if you do, don't hesitate! Ask for it, then take it when it is offered. The point is, wherever we are in life or what our circumstances are, making changes, large or small, always boil down to conscious choices. Accepting someone else's help may be the first choice you have to make to accomplish whatever it is you want.
Even if we believe that the circumstances of our life have left us without choices, we still have them. Whether or not we are aware of it, in a single day, we make hundreds of decisions about hundreds of things, even if they seem so insignificant they are unnoticeable. We can choose to ignore the alarm clock, or not. We can choose to eat breakfast or not. We can choose to put on this outfit or that one. We can watch this TV program or another one. We can go to a party or stay home. We can wash the car or leave it dirty. We can paint the kitchen yellow or green or leave it like it is. We can call a friend, or mope around by ourselves, and on and on...
But as we walk through our lives, one of the most important choices we will ever make is how to think and feel. We can smile or frown. We can be a curmudgeon, 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. 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 largely a mindset about choices.
Until we make a determined effort to change who we are and how we are living, our life will remain as is. It may take a dramatic situation or event to jolt us out of our lethargy. We may have to experience our own misfortunes to make us realize that our life is heading in the wrong direction. In the end, it all comes down to the choices we make. We can either do what we’ve always done—keep making the same old mistakes, wallowing in self pity, hanging out with the complainers and lamenting our misfortunes, or we can start pulling ourselves up and taking steps to make different things happen.
What is motivgatinig you to change?
Can you put into words that is driving your restlessness and desire for change? Sometimes we know what is motivating us and sometimes we don't. Generally, the source of dissatisfaction falls under one of the following:
My life is too busy, scattered and chaotic
I am overcommitted and exhausted with little or no free time
I am in a dead end and unsatisfying job
I never have enough money
I am in a toxic relationship and need to get out
I am lonely; there is no one out there for me
I feel bored and stuck in the mundane
My life lacks purpose of meaning
Nothing ever works out for me
I am trapped by circumstances
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Judith Albright, MA, is a stress management specialist and life transformation facilitator in Ft. Collins, CO, where she has had a private practice for more than 12 years. From the time she was a child she wanted to be both a writer and a teacher, and her entire career has been centered around helping others, both in person and through the written word. Her formal education includes a BFA from the University of Denver, an MA from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and additional graduate work at the University of Phoenix in Denver. A professional writer and author, she has written numerous articles for various publications, and for the past 9 years has been on the editorial board and a contributing writer to Bella Spark Magazine (now changed to Regenerate).