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Most people I know aren’t terribly happy with their lives. Deep down inside, they’re plagued by the fact that things didn’t turn out like they’d hoped.
For many years, I was one of them.
Professionally, my life was more than I had dreamed of. I launched a successful writing career at age 30, and at age 37 moved to a beautiful home in the mountains that I paid off in five years.
I had no irritating boss to answer too.
I set my own schedule.
I had no commute. No fighting traffic to get to my little cubicle in a office building in a polluted city. When blizzards swept through the foothills of the Rockies where I lived for many years, I stayed at home. My commute was short and safe — from the bedroom to my office. How cool was that?
Sometimes, on cold snowy days, I stayed in bed all day wrapped in my down comforter, writing my books and articles in total comfort while snow fell and the winds blew.
My personal life, however, was another story. I had so many problems that I felt overwhelmed. I was anxious, critical, impatient, and way too controlling. I was easily irritated and had a very short fuse. I couldn’t sleep. I was chronically depressed and suffered enormous physical pain.
In short, my personal life was a living hell.
By the time I was 45, I’d been married and divorced twice.
Needless to say, my life wasn’t working.
That’s when I started taking steps to put an end to my personal misery.
In the last blog, I shared with you some questions that helped me steer onto a sane and personally rewarding course. The questions, “What did I want more of and what did I want less of?” were daily guideposts that helped me slowly but surely create the life I had hoped for. They literally helped me re-engineer or recreate my life, building on what worked and discarding what didn’t.
No matter how old you are, there are very likely things you don’t like about yourself or the life you’ve created. These two simple questions can help you steer a new course, one day at a time. The important point of my last blog was that you set a direction and start on your journey. No excuses.
I posed a lot of other questions in my blog that helped me, too, such as “How is life working out for you? Are you achieving your goals? Are you happy? Are you relaxed? Are you surrounded by good people? Do you get the respect you deserve? Do you treat others well?”
These questions helped me focus on what I wanted more of and what I wanted less of.
The next question I had to face was, “Why was my personal life a shambles?”
Understanding the answer to this question — even a glimpse of understanding — can help you steer your life onto a better course.
At last count, there were at least a half million reasons why many of us fail to create the kind of lives we wish for.
Okay, I jest, there are a quarter of a million.
We fall in love and marry too hastily, and then find out the person we married was … well … not exactly who we thought. Or perhaps they discover the same thing about us.
We lack discipline and self-control, so we spend more than we earn or drink too much. We smoke and overeat.
We lack motivation, so we procrastinate.
We forget to pay bills on time or fail to turn projects in on time at work. We never seem to find the time to down to write that novel that could project us to instant fame.
Or we remain stuck in a dead end job and never try out those smashing new business ideas that can propel us to fame and fortune.
Bottom line: The root of many of our “failings” is that we are encumbered by emotional baggage (hang ups) from childhood.
Unfortunately, during our early years we develop insecurities and lack of self-esteem. Many of us never learn to love ourselves, which makes loving others extremely difficult. These and other issues sabotage our lives, tripping us up day after day after day.
Take a moment today and in the following days to think about the things that trip you up? Look inside yourself … be totally honest … and ask yourself, what are the habits or thoughts that sabotage your life?
Are you a procrastinator? Where’s that come from?
Are you one who can’t fulfill promises? Where’s the come from?
Are you impatient? Do you lack understanding? Is it difficult for you to love? From where do these problems arise?
You don’t need all the answers to these questions.
Even an inkling of the truth is all that’s needed to start this journey to a better you. The important thing is to be honest. No one is judging you, not even you. You’re looking for cause and effect, so you can move past the barriers that hold you back.
It may sound naive, but you can simply refuse to let your hangups hang you up. Say, "No way. I'm going to let them be an excuse from keeping me from the life I want."
Feel free to share your ideas with readers on this blog. Surely, you’ll benefit from this exercise in clarification. Moreover, many others may benefit from the honest exchange of ideas … who knows, your revelations may help others see what’s holding them back. That is, thoughts that others share will help you ferret out the truth and help you begin redesigning your life.
Next time, I’m going to begin by talking about some of the great lessons in life that have helped me save myself from myself and create a productive, fulfilling and rewarding life.
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Contributing editor Dan Chiras is a renewable energy and green homes expert who has spent a lifetime learning life’s lessons, which he shares in his popular blog, Dan Chiras on Loving Life. He’s the founder and director of The Evergreen Institute and president of Sustainable Systems Design. Contact him by visiting his website or finding him on Google+.