My Life Sucks – Now What Do I Do?

My Life SucksDo any of these sound like you?

  • I’m in a bad relationship.
  • I can’t find a partner.
  • My job sucks.
  • I can’t find a job.
  • My boss doesn’t care about me.
  • My family/friends don’t support me emotionally.
  • I don’t know what to do with my life.
  • My life sucks.

I hear many of these messages from readers.  Basically, you’ve made a series of decisions that have left you in a place you don’t like and it sucks.  Now what?

In a nutshell, make a series of new decisions, preferably ones that challenge and scare you and see where that leads you.  I urge you to make choices that challenge and scare you because if you’re doing things that are comfortable for you, you’re not growing.  And if you’re not growing, you’re being the same person making the same choices that got you into the mess you’re in.

It’s time to become someone new in order to create a new life for yourself.

Keep doing what you've always done

From personal experience, I know how my environment (people, situations) seems to magically change when I change myself.  It’s weird but true.

Take a Self-Assessment

What beliefs about yourself, other people and the world do you have that reinforce the patterns that you so desperately want to escape?

Do you even realize that you keep repeating the same patterns?

Make a list of all the things you believe about yourself.  Write down all the good, bad and indifferent things you can think of.

When you’re done, read each item and ask yourself if it’s true.  If you think it is, what evidence do you have?  If someone else looked at the evidence, would they interpret it the same way?

Now think about how patterns in your life seem to repeat themselves.  This can be with regard to relationships, your weight/body, jobs, challenges you’ve taken on – anything.  What seems to be the usual course of events?

How can you relate your patterns to the beliefs you hold about yourself?  It’s a cause and effect relationship.  If you hold a certain belief, you’ll make choices to reinforce that belief, even if they’re damaging to you.  Your ego’s job is to prove you right, regardless of the consequences.

The Power of Your Beliefs

What if you could change your beliefs?

What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are.” ~Tony Robbins

You can.  By doing things outside of your comfort zone, things the old you wouldn’t normally do.  Things that seem a little scary.

You can change your beliefs by taking action that proves that your old beliefs aren’t completely true.

Be warned!  When you start to test your beliefs, your monkey mind/ego will go berserk.  It’s your monkey mind’s job to maintain the status quo in order to keep you “safe.”  Anything outside of your old norm will cause alarms to go off in your monkey mind telling you to stop, turn around, flee the “new.”

Your monkey mind (and probably friends and family) will say things like:

  • Have you gone crazy?
  • What are you thinking?
  • Why on earth would you want to do something like that?
  • That’s stupid!
  • Who do you think you are?!?!

That’s because you’re threatening their status quo by questioning your own.  It’s the old analogy of a bucket of crabs.  Whenever one tries to crawl out of the bucket to escape, the others pull the escapee back in.

Know that when all this happens, you’re on the right track.  Yes, it will be difficult.  But if you want your life to be different, you have to be different.  And that might mean surrounding yourself with a new group of people who support your new beliefs (because they share those same beliefs).

Spending time with people who already live the life you want will eventually change your beliefs about what’s possible for you.  Before you know it, your old “impossible” will be part of your average day.

Perception Is Everything

Along with challenging your beliefs, challenge your perceptions.

“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” ~William Shakespeare

Nothing has meaning until you give it meaning.

Thinking that your job sucks is one way of interpreting a situation.  Not that long ago I had a job where I was painfully underemployed and my boss didn’t respect me.  I could have bemoaned the situation and said that my job and my life sucked.  But I chose not to.

Instead, I saw the many opportunities in the situation.  Since I was overqualified, I could complete the work in a quarter of the time that my predecessor had so I had a lot of time on my hands.  Thankfully, I had a private office so no one was looking over my shoulder.

I used my extra time to clean up the systems at the company so that I (and my successor) could be even more efficient.  Then I took a daily walk (as many employers encourage their employees to do) and, as a result, lost about ten pounds easily.  I started this blog which required me to start from ground zero, learning how to put together and run a web site (I was clueless when I started and didn’t have a budget to hire anyone or take classes).  I also did a little contracting on the side to make some extra money.

I learned how to work with my boss instead of against him and found ways to make his life at work easier.  I developed relationships with some of the people I worked with and found ways to bring more joy into their lives.

I turned the obstacles into opportunities.  I created a happy place for myself where I could have chosen misery.

How you decide to see, interpret and feel about your situation is your choice.

Next Steps

If a part of your life isn’t going the way you would like, think about how you’re interpreting the situation.  What beliefs is your ego trying to reinforce?

I’m not talking about putting on a happy face and just dealing with a bad situation.  I’m talking about changing how you see, think and feel about the situation.

What kind of opportunities do you now have that you wouldn’t have if everything was going just dandy?  Take steps to take advantage of those opportunities now.

Here are some ideas:

  • I’m in a bad relationship.  I can take this opportunity to examine why I seem to keep picking the same/wrong kinds of partners (a pattern).  From now forward, I’m taking conscious steps to change myself and my thoughts so the next time I choose an awesome partner.
  • I can’t find a partner.  Now is the perfect time to get to know and love myself better than I ever have.  If I can’t know and love myself, how can I expect someone else to?
  • My job sucks.  Instead of focusing on what I hate, I’ll focus on getting to know the people I work with better.  Then I’ll find little ways of bringing a touch of happiness to their day like making eye contact and smiling at someone I never look at or bringing someone a cup of coffee made just the way they like or offering a unique idea or viewpoint on an issue that someone is facing that may help them with a breakthrough.
  • I can’t find a job.  Now I have time to spend on my passion that I never had while I was working.  Maybe, now that I have the time to focus on it, I can turn it into a real business and I won’t have to find a job.  I can also take this opportunity to examine my expenses and lifestyle to see if they really match my core values, my heart.  Maybe I don’t need to make as much money as I thought.
  • My boss doesn’t care about me.  Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I’ll take some time to better understand and care about my boss.  Maybe he/she is distant because they’re dealing with a big life issue that I could support them with.  Or maybe I can demonstrate my value by doing things outside of my job description and in line with my passion.
  • My family/friends don’t support me emotionally.  Rather than trying to make them support me (an impossibility), I’ll take this opportunity to join that new group that I couldn’t get anyone to attend with me.  I’ll make a new friend and see what new worlds open up for me.
  • I don’t know what to do with my life.  What’s the worst thing that could happen if I start experimenting?  If I choose something that I end up not liking, I can always make a new choice and head in a different direction.  Nothing has to be forever unless I decide it to be.  I’ll make a list of everything I’ve ever wanted to do and do the first thing and see where that takes me.
  • My life sucks. – See any of the above ideas.

There’s always a way out.  You always have a choice, even if that choice is only how you think about something.

As Viktor Frankl, prisoner in three different Nazi concentration camps, said:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.”

What’s your next step?

 

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25 Responses to My Life Sucks – Now What Do I Do?

    Ed
    Commented:  06/16/2014 at 10:26 am

    This is a really great post Paige!!! I know I’ve certainly struggled with these issues from time to time. But as they say “the grass is always greener…:.”.

    For example, I used to be jealous of my friends who were married and had kids. So imagine my surprise to find out that they were equally jealous of me!!! Being single and unmarried has afforded me the opportunity to travel and see the world, something that they’re not able to do.

    In the end, we all have different paths in life and we need to embrace where we are while working towards what we want.
    Ed recently posted..Assume NothingMy Profile

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  06/16/2014 at 11:11 am

      I love your perspective Ed! Yes, we all need to accept where we are before we can move forward. Sitting around resisting our current situation (wishing it were different) doesn’t change anything and only brings on more of the same.

      We’re all lucky in different ways because of how our lives are right now. We just have to open our eyes to the possibilities.
      Paige Burkes recently posted..How To Release Yourself from Your PastMy Profile

      Reply
    Melissa
    Commented:  06/16/2014 at 12:18 pm

    Love that Skunk and dog image! Hilarious! This is such a great post and I love your suggestions. It’s our job to pull ourselves out of those sucky times. Thanks for sharing!
    Melissa recently posted..How Your Intention Can HealMy Profile

    Reply
    Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com
    Commented:  06/16/2014 at 12:23 pm

    Thank you for these great reminders Paige. I don’t know about you but I thrive when I hear, read and remember them over and over again. I’ve found that it isn’t just something you learn once and then you’re set–I really need to practice them repeatedly. Ultimately it is as Vicktor Fankl says, we can’t change others but we can ALWAYS change ourselves! ~Kathy
    Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com recently posted..From Blog To Book—The Launch of Simple-SMART & Happy!My Profile

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  06/16/2014 at 5:13 pm

      I completely agree with you Kathy. Most lasting life lessons are learned as a practice over time. Applying principles and ideas in different situations and learning from the results allow us to make better choices as we move along in life. And one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that we can’t control others. We can only control our own thoughts, beliefs and actions. And that’s incredibly powerful.
      Paige Burkes recently posted..How To Change Your Life In The MomentMy Profile

      Reply
    Elle
    Commented:  06/16/2014 at 12:30 pm

    Had to laugh when I saw your post today Paige since I too have just shared an article on managing life when it sucks. You and I must be on the same soul page – no pun intended.

    It’s always wonderful to have a variety of ideas on living a positive, productive life and yours, as always, are wonderful. :-)
    Elle recently posted..5 Things You Really Need To Do When Life SucksMy Profile

    Reply
    Keith Clarke
    Commented:  06/17/2014 at 1:34 am

    Hi Paige,

    So many great little nuggets in here. Our belief systems are responsible for so much of the perceived “bad stuff” that happens in our lives. As well as the good stuff. When these beliefs are actually examined and challenged it is amazing to find how many of them are not actually our own. We have picked them up from parents, siblings, or other influential people in our formative years and because we never looked ta them we believe them to be true.

    I have seen clients transformed when they actually realised that they don’t even agree with their own beliefs. It was just a mantra playing on repeat they felt compelled to follow. Just saying, ‘Stop, is this true?’, is such a powerful statement and can open up so many doors and a life that doesn’t suck.

    Great post, Paige

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  06/17/2014 at 12:44 pm

      Keith – I love that you’re helping people to objectively look at their beliefs. Years ago I used to defend beliefs that did nothing to help me. They only kept me stuck where I was. Things like, “Well, that’s just the way I am!” Then I would ask myself if that’s the kind of person I wanted to be. No. So I started to make changes and made it a point to stop saying that.

      Like you’ve said, many times we take a belief to be true simply because the people around us believe them. If we hung out with a different group of people, they could have very different beliefs.

      Keep up the great work!
      Paige Burkes recently posted..The Art of Helping Others (and How to Avoid Resentment)My Profile

      Reply
    lyle @ the Joy of Simple
    Commented:  06/17/2014 at 12:53 pm

    Hey Paige and thanks for the powerful post!

    “I turned the obstacles into opportunities.” – This is the key to living life on your own terms. We are the choices we make and as such, we can either feel the positiveness of our being, or the negative. It’s all up to us to decide which!

    That being said, it’s not easy to feel this way all the time, so posts like yours help a great deal :)

    Take Paige and all the best.

    Lyle
    lyle @ the Joy of Simple recently posted..How Much Is Your Job Costing You And What Can You Do About It?My Profile

    Reply
    Eric West | Rethinking the Dream
    Commented:  06/18/2014 at 7:14 am

    Lots of great tips here. I think that too often we get caught up wanting to keep up with those around us. I see this a lot of on Facebook where everyone shares their successes but rarely share the bad spots. It makes it look like everyone around us is a success and we feel like failures.

    I think it’s important to judge life based on our own set of criteria and not based on those around us. To me, this is where perception comes in. I realized this a few years ago and started making changes in my life to fit with what I felt I wanted, and not based on what everyone else thought I should be doing. This has made me feel much better about the direction my life is headed.
    Eric West | Rethinking the Dream recently posted..An Update of My Crazy IdeasMy Profile

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  06/18/2014 at 10:34 am

      Congratulations Eric! Making that shift from worrying about what others think to living for your True Self is huge! And, as you’ve experienced, is a life changer.

      When I took what others perceived as “radical” steps to live my authentic life, I got a lot of raised eyebrows and a little, “isn’t think a bit irresponsible?” but I didn’t take notice, thankfully. My husband and I are incredibly grateful for the “alternative” lifestyle that’s now very normal for us.

      It all boils down to knowing and living by your core values – what’s most important to you (not anyone else). It’s not always easy but it’s soooooo worth it!

      Thanks so much for your comment Eric!
      Paige Burkes recently posted..4 Simple Questions That Can Make You Rich and HappyMy Profile

      Reply
    Jodi
    Commented:  06/18/2014 at 10:33 am

    Love the name of your class. It really spoke to me. “How to get it done when you are only human!”

    Life does suck sometimes, but we can make it something else with our attitude. I think this is a helpful way to tease out and practically steps on what to do about it. Great post!

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  06/18/2014 at 10:38 am

      Thanks so much Jodi! Hope the class helps you! I’m in the process of writing my next one on how to use your intuition to create your own amazing life.

      When life sucks, I like to look at it as the Universe’s way of telling me that I have a lesson to learn. The more things suck, the louder the Universe has had to be for me to get the point. Wallowing in the suckiness only makes things worse. Attitude is everything!

      Have a great day Jodi!
      Paige Burkes recently posted..Pick Your Yoga PracticeMy Profile

      Reply
    Steve Roy
    Commented:  06/19/2014 at 2:49 pm

    Paige!
    Digging this post..it has so many truths in it.
    Sadly, I’ve had most of these conversations with myself over the years (and you know firsthand) and have struggled with taking ownership of my life.
    Much has changed for me (I mean, I have changed it), and the quote about nothing having power until we give it is so powerful.

    I try to live my life by this now. I know actions are just actions and have no significance until I make it so. Thanks for the reminder and for sharing this with us all.

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  06/23/2014 at 9:32 am

      Steve, you’ve come a loooong way in the past couple years! You’re definitely a testament to the change that’s possible. The key is taking ownership of your own life, as you’ve said. As soon as you drop the “my life sucks” victim mindset and realize everything in your life, good and bad, is up to you, the world becomes a big, beautiful place with endless possibilities.

      I’m so glad you’re back!!
      Paige Burkes recently posted..How To Release Yourself from Your PastMy Profile

      Reply
    richmiraclefiles
    Commented:  06/29/2014 at 2:15 am

    Hi Paige,
    I Love this quote by tony Robbins you put out………..
    “What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are.”
    I think this is an important factor in moving ahead;sorting out your beliefs.
    Usually we do not correlate our thinking process,the input, with its effect ,the output.
    We cannot “see” our thoughts.They just arrive, and we tag along,obediently.Yet for succeeding well it is important to “see” our thoughts,understand them.

    Our thought is critical.Whatever you are today is the outcome of what you have been thinking till yesterday.What you will be tomorrow will also be similarly dictated by what you think today.If you think of success,achievement,confidence , fulfillment,abundance,prosperity,happiness ,good fortune, today;you will inevitably find your life tomorrow brimming with corresponding results.
    This is unvarying Universal Law.Some people call it the Law of Attraction.What it says is if you indulge in sustained negative thinking today ,your tomorrow will show up with negative distasteful consequences.Likewise if you think positively,always,only positive consequences will surround you
    Thanks
    Mona

    Reply
    Joshua Tilghman
    Commented:  07/22/2014 at 9:58 am

    Paige,

    A very comprehensive list of nuggets here. Many years ago when I truly learned the power of perception, my life instantly had new meaning. You are so right: “Nothing has meaning unless with give it meaning.” That includes good meaning or bad. It’s our choice.
    Joshua Tilghman recently posted..5 Awesome Quotes Reminding Us about the Dangers of JudgmentMy Profile

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  07/22/2014 at 10:33 am

      Sounds like you’ve learned that lesson from lots of experience, Joshua. Initially, it’s a tough one to grasp but, with mindfulness and some personal experimentation, it’s truth can be revealed. So glad to hear that you’ve blessed yourself with a greater meaning for your life!
      Paige Burkes recently posted..How To Release Yourself from Your PastMy Profile

      Reply

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