How to deal with your life crisis
Questioning where you are in life is no longer specific to age, as our life coach explains.Sophia Fromell July 3, 2016
Have you ever woken up and suddenly realised you had more questions than answers? Are you asking yourself: Where am I going with my life? Why am I doing this? Is this really what life is all about? If so, you are probably having a life crisis.
A life crisis is a period where you start to question yourself and your surroundings. This is an important part of your life as it usually shows you that you have reached a crossroad, which means it is time for you to make a drastic life change.
During this time, you are likely to be dissatisfied with one or more parts of your life such as your relationships, career, social life and family.
The term ‘life crisis’ carries such negative connotations, and it shouldn't, as it really isn’t a bad thing to be dissatisfied with your life.
A life crisis has been given a bad image due to how the media portrays a mid-life crisis. There is a perception, particularly in Hollywood, that a mid-life crisis is when a grown man buys a Lamborghini then leaves his perfect wife and family to be with a much younger and prettier woman. A life crisis, however, can happen at any point in your life and it signifies a time for change.
Do not confuse being dissatisfied with being ungrateful. We should be grateful and happy for everything that we already have. Actually, being grateful and practicing gratitude everyday is proven to not only help us realise what we have, but it also strengthens relationships, reduces stress, makes us happier and puts situations into perspective.
Being dissatisfied, on the other hand, means that while we may be happy with what we have and who we are, we are realising that we want more and this is a great way to grow.
Think back to the old telephones and the first mobiles, it was someone’s dissatisfaction with them that led to smart phones, as we know them today. Think back to the old modes of transport, it was someone’s dissatisfaction with what was available that led to the big jet planes that we consider a norm today.
Do not let people tell you that you have no right to be unhappy.
Some of the following symptoms are indications that you could be experiencing a life crisis:
- You start comparing yourself to some of your more successful friends or colleagues
- You are more self-conscious and increasingly regretful for things you may not have done
- You feel disappointment with your life, people, and things that have provided fulfillment and happiness for a long time
- You actively think about doing something completely different
- You question decisions that you made in the past
- You question yourself/feel confused about your identity or the purpose of your life
- You are increasingly irritable or experiencing persistent sadness
- You are consuming more alcohol or food, or developing other compulsions
While this is not a definitive list, the main element of a life crisis is a strong desire to reassess your current situation; that is why it is more accurate to associate a life crisis to a psychological experience other than a chronological event (‘midlife crisis’).
If you are undergoing a life crisis at the moment, the most important thing for you to do is to deal with the underlying emotions and consider your other options. This is a period of self-reflection, so take the time to constructively think of what you have achieved so far in your life and what you would like to do next.
If you think that it is a career change you want, draw a clear map of what you actually want your new career to look like and how you plan on getting there. Ask yourself the following:
- What do I feel I should have done by this time in my life? Is this a realistic goal?
- Is there something more important and fulfilling that I want to focus on now?
- What do I really want more of in my life?
- Where do I want to be in five years from now?
Use this period to reinvent and better yourself. Consult with those around you who you trust and who you know have your best interest at heart. However, do not let people tell you that you have no right to be unhappy.
It is perfectly normal to re-assess your priorities in life, to question yourself and your life's purpose. It's perfectly normal to admit that you do not know who you are and to look for answers in your life.
As Bill Gove, the father of professional speaking, once said: "If I want to be free, I've got to be me. Not the me I think you think I should be. Not the me I think my wife thinks I should be. Not the me I think my kids think I should be. If I want to be free, I've got to be me."
Sophia Fromell is a qualified executive coach, with a background in wealth and investment banking. Go to ithaca-life.com for more.