Does your life look good on paper but it doesn’t feel as good as it should? If so, this is for you!
There are five reasons you might look at your life and think “I should feel happier — what gives?”
1. You aren’t honest about what you truly want
Is the life you have the one you genuinely want? Or does society tell you that you should want it? For example, society tells us we should chase money, success, status, and power. And if you’re a woman, we’re told we should chase relationships, families and motherhood, and a house in the suburbs.
Consider these questions: did you build your life by following your intuition and desires? Or did you build your life by doing what you thought you should do? In a perfect world, what would your life look like? Does it look like the life you have now, or something different?
If your answer is “I don’t know,” that’s okay. But check in with yourself to see if “I don’t know” is your knee-jerk reaction because you do know what you want and you’re afraid of disrupting your current life to go after it.
Other times, this question is difficult to answer because we’ve been doing what we should do for so long, our true desires become muffled. It’s kind of like if you stop going to the gym, your muscles shrink over time. If you don’t often tune into your desires, you get out of practice.
Can you remember a time where you desired something and followed the spark? What did that feel like? Once you’ve identified that feeling, start looking for things that make you feel that way!
2. You don’t prioritize pleasure and joy
Is making time to enjoy your life the last thing on your to-do list every day? If so, you’re not alone. It’s so easy to get caught up in the demands of life that taking time for yourself gets pushed to the back burner.
What activities make you feel excited to be alive? Maybe it’s reading romance novels, going on long walks, or dancing to your favorite songs. Whatever activities you love, start building them into your daily routine just like you would pencil in cleaning your toilets or going grocery shopping. Having fun is just as important (if not more) than your have-to-do’s.
Joy isn’t something that’s “nice to have,” it’s a necessity for a happy and fulfilled life. Don’t be afraid to prioritize it through rest, hobbies, traveling, or anything else that you get enjoyment from.
3. You’re overly focused on what you don’t have
It’s a tale as old as time – the grass is greener on the other side. It’s a lot easier for us to put off our happiness by thinking it’s something we can achieve later than it is to commit to creating happiness for ourselves now.
Perfectionism is a contributing factor to this because many of us subconsciously believe that happiness is attained when we have arrived at our dream life. That’s a sneaky way to say “I will be happy once things are perfect.” This leads us to hyper-focusing on the things that are missing from our lives.
What would it look like if you started to appreciate the things that you have right now? What’s the last thing that made you feel genuine appreciation and gratitude? How did that emotion feel in your body? What are things in your current reality that make you feel that same way?
When you identify what naturally elicits appreciation and gratitude, it makes it easier to go out of your way to notice those feelings when they’re happening. Over time, your brain will gravitate towards this instead of focusing on lack. No gratitude journaling required!
4. You subconsciously choose safety over growth
The brain’s job is to keep you safe and alive. And while that’s helpful because you can’t live your best life if you’re dead, safety is often in direct opposition with you crushing your goals.
Most things in life that are worthwhile doing require some sort of emotional risk. To your primal, safety-loving brain, that is the equivalent of diving straight into a shark feeding frenzy.
When in reality, you’re being put on the spot as you interview for your dream job, turning your candle-making hobby into a business, or challenging yourself to work out and eat healthier.
Your brain will give you excuses like “this isn’t the right time for this,” or “this won’t work,” to keep you away from that emotional exposure or discomfort. If you don’t intentionally question and shift those thoughts, you will make decisions that support safety, not growth.
Sure, maybe you’ll fail and it won’t work.
If you don’t like a thought your brain is giving you, meaning it makes you feel like crap or it stops you from doing what you truly want, question it and choose a new thought.
What else could be true? Could everything work out in your favor? Is it possible things could be challenging but you’ll still put in the work and reach your dream? Could you “fail” but get directed to something even better?
Those are possible outcomes, too. Our brains usually like to project our fears and convince us our worst-case scenarios are what will most likely happen – don’t let it!
5. Your inner critic steals the show
Most women I’ve worked with in my life coaching practice have shameful or critical self-talk. This typically stems from having a parent that was critical or shamed you for making mistakes.
It can also stem from the voice of society, as women are often criticized no matter what they do. For example, if you wear make-up you’re trying too hard but if you don’t, you’re letting yourself go. Or if you are career-oriented you’re cold, but if you prioritize a romantic relationship you’re settling.
For my clients this shows up in everyday life as second-guessing their decisions, not allowing themselves to make mistakes, and setting impossibly high standards and shaming themselves when they don’t meet them.
It doesn’t matter what you have achieved or accomplished in your life, if your inner critic is in the driver’s seat, it makes you feel like nothing you do is good enough. It’s also a huge energy suck!
If your life doesn’t feel good, don’t panic! It doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong. It’s simply a sign that something is misaligned and needs attention. Tapping into your desires (and following them!), prioritizing joy, focusing on the good things you have, choosing growth opportunities, and creating kinder self-talk can all help you live your best life.