Do you ever get that nagging feeling – the one where you think “something is missing in my life” and that feeling just won’t go away? Here’s an unusual answer to the question “what’s missing in my life?” and steps to bring your life more purpose.
How can you be happy if you don’t know yourself?
That’s a question I ask in my free eBook Awake — and I’m not the only one who sees the connection.
When you have that deep down feeling that something is missing in your life, there’s a chance it’s… you.
You’re not here to be a mindless robot. You’re here to be you.
And when you aren’t being true to yourself (or if you don’t even really know who you are), then you’re not living up to your full potential.
And where does that lead?
Definitely not happiness.
Please welcome the very insightful Lisa Henriksson, author of I Was Supposed to be Happy. She’s here to share a few key ways you can tap into your own potential to find that oh-so-elusive feeling of enough.
To the outside world, I had every reason to be happy. I was beautiful, successful, had a lot of friends and a perfect family.
And yet, it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t happy.
Like so many of us, I grew up with the conviction that my studies, my career, and my perfect future family would make me happy. I gave my all to succeed in every area of life and I made sure to be the best daughter, the best girlfriend and the best mom I could possibly be.
I never paused to ask myself if I was following my own deep desires. I lived more like a robot, trying hard to live up to the programming of my own and others’ expectations.
Eventually, this nagging feeling caught up with me – something just felt off.
It led me on a long journey to discover (and re-discover) what’s really true for me. And that became my key to happiness. My happiness no longer depends on having the perfect job or the perfect career.
When I don’t focus all of my energy on trying to get it “right” the possibilities multiply.
What if you start asking yourself what’s true for you beyond what your family taught you, beyond the values and rules of your culture, beyond any “universal truth?” What if you would start trusting in what you know (and have always known)? What would your life be like then?
Here are five keys I share in my seminars that helped me discover the real me and get out of playing the person others wanted me to be:
1. Acknowledge you’re aware of greater possibilities
My entire life I made myself so wrong for often wanting more than I had, for feeling nothing was ever enough. Why couldn’t I just be content?
Then I read this quote from Dr. Dain Heer: “Have you ever felt dissatisfied? Do you always want more and do you know that it’s possible? What if that wasn’t a wrongness? What if that ache of dissatisfaction is a gift and capacity? What if that is what drives your life forward?”
I read those words again and again. It hit me that the urge for more in my life is actually a sense of greater possibilities; it’s what sparks change and drives me forward! It’s not a bad thing. And it doesn’t mean I’m not deeply grateful for everything that is here now.
- What if it is ok that I am not satisfied with what others long for even though it feels like I am supposed to be happy with what I already have?
- What longing and desire do I have that I have not acknowledged yet?
- What would happen if I started to look at what is true for me and my desires and longings beyond everyone else’s ideals and ideas of right and wrong?
2. Find out what is true for YOU!
Many of us learn early in life not to listen to ourselves, to what our body signals, and to what we intuitively know is true and works for us. When you say “something is missing in my life” – maybe part of what’s missing is understanding what’s important to you.
Society and parents place expectations on us in spoken and unspoken ways, and we pick up on all of them, consciously or not.
As children, we learn to follow norms for right or wrong behavior, right or wrong appearance, right or wrong opinions. It goes on. We’re encouraged to copy the adults who are raising us, and if we choose to go against what’s expected of us, we face the consequences—disapproval, worry, less attention, and even exclusion.
As a result, we learn to accept points of view that are not our own. To different degrees, this limits us and often reduces our ability to live life to the fullest and enjoy the unique being each of us truly is!
With each one, without even thinking about it, she’s eaten the style of eggs they preferred. Scrambled, fried, poached, egg whites only—what they ate for breakfast, she ate for breakfast. She can’t answer the question, because she has no idea what type of eggs she likes. So she cooks them all, until she discovers she absolutely loves eggs Benedict.
But what if she’d never taken the time to ask herself what she liked? She may never have found out what she loved. So get curious.
- Is this point of view mine, or did I buy into it somewhere along the line?
- Am I choosing what is true for me, or what everyone else is choosing?
- (Have you ever asked yourself what “kind of eggs” you really like?)
3. Don’t be afraid of CHANGE!
Choosing to change something—your thinking, your life, the world—doesn’t have to mean you go from bad to good, from wrong to right. When you step out of this polarized way of looking at your life and no longer choose from judgment, you open up a space where you have greater choice.
When there’s no charge on whether you go this way or that way, you’ll find that your options multiply! Many people don’t move forward with change because they’re afraid to make the wrong choice. I have an encouraging message: You can choose again!
- What can I choose today that I was not willing to choose yesterday?
- What else is possible for me that I have not yet acknowledged?
4. Choose what makes you HAPPY!
What if it’s okay to choose what makes you light and fills you with energy, happiness, and joy? To some it might sound incredibly self-centered to seek your own happiness—egotistical even. That’s not necessarily the case.
Actually, a number of surveys show that unhappy people are much more self-centered. They more often withdraw, worry, and show hostile behavior.
Happy people, on the other hand, are more social, flexible, creative, and capable of dealing with complex and difficult situations in their everyday lives. Happy people are also more loving, helpful, and forgiving. That doesn’t sound very self-centered, does it?
So if happy choices are the “something missing in my life” – the questions below can be powerful.
- What can I choose today that would give me more of me?
- What would be fun for me today?
- What is it that I truly long for?
5. Surround yourself with people who LIKE YOU, just the way you are!
Along this journey, I’ve discovered that some of the people I used to call friends constantly judged me and made me wrong. Today I choose to hang with people who aren’t interested in making me wrong or changing me. When we say “something is missing in my life” – it can also mean people who encourage us and bring out the best in our journey.
This doesn’t mean I want to surround myself with yes-men (or yes-women) or people who will never challenge my point of view. That would quickly become very boring. But there are different ways to go about it.
So who else out there is longing for a rich life filled with joy, free from judgments of right and wrong?
- Who else can I include in my life that will make it even more exciting and fun to live?
Lisa Henriksson, author of I Was Supposed to Be Happy, shares her own journey to help others find their true choice and happiness. Co-founder of Wisdom Stockholm, an Access Consciousness® Certified Facilitator, and the founder and CEO of the Yoga studios Egen tid, Henriksson finds pure joy in aiding others to grow and blossom. Henriksson travels the world coaching and facilitating individuals and groups inviting others to a new reality. With Egen tid, Henriksson has opened up new possibilities for expectant women and today the single studio begun 10 years ago has expanded into a flourishing business in numerous health centers, fitness locations, and online. Follow @lisahhappy and on Facebook.
More Articles on Positive and Nourished Living:
- How to Benefit from Deep Breathing Exercises
- The Benefits of Laughter
- How to Reduce Stress Hormones
- 4 Amino Acids that Improve Your Mood and Your Energy
- Finding Self Worth
Elizabeth is the founder and creative director at The Nourished Life. Her mission is to help people find a more balanced (less stressful!) approach to living a happy, healthy life. Read more about Elizabeth here.