Does it feel like you’re going through life checking off items from a list of endless demands? Do you feel that you’re focusing your attention on the things that society tells us we need to have to be happy and successful? Do you yearn to go back to the ‘old’ you? If so, you’re not alone.
With personal growth comes some pain, so to speak; you may feel frustrated with not understanding the need for something new or how to go about getting it.
Sometimes, we follow a path set out for us by our well-meaning family, friends, and mentors. This probably means you haven’t paid much attention to your true self.
Then, one day you wake up and realize you’re living for others rather than yourself. Without a clear idea of all the things that make you different from everyone else, you’ll always have a sense that something is missing in your life.
If this sounds familiar, don’t worry. The silver lining is that there’s no better time to begin your journey of self-discovery than right now!
To help you get started, here are 10 ways to help you better understand what’s missing in your life so you can make the changes you need to be happy and fulfilled – take a look:
1. Have A Clear Image of Who You Are
Take a few minutes to conjure an image of yourself. A self-image is defined as the subjective perception of oneself.’ So, your image has to be based solely on your personal feelings, thoughts, and beliefs.
Sounds pretty easy, right?
Many times, the way we perceive ourselves is linked to how others see us. We may place so much value into what our family and friends, or coworkers, think of us that we often lose sight of who we really are.
Do you really like the latest song or movie? Or are you just agreeing to fit in with the crowd? Do you truly want to study business? Are you leading for how you think the company wants or how you believe it so? OR are you doing it to please someone else or to not stand out?
So, the first step in understanding what’s missing in your life is to make a list of the things that matter to you or the person you aspire to be. Be hones with yourself to get true answers.
2. Assess Your Skills
Now that you’re a step closer to figuring out who you are, it’s time to take inventory of your skills. Yet, to do that, you have to know your likes and dislikes, weaknesses, and strengths.
Everyone has something they’re good at and enjoy doing. What’s yours?
Could it be renovating homes? Fixing cars? Baking? Gardening? Knitting? Painting? Dancing?
In work and business, are you the strategist or goal planner? The idea generator or innovator? Great at building relationships and inspiring others? Skilled in numbers and cost-saving?
Once you identify your skills, you can start thinking about how to integrate them into your personal and professional life. Even if your job isn’t directly related to any of your skills, you can still make use of them in your workplace.
The more you apply these skills, the more confident you’ll be. And the more confident you’ll be, the better you’ll be at looking inward to see what could also be missing in your life.
3. Explore Your Passions
Doing the things you feel strongly about helps give your life meaning and purpose. It fills you with a sense of hope and makes you feel that you’re making a difference.
The problem is that following your passion isn’t as easy as people make it out to be. Yet, it’s worth the try.
If you feel something is missing from your life, we suggest you take the time to think about what you love to do. Then, try to incorporate as many of them as you can into your life.
Bit by bit, you’ll start to feel motivated to keep going even during challenging times.
You’ll also have a more positive outlook, which will make you more likely to succeed at whatever you put your mind to.
4. Try New Things
Did you write down your passions only to discover you only like a couple of them? That’s fine.
It’s pretty common for people to not know immediately what they’re passionate about doing in their lives. The reason for this is that they’re so preoccupied with taking care of everyone else and making sure everyone’s needs are met that they forget their own needs.
The best way to add new interests to your life to explore new things, which are good for you emotionally – this puts more focus on positives versus negatives. Not to sugarcoat it but it might be a tad intimidating at first.
Yet, if you start small, you’ll soon realize that you’re a force to be reckoned with. Small steps lead to bigger changes. Seeing your progress and achievements will leave you feeling proud of your accomplishments and what you’ve gone through. which will enhance your self-esteem and confidence.
Trying new things is also a great way to recharge, release negative thoughts, and make yourself happier.
5. Build A Strong Support System
You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with. So, you must surround yourself with friends who have a positive influence on your life.
They should encourage and motivate you to live a better life. Surrounding yourself with good people gives you an outlet to voice your fears and concerns.
Go network more, both internally and outside of your department or organization. Join a professional association, volunteer, get a mentor, hire a coach.
You know they’ll support you without being judgmental or critical. They may even help you see things in a different light so that you’re able to gauge what’s missing in your life and what you can do to get it.
6. Check-In With Your Self Often
Schedule some me-time once a week. Look at how you’re spending your time and who you’re hanging out with. How many hours did you spend working this week as opposed to scrolling through social media?
Having that time with your thoughts is a great technique to help you evaluate your goals. It’s also an opportunity to take in what you’ve accomplished and plan for the week ahead.
Plus, taking time to reflect can lead to a higher self-awareness and personal growth. You can always correct and reestablish new goals and routines when you know yourself.
7. Embrace All of Your Emotions
Yes, even your dark feelings you try to hide. We know you can’t be happy all the time. No one can; it’s physically impossible.
Yet, what you can be is fulfilled and grateful.
However, to be able to truly enjoy these emotions, you also have to embrace your negative ones as well. Running from negative emotions and memories only leads to them coming back again and again; experiencing the resulting emotions will how who’s boss – you are in charge – and lessens their impact. Having that duality is part of being alive.
After all, the only way you can truly appreciate the good times is having to go through some bad times. They act as your reference points and help you recognize what’s present in your life as well as what’s missing from it.
8. Listen To Your Inner Voice
We’re constantly being bombarded with advice, opinions, and other people’s thoughts on all kinds of subjects. Even our loved ones tell us how we should do this or feel about that.
Even though they have good intentions, the result can be devastating for us. It drives us farther apart from our inner voice, drowning out our inner voice.
Yet, your inner voice is wiser than you give it credit for. But you have to build a strong connection to your inner world first before you can get through.
Another problem we face with our inner voice is that it sometimes gives us advice we don’t want to hear.
Say, for example, you’re a lawyer who works ridiculous hours for money and prestige. But your inner voice keeps reminding you that your heart isn’t in it.
Your true nature is helping others find their path to self-discovery. But you know it takes a long time to ‘make it’ as a coach or motivational speaker. So, you ignore your inner voice and stay in your soul-sucking job.
But, after a while, you’ll start to feel something nag at you from the inside. That’s your inner voice constantly reminding you of what’s missing in your life: excitement, empathy and compassion.
9. Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Getting your mind to focus on the present is one of the most difficult tasks you can do. Yet, it’s also one of the most rewarding ways to understand what’s missing in your life.
Otherwise, without mastering the present, you’ll be stuck in a perpetual loop of always being on the hunt for the next big thing.
Practicing mindfulness meditation is a great way to teach yourself to be present in the moment. It also has the added benefit of reducing stress and anxiety, lowering blood pressure, and filling you with a sense of gratitude for the life you’re living. Start small to get started, say 2 minutes, and experience your surroundings to get grounded.
Another way you can train yourself to stay present is to ask yourself these four questions. Pick random times during your day and think about these questions. How would your answer be different in the morning than later in the day?
- Where am I?
- Where has my mind taken me?
- What am I doing this minute?
- Am I breathing fully?
Keeping a journal is a great way to capture your thoughts, emotions, experiences so you make sense of them, and keeps you in the present.
10. Know What You Don’t Want
We’re often so busy searching for the things we want in life that we forget to ask ourselves one simple question: what don’t I want?
There’s no denying that knowing what you want, creating plans, and setting goals are key motivators to living a successful life.
Yet, there’s also power in knowing what you don’t want out of life. Identify the things that drain you mentally and emotionally and steer clear away (we usually always know these).
Reframe the ‘what I don’t want to “what I do want’ by using either “I will…” or, better, “I choose to…”
It’s important to note that changing behaviors and mindset takes practice as some things are not easy to walk away from. Toxic relationships, bad advice, a dead-end job, and high-calorie carbs are just a few examples on the list.
If you allow your mind to be, you will come up with the answers you seek as they are there; give yourself time to practice your new-found skill so they become regular habits.
The good news is that once you avoid these pitfalls, you can recognize what’s missing from your life. Then, you can set clear goals to help you fill in the gaps and put you on the path to living a happier, more fulfilling life.
If you’re struggling in your life or career, reach out to learn more. You don’t have to!