The key to surviving the times of our lives is being able to learn from life’s valuable lessons. Whether it’s having to deal with life-changing events, being plunged into a dark night of the soul, or riding through those stages in life where everyone else seems to have it all together and you’re left wondering why you feel like you’ve hit an invisible brick wall. Your sense of purpose, direction and exuberance for life missing, nowhere to be seen.
These times can be painful and confusing if you don’t know how to move through them with self-awareness.
How Amber Found A New Lease On Life By Looking Inward, Not Outward
[A Case Study]
Amber* (not her real name) had a great job and was married with one child. On the outside everything looked good. She had ticked off just about every goal she’d set for herself. In her 20s she travelled the world and in her 30s met her husband and focused on building an impressive career. Amber loved being a Mum. Yet as she started to approach her late 40s, she started to feel empty inside and lonely in her marriage. Having achieved most of the things she had wanted in life, she couldn’t work out why she felt so flat. Things that used to excite and inspire her had lost their appeal. She felt directionless and nothing ever seemed to be enough.
Amber had become so fused with her negative, lacklustre feelings she couldn’t see a way forward. It felt like these feelings would last for her entire life. When you’re feeling flat, anxious or depressed your brain starts to normalise things after a while. It becomes your reality. You get stuck in a closed thinking loop.
You can’t solve a problem from your current level of awareness. You need to get fresh insights and guidance.
The Turning Point
What brought things to a head for Amber was the big gap left in her social life when some of her closest friends moved overseas. Making her more aware of how down and empty she felt. Things started to change when Amber realised she couldn’t sort this out on her own and came to see me to get some insights into what was going on and some practical strategies to fix it.
It was time for Amber to develop a more intimate relationship with herself rather than relying on excitement and other people in order to experience vitality and aliveness. Being constantly busy turned out to be a subconscious strategy for not having to deal with painful issues from her past. Always having friends around had helped fill an inner void.
When it comes to our personal growth, at certain times in our lives we get presented with opportunities to become more self-aware. Amber chose to learn from her pain rather than have to deal with these issues further down the track. She finally understood what was making her feel unhappy and unfulfilled regardless of what she did or achieved. It was about learning to become more comfortable and relaxed inside herself by focusing inward instead of always looking outward. This included committing to self-nurturing routines. Prioritising emotional nourishment rather than constantly looking for external stimulation and distractions.
If you’ve hit a crisis point or don’t know why you’re feeling empty, hopeless or powerless inside, it’s actually an important turning point if you decide to learn from it. But when you don’t, the lessons and patterns keep turning up until you do. You’ll just keep repeating the same old patterns that everyone else can see, except you.
5 Steps To Surviving The Painful Times Of Our Lives
- Acknowledge you need help and support. It’s a sign of strength, not weakness. Don’t isolate yourself.
- Talk to someone to get new insights into what you’re going through and practical steps to deal with it.
- Accept the choices you’ve made to date. Owning your choices will re-empower you.
- Learn how to connect with your centre and be able to just sit with yourself and where you’re at in non-judgement and self-empathy.
- Establish regular daily and weekly routines that nourish and support you physically, emotionally and spiritually.
We all have to deal with different stages in life. For some, the best time in life is in high school. For late bloomers, it’s breaking out of high school, academia, and stereotypes we are supposed to live up to that life really begins. Life is a series of cycles that sometimes involve unexpected twists and turns. No one escapes this. It’s part of being human. It’s about staying focused on the unique journey that you’re on and choosing to learn from life’s valuable lessons along the way. That’s what makes you stronger, wiser and more enriched inside.
* All identifying features have been removed from this case study.