One part of our education as human beings take the form of little mottoes that may help us deal with stressful situations if we encounter them. Examples of these are “stop, drop and roll” and “don’t let the sun set on an argument” – both of which can help us deal with the problems facing us while we’re unable to think clearly.
Dealing with the “big picture” however, is a lot more complicated. Self-reflection takes a lot of mental effort, but without it, we will tend to continue doing tomorrow exactly what we did yesterday, even when we know that this will not make us happy or help us grow. Without finding the courage to take a hard look at our life situation, people often get stuck in relationships, friendships and entire careers that do not satisfy them. For this reason, it’s worthwhile to stop, listen and reassess our choices and their results from time to time.
Signs that It’s Time for Another Look
- If you feel that days, events and opportunities just seem to fly right past at you, it might be time to slow down or take this chance to re-evaluate what your priorities should be.
- If life’s pressures are actively forcing you to live unhealthily, whether mentally or physically, remember that opportunities come and go, but poor health tends to stay around longer than we’d like. If work is harming you by not allowing you time for the occasional holiday or to do the things that help you de-stress, you should either find ways to make more time or drop the activities that are causing you harm.
- It’s normal to feel a little drained at the end of a day, but if you’re constantly waking up without any feeling of motivation at all, something is eating up your mental and emotional energy. This may be a purely physical problem, such as a nutritional deficiency but it’s certainly not something you can allow to continue for months.
Learning to Face up to Challenges
Changing the situation we find ourselves in will usually require some effort. Some tough decisions have to be made, and some of these will have an effect on those close to us. It’s easier to fall into harmful patterns than it is to break them. If your bedtime routine involves taking a pill to get to sleep, only to get through the next day with the aid of caffeine, it’s clear that something is wrong. Even knowing this though doesn’t mean that the route to fixing the cycle is obvious.
These kinds of changes often involve making a sacrifice of some sort. The only way to do this rationally is to take a kind of personal inventory, perhaps by listing the things you can’t live with anymore next to those you don’t want to live without. Although involving another person in this as a kind of sounding board can be useful, this process is intensely personal. Many people get stuck in a basically unbearable position due to mistaking other people’s desires for their own.
The Benefits of Reassessing Our Lives from Time to Time
This little exercise is not always as easy as it would seem, and can often leave us feeling uncomfortable. This does not mean that it should be neglected since the cost of doing so once a year, before making major decisions or whenever we feel unfulfilled in our life situation is far less than continuing down a path we’re not truly comfortable with. If, after some reflection, you are not yet clear about exactly where you find yourself and where you’d like to go, consulting a counselor is far from a bad idea.