Life is hard, and sometimes it’s easier to live in denial than to face our problems head on. Telling yourself the truth can be very uncomfortable, but at the same time incredibly liberating. You can’t fix something until you admit it’s broken. Here are some things I think that many of us need to be honest with ourselves about, so that we can move forward to live better lives.
1. You hate your job – Sure, you make a decent living, are able to support your family, and are afforded some luxuries, but you dislike what you do so much that it can be excruciating to make it through the day at times. Perhaps it started out as “something to do to boost your resume”, but then you had kids, and you couldn’t just leave to find your true calling because the bills had to be paid. Now you’ve been there for years, and you’re stuck. You have obligations that need to be met, but is it worth your sanity? Start something on the side while working your 9 to 5. Find a way out of the doldrums.
2. You’re with the wrong partner – You’re comfortable with them and you’ve invested a lot of time into the relationship. Deep down, however, you know this person truly isn’t right for you. The pain of being alone seems worse than settling, but as the saying goes, there really are “plenty of fish in the sea.”
3. You’re a chronic procrastinator – Your favorite word is eventually. You keep putting off the things you say you want to do. It’s been a couple of years and you haven’t learned that new language, you haven’t traveled, you haven’t done much of anything really. If there’s something you’ve wanted to do, do something about it, today.
4. You are hanging out with the wrong crowd – Your friends have no goals. The only thing that you do together is party. You’ve been friends with them so long that you feel bad about moving forward without them. Your environment and the people you spend time with have a very significant impact on your life. Cut the bad fruit off of the tree. Make the sacrifice.
5. You are not productive at all – You run meaningless errands all day and claim that you are so busy. Being busy isn’t something to be proud of. Being busy simply means that you are doing things inefficiently. You have the same 24 hours in a day as Oprah Winfrey and the President of the United States. Compared to them, are you really that busy? Prioritize your life and start doing things that make an impact.
6. You’re bored with your life – You watch TV all day during the week and go out for drinks on the weekends. You need to be constantly entertained. You need these distractions because the truth is you really don’t have much going on. I’m not saying these things are bad in and of themselves, but people who are really doing something they love tend to spend less time doing these types of things. Find a hobby. Pick up a new skill. Live.
7. You have a chemical dependency problem – You’ve graduated from college but are still drinking like you’re 19. Your usage of drugs has moved from experimental to habitual. You’re not quite at the point of addiction, but if you aren’t careful, you may wind up with disastrous results. There’s nothing wrong with having a little fun, just make sure it doesn’t become a serious issue. If it is becoming one, address it now before the consequences of your behavior become dire.
8. You need to grow up – You are still wandering aimlessly through life. You haven’t taken your role as an adult seriously yet. You are still in the phase of not knowing what you really want to do with yourself. At some point, you have to figure it out. Pick a destination, make a plan, and begin striving towards it. Time moves quickly, quit thinking you have so much of it to waste.
9. You’ve settled – You aren’t where you want to be in your life. You’re not the person you dreamed of being when you were younger. You’re doing ok, but that’s it. The dreams you used to have are fading and on the verge of being gone completely. Do something big. I mean, why the hell not? You aren’t doing the world any favors by living small. Don’t grow to be old, bitter, and filled with regret.
10. You blame your shortcomings on the world, not yourself – You make excuses for why you aren’t successful. It’s always someone else’s fault. It’s your employer, the government, or your circumstance’s fault. You have never taken responsibility for your life. Even if all of your excuses are reasonable, then what? You’d have to change all of those forces outside of you in order to be happy, and that’s impossible. You will never, ever, ever, be able to live the type of life you want to live if you don’t accept responsibility and accountability for your own life. Nobody is going to hold your hand in this world. Trust me, you don’t want a handout. You will never appreciate something that you didn’t earn. To get what you want you have to deserve what you want, the world is not yet a crazy enough place to reward a bunch of undeserving people.
11. You’re afraid to really live – You want to do big things with your life, but you’re afraid. You’re afraid to fail, you’re afraid of being embarrassed, and you’re afraid to risk losing what you already have. People take two diverging paths in life. There’s the safe route, for those who are unable to conquer their fear, and then there’s the road less traveled, for those who are ready to face the challenge. The first road is filled with a metaphorical traffic jam of average people, and may never have an “exit”. People get stuck on this road forever because it moves in a circle; it has no destination. The second road, which appears to be the scarier one, is actually clear, the streets are unscathed, because so few people have traveled on it. It may be a bit longer, and presumably will have more twists and turns, but it has a destination, something that resembles an oasis. The journey ends with peace and satisfaction.