Hello everybody, welcome to episode 52 of Optimal Living Advice, the podcast where we take any questions you might have about the many struggles of life and get them answered for you here on the show. I’m your host, certified life coach Greg Audino.
We’ve got a long question today that tackles a big question about making a huge move and the challenges that come with it. I did this myself just over the summer, so I’m right there with this woman. It’s a good question, it’s a long question. So be patient, hear her fully, and let’s take a look…
QUESTION: “A little over a year ago I started a new job in a new state. 4 months ago I moved back to my home state from that job (which I liked) to a new job that so far I like significantly less. The reason I did this, or so I told myself, was because I was far from my family and I missed them terribly. I was also in a long distance relationship and my SO was making no moves to join me in this new location. Nowadays I hate everything and everyone on a daily basis. The resentment towards my entire family for successfully guilting me into this move back grows daily. One of the most recurrent themes I had/have come across is that, for long term deep-seated happiness, one needs to be source of their own happiness/joy and also to be more grateful. With all this anger I am now oozing, it's become very clear to me that I am not the source of my own happiness. So the question remains, how does one be the source of their own happiness and joy? I write down everyday that I'm happy, I tell myself that I'm happy and I remind myself daily of reasons to be grateful for my life. What tangible, immediately actionable steps, can I take to work towards being the source of my own joy? Clearly, willing it unto myself, is not the way.”
Then she left me a little disclaimer at the bottom which reads:
(Let's agree that I do likely need more help than one podcast episode can ever hope to provide, but I also believe that some actionable steps from you can get something good underway.)
“Hating Everyone and Everything”
I love that disclaimer because she’s basically not letting me resort to telling her to simply go into therapy and wash my hands of it. She’s making sure I do my job.
Well done. And it’s well done not only because it amuses me, but because it holds me accountable. Accountability is wonderful — it’s one of my favorite things. In fact, I like it so much, that I’m going to start my answer with it. You need to start holding yourself accountable for this move. Maybe you feel you are already, but let me tell you how I feel based on your email.
You say things like “hating everything and everyone on a daily basis,” and “your entire family successfully guilting you into this move.”
To me, that doesn’t sound like accountability at all. And I get it.
I understand the frustrations. It’s hard to not want to deflect at least some of the pain when it comes to decisions we made with lifelong implications not turning out well.
But not taking full responsibility is a mistake. As requested, I’m going to talk about tangible changes you can make as well, but you need to know that it starts with mindset. I know mindset is vague, I know you hear it a lot on this show, but it has to be considered for you especially because you have to see how you’re not really giving yourself an opportunity to like this place.
Right now, you’re fueling your negativity and letting it win. That’s only going to make this place worse if you’re placing blame on your family.
Your Relationship With Your Family
Surely, your relationship with your family is good enough if you were even able to trick yourself into thinking they alone were worth the move. That means they’re a huge presence in your life and, better yet, they WANT to be your allies.
Let them. Talk to them about your struggles, and by all means, talk to your significant other about your struggles. This is what these people are for. To me, it seems highly likely that you’ll only strengthen your relationship with them.
But the more you take your anger out on these innocent people that do indeed want to help and love you, the more you’re going to drive yourself away. They wouldn’t have wanted you to move back if they’d known you would’ve been miserable. They didn’t see this coming any more than you did, and their encouragement of you to move back was simply them looking out for their best interests, just like you were. And it was a shared interest in family love. Don’t think that’s evaporated and don’t play a part in causing it to evaporate.
Accept Making Mistakes
If you want things to get better, you have to start by accepting the bad; accepting that you made a mistake. It happens. You deal with it. You’re dealing with it right now by submitting this question and letting me squawk at you for 10 minutes.
Acknowledge your error, forgive yourself for it, for give others for it (even though they played a very limited role), and prepare for what will probably be the first sense of freedom you’ve felt since making this move.
Now that we have that out of the way, we can talk about the tangible stuff. And frankly, the tangible stuff was never going to work if the mindset wasn’t in place to begin with. It must’ve been a funny thing to piss and moan by day, but to then say you were grateful by night. Been there. It’s noble, but trying. Keep up the gratitude, though. I’m a big believer in that, and if your mind is in the right place, you’ll find yourself starting to actually believe yourself more and more when you consider what you’re grateful for each night.
Find Joy by Creating Your Ideal Environment
You’re absolutely right in that willpower is only so powerful. I’ve said that before, and I’ll say it again. Mental toughness or whatever you want to call it is a good skill to have, but for God’s sake, help yourself about by creating an environment that doesn’t cause you to be at odds with your urges every single day. That goes for everyone.
I don’t know how your day-to-day is different than it was before you moved, but it’s time to turn your attention towards all the things you liked but have since neglected. What activities did you used to do that you enjoyed? What funny things did you do at work? What responsibilities did you have? It’s easy to let these things fall by the wayside when wallowing in self-pity sounds like more fun, but extra curriculars are so important.
Frankly, you know how to solve the tangible thing better than I do. You know what you love and which of it you’re not doing. At the very least, I’d think the opportunity to finally be close to your significant other and make time with him.
You said you’ve come across certain things for for long-term, deep-seated joy and happiness. What have you learned? And how well are you representing these lessons in your daily life? What did your past happiness teach you about maybe purpose, joy, and interactions? Whatever it is that you felt was making you a happier person prior to this move, how can you get creative to make it exist in this new place?
The Value of Community
My bet is that as you ask yourself these types of questions, one thing you’re going to come across is the value of community. Yes, we need to be the source of our own happiness, but remember that we’re social creatures too, and a large part of the happiness we create for ourselves is due to the communities we choose to thrust ourselves into.
You’re isolating yourself from any sense of community now, and that won’t do.
It’s not too late, but being a more positive member of the groups you currently belong to and/or joining new groups that you feel align better with who you want to be is just as big a part of creating your joy as anything else would be.
The Only Constant…Is Change
And finally, remember that this is all fleeting. The feelings you have right now can and will change.
This move can even be reversed. Just because there was a lot of expectation you tied to it doesn’t mean you can’t go back, do what you discover is best for you, and make these 4 months but a tiny blip on the radar of life. But you won’t learn those answers if you don’t start opening yourself up to possibilities.
4 months is not a lot of time. There is still a lot to learn for better or worse. There is still a lot that you can take control of. There are benefits to this move that haven’t paid off yet, but will pay off down the road. Just as there would likely be some regrets had you stayed in your other location long term.
What comes to my mind right away is spending time with family while everyone is healthy. That’s only one part of the puzzle and people put value on different things, but if you aren’t receptive to both good and bad, your mind will be too clouded to see it from all these other angles.
You’ve got time. This is your life, you haven’t been sentenced to anything, and you can still do whatever you want. Consider this time as a learning experience: a time in which you have the ability to find joy and really get clear on what the best type of life is for you.
And there we have it, friends.
As I said, this is something I dealt with/am currently dealing with so it felt a little personal to me which I love. Sometimes I feel it’s important to remind you guys that I also struggle as well with some of the topics that are discussed. I wouldn’t be a human if i didn’t. And although I try my best to help you guys with everything, we’re all in this together and I don’t know if there’s anyone out there who really has it figured out.
Thanks for listening today, everyone. As always, we encourage you to send us in your own questions that you’d like answered on the show. You can email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ll be happy to help you out as best we can, so get those questions in. Today was a long one, so we’ll wrap it up. Thank you again, and we hope to see you in the next one. Take care everybody.