Dispelling the Myth of Limitation and Living On Purpose?
Everywhere we are bombarded with information about how to have the life of our dreams. Switch on the television and you will see make-overs of your body, wardrobe, décor, garden and ultimately your life. But how permanent is the initial flurry of excitement or positive well-being that results from such cosmetic changes? What if there is still a yearning to make sense of your life and create ways to live meaningfully and purposefully? What do we have to do to get in touch with what is really important to us and design a life that is enriching and valuable?
Many people feel stuck? Others, finding it hard to shake a sense of disquiet develop symptoms of anxiety and depression or highly self-destructive behaviours like self-mutilation, eating disorders or withdrawal from life itself. Many traditional psychotherapies focus on alleviating symptoms, somehow believing that once the individual returns to ‘normal’ they will be better. However, what if the presenting problem was a blessing in disguise? What if identifying the language behind your presenting problems was the key to determine what is really important to you, what you value, what you dream of and what is standing in the way?
From a young age, I began questioning why people do what they do and how it is that some people seem to have everything going for them whilst others don’t. Some people seem to struggle, repeat the same patterns over and over again, attract difficult relationships or situations. I wanted to know what the difference was between these people?
After years of working with hundreds of people from all walks of life who want to live a better life, I believe the difference lies in our capacity to identify and remove the myths that influence how we live our lives. I call those myths – unquestioned assumptions – socially and culturally determined influences that say we should, must and ought to do certain things – even if it causes us conflict! The key myth is therefore the myth of limitation – the unquestioned belief that we must in some sense conform to what others expect of us – regardless of our values or dreams.
There are enormous pressures on us to do certain things, achieve certain ideals and have certain things if we are allegedly to have a life that society says is successful. However, these socially determined influences don’t necessarily fit us all and yet when we question them, we feel uncomfortable, different from the crowd, criticised or woefully inadequate. We might, of course, believe we do want many of the things that others have – and yet somehow they seem beyond our grasp!
There may be many reasons for this – finding out what is important to you as the unique individual you are – and the lifestyle you want to create – is a personal affair and requires courage and dedication –particularly if it doesn’t always align with others’ expectations of what you should be doing.
Personal development programmes or psychological counselling can help you determine your direction, look at your problems as creative signals of what is not working in your life and find ways to live a successful life with ease and purpose.
I know it is possible to have rewarding relationships, a successful career or business – one that excites and develops your natural talents without burnout or overwhelm – plus time for creativity and adventure. However, when we see others create this with seeming ease, it is not without deliberate choice, action and consistent questioning of what is important and where they are going.
Enormous rewards that can be gained when we see our lives as a creative pursuit and design it with precision and meaning. Many people find it difficult to maintain the balance between work and the rest of their lives. They consistently feel torn and, for many, despite tremendous achievements in society’s terms, are unhappy. It’s not enough to earn lots of money and later choose how to integrate more balance. We have to ask ‘What do I really want my life to be about and how can I go about achieving it?’
Everyone’s answer will be unique and many fearing asking it knowing at some level that once they utter it, they will begin on a path that means change. But to deny the yearning to have, do and be more, then we will only be left with the pain of regret. It is therefore essential to identify where your values lie and what you really want from this precious currency called YOUR LIVES?
Philosophy has something to offer here – why do people do certain things and what is life all about – beyond day to day existence and achievement? It was my questioning that led me to study existential psychology and it resonated with my belief that we are 100% responsible for our own experiences. That means everything that happens to us. You alone are responsible for your experiences. This doesn’t mean that what happens to you is 100% within your power. However, you do have choice of how to respond to events, and learning and applying this, at a very deep level, empowers you to become the author of your own life.
Often we deny that we have choice, instead blaming others for our predicament or limited options. Alternatively, we find it difficult to access the full range of options available to us.
Ask yourself these questions to get yourself started on a new road:
- What do I really want to do with my life?
- What would I do if money was no object?
- How would I like to be remembered?
- What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail?
- What if I was destined to succeed?
- What is working my life and what is not?
- What can I do now to begin to change?
Simply put, one of the biggest myths that stand in the way of us living an extraordinary life is the Myth of Limitation. The unquestioned assumption that we can’t achieve certain things because we don’t have enough money, intelligence, contacts, ideas or simply ‘that sort of success is for someone else’. It is therefore essential that you identify and remove the myth of limitation in your life. You may need professional counselling or coaching or to sign up for a personal development programme. Whatever it takes, do it!
Remember, you only have one life – it’s not really split into work life, home life and social life. Tweaking different aspects by making changes without first identifying your core values and aspirations will not produce lasting change in your life. Once you find out what is really important to you, what you really want to do with your life and the blocks to achieving it, you can go on to create a great life, with everything you do infused with values important to you. So, despite how challenging your current situation is, it might just be a gift – the very thing that brings you to the place where you change the script.
I have invested hours in my own counselling to work through my own blocks. This investment has been invaluable and I encourage you to consider doing the same. See counselling as a tutorial in the art of living rather than a quick fix to overcoming your current difficulties. Don’t leave your life to chance.
Decide now to design a life that matters!