Ask Elaine: I Finally Made Big Changes, But I Feel More Uncertain Than Ever

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Hi Elaine: I’ve made some big changes over the past few years that I thought would bring me closer to the life I wanted, but I still feel unhappy and dissatisfied. In early 2020, before the world shut down, I decided to stop attending the church I grew up in. In 2021, I took the job I had for a decade part-time to focus on my business and finally quit completely a month ago, starting my career in entrepreneurship full-time. I convinced myself that I needed to make these changes to feel happier, but I feel more disconnected and uncertain than ever.

I often wonder if I should leave my home state of Arkansas – something I considered even before the aforementioned big changes, but I don’t know if I’m trying to run away or if a move is worth it. worth considering. I have literally lived within a 45 mile radius all my life.

In some ways, I like staying here because I’m very proud of my community and want to do what I can to improve it. In other ways, I feel like a change of environment might be what I need. To sum it up, I am someone who has recently pivoted in a direction of my choosing, but I still feel like something is missing. How do I know if another external shift is needed or if I just need to shift my mindset and be grateful for the pivots I’ve made so far?

– Rotated, but now what

Rotated, but now what: Have you ever heard the saying: “Wherever you go, there you are?” It looks like it might apply here. Just because we make external, frustrating changes doesn’t mean they’ll produce the results we want, especially not right away. I firmly believe that the most meaningful and lasting change happens from the inside out. It is not necessarily the big sweeping shifts in our outer reality that usher in the lasting change we seek. Real change happens over time in every moment, day after day, choice after choice.

However, external changes can sometimes support internal changes. The question really is, how environmental is what you feel? I don’t know and neither do you until you do further questioning.

Relieve the pressure of a potential move and stop judging other changes you’ve made recently. Detach yourself from trying to answer the question of whether you are going or staying and prioritize learning more about where you are right now.

Let’s explore the root of your unhappiness, because it’s harder to understand what would make you happy without understanding the depth and complexity of what’s contributing to your unhappiness. When you really sit inside your dissatisfaction with life, what is causing it all?

Have a question for Elaine? Submit it here.

You mentioned that you made all these changes to get closer to the life you want. I would like to know more about this life that you imagine. Can you describe it? Did you write it? If so, what are the gaps between where you are and where you want to be? Be really specific. It can help illuminate the deficits in your current lifestyle and guide you toward the most impactful changes.

It’s worth considering that some of the dissatisfaction you feel could be the result of isolation. Starting a business is lonely. Doing it in a pandemic is even lonelier. On top of that, you’ve moved away from some important sources of community. As dysfunctional as families and church colleagues sometimes are, they provide a sense of familiarity that can become small anchors in our lives (for better or for worse). Without a strong sense of community, it’s easy to feel detached. If moving away from these communities was the healthiest decision for you, what other places can you tap into that fit the direction you want to go? Look for them.

Also, commit to discovering what makes you feel good each day, knowing that this may require other changes, such as adjustments to your diet, more time with good friends, and perhaps breaking patterns. thoughts that keep you stuck. It may also require moving away from places and people that reinforce the mindset you seek to leave behind.

In the meantime, congratulations on taking great and courageous leaps of faith that some people live for years and never live. Just because you don’t like where you landed doesn’t mean these changes are mistakes. Avoid viewing happiness as a destination. Happiness is often fleeting and there are so many factors that play into our feelings, and many are beyond our control. But introducing and reinforcing a renewed mindset with daily positive self-talk practices can improve your reality, no matter where you live. And I highly recommend therapy to help you deal with so many changes at once and to rule out any mental health issues that may be contributing to your lasting discomfort.

Remember: no matter what other people’s lives look like on the outside, we all seek to be happy as we go. Give yourself permission and the patience to do the same.

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