By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
The answers to these three questions can change your life.
To figure out your path in life, you need to figure out where you’re going. Some people get lost along the way and end up in therapy, trying to find themselves. I’ve come to believe that the first task ought to be finding the answers to three basic life questions. Throughout this coming year, I want to talk a little bit about those questions and how you go about finding the answers to them.
Resolutions are not the way to go.
This is the time of year a lot of people are making New Year’s resolutions. I fear that if I don’t get this published quickly enough, you will already have broken some of those resolutions. Some of those resolutions are external. Habits you want to change and things you want to accomplish.
Most resolutions fail because they specify a result rather than a process for reaching that result. Resolving to lose a certain number of pounds, get out of debt, get more education all sound like great goals. There will be plenty of articles throughout the universe I how to reach these goals. It’s usually missing from all of that is any discussion about if when you arrive at that goal, if you ever do, will you be happy? Will it have been worth the effort?
For most people paying off the debt only opens the door to creating more debt. Losing the weight may make you healthier if you can keep it off, but most people don’t keep it off because the process of dieting makes them miserable. Many people get more education expecting that to lead to higher income and more happiness only to find they don’t like the job there now qualified for.
Why can’t people find the answers to creating a happy life?
Despite a higher standard of living and more material possessions today than ever before in the history of the world, we also see more mental and physical illness. Looking for something external to make you happy is looking in the wrong place.
The idea that someone who is miserable can achieve happiness by finding the right romantic partner often turns out badly. It’s common for people to go through multiple failed relationships wondering why they always connect with the wrong partners. Eventually, some of those people, by trial and error or as the result of personal counseling and therapy, discovered that the answer to their questions isn’t external, but it’s internal. If you need to change something in your life, that change will need to take place inside you.
As I’m writing this, I’m thinking of all the things I’d like to talk to you about. I hope I’ve learned a few things through the years, and one of the major lessons I’ve learned is that the journey of self-awareness is an ongoing process. So here are the three essential questions I think you need to consider; otherwise, everything else you’re doing may be wasted effort.
Who are you?
Ask most people who they are, and their immediate answer will be a job title. I’m a teacher, an accountant, a clerk in the store, or some other occupation. Take that job away, whether by unemployment or disability, and suddenly the person must figure out who they are when they don’t do that job anymore.
Other people define themselves by their relationships. Traditionally that was more the way women define themselves. Ask a woman who she was, and she would say she was Mrs. so-and-so. Or she might tell you that she was this boy or girl’s mother. This is changing as more men define themselves by their relationships, and more women see themselves as professionals in an occupation. Both things are important for people’s understanding of themselves.
While your occupation and relationships are important, who you are is so much bigger than both of those.
Who do you connect with, and how, and why?
Relationships can enrich your life, but they can also impoverish it. A recurrent theme in therapy is why people keep getting into the same dysfunctional relationships. Someone who grew up in an alcoholic home falls in love with Ethel alcohol or marries an alcoholic.
People from dysfunctional homes frequently enter relationships with other people who have those same dysfunctions. One name for that losing yourself in your relationships is codependency. There’s a lot of codependent people out there. The way they eventually escape their codependency, if they ever do, is not by learning more and more about the dysfunctional person in their life but by learning more about themselves.
What gives your life meaning, and purpose?
Last week I wrote a blog post about what gives your life meaning and purpose. You might want to look at that post. I suppose it’s entirely possible to have several things that fill your life with meaning and purpose. It’s also likely that the thing that gives your life meaning or purpose at various points in your life may change.
What I’m getting at here is it’s far more critical to learn about your relationship with money and debt and decide how that affects the rest of your life than it is to go on a tight budget for a month or two to get out of debt only to end up back in debt again.
As we move through the year 2021, I want to talk to you about some of the implications of these three big life questions and how you might go about finding the answers to them. I’m continuing to learn more about my answers to these questions through research and living life.
If any of this interests you, maybe you will want to subscribe to this blog. Feel free to leave a comment or use the contact me form. Whatever the challenges this year, let’s all work on making 2021 the year to get straight on what matters.
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!
My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seems like the right time to publish it.
Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.
Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.
As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.
Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness, and they want him dead.
Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.
Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.
What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?
Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.
For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller
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