The expression “Live not your own life” does not apply to professional psychology, but it is intuitive.
Usually it means that a person does not follow his own desires and goals, but tries to fulfill a certain averaged life scenario “written” for him by other people.
Most often we are talking about a parental family, although it also happens that we use samples that are offered by glossy magazines, films and popular culture.
We figure out how to understand that you are following the instructions of others – and what to do about it.
You insufferably want to criticize other people’s lives
You are wildly annoyed by a former classmate who, at the age of twenty, jumped out to get married and gave birth to children one after another: “Well, why did she need a higher education? She buried herself in diapers! ”
Or a careerist friend who is “obsessed” with her projects: “She doesn’t see life at all, she sits in her office from morning to night.” Or a freelancer friend, a third month “messing around” in Thailand.
But irritation often hides jealousy, and envy is a feeling of one’s unfulfilledness and confusion. This does not necessarily mean that you like the specific scenario of the life of these people – maybe not.
But it infuriates the general feeling that they seem to know what to do with their life (or pretend very well): they make some plans, fulfill them and seem to be satisfied. And for some reason you are not.
You are constantly bored
You are bored at work. Uninteresting conversations with friends. You are sadly going on vacation, uninteresting in excursions or clubs, it is boring to discuss pets, children, building a summer house or traveling, or someone else’s third higher education.
It is very important to note here that if such a condition lasts longer than three to four weeks, it can hide depression or somatic problems underneath. Therefore, if you feel that you have lost interest in everything around you, be sure to go to the doctor.
If specialists did not find any depression or somatic diseases in you, it means that it seems that you simply did not “find” your interests and your life path. The interests of other people do not suit you, and you cannot separate them – hence the boredom.
Other’s enthusiasm infuriates you or makes you sad
A logical consequence of the previous paragraph. Boredom is said to be suppressed aggression. Indeed, at a boring work, colleagues, the boss and daily duties begin to enrage, you do not want to upgrade your skills or work in a team.
In the company of friends with whom you are bored, conversations and other people’s laughter may gradually begin to annoy, a discussion of what you personally don’t find at all fascinating:
“Painting with water is so cool!”, “We drove the whole family into jeeps in jeeps, come next time with us!”,“They started repairing the apartment and, you can imagine, we can’t find the right tile in the whole city!” “ I have to go to … “.
At this moment, you want to scream: “Why are you kidding me ?!” or “How can you seriously be interested in such garbage?”
You are building non-obvious multi-path plans
For example, if you want to get a job in a related specialty, you are not looking for vacancies and do not enroll in courses – instead, you construct an intricate multi-part plan, which includes another higher education, unpaid internship and other unobvious components.
When friends, rounding their eyes, say: “Wait, but it can be done faster and easier – just go to the site with the vacancies!” – you are very angry.
The secret is simple: people who do not live their own lives usually have a taboo on their own goals. Therefore, the path to the desired achievements should be as long and difficult as possible to get tangled on the road and certainly not reach.
Formal achievements for you are the main criterion for success
Status, money, someone’s praise for you is the main engine of progress. No doubt, money for life is necessary, praise and support “feed” our self-esteem, and the high status and respect of others is a pleasure.
But for people who have found their movement vector in life, this becomes a necessary but not sufficient condition for success: the desire to realize their abilities and goals comes to the fore.
Those who act according to someone else’s life scenario and have not found their own, may be prone to competition. Often these are incredibly competitive people – the truth is that the joy of winning from them is often short-lived, and it does not bring real satisfaction.
And really, how else to measure achievements, if you really do not strive for this?
Then the average measures of success inspired by culture and society come to the rescue: status things, countries where you can afford a vacation, the number of zeros in your salary, envy in the eyes of others, photos on Instagram.
It seems that life is passing by while you are sitting here
When you leave work, you feel as if you have escaped from captivity. With a sigh of relief you leaving the guests.
And even entertainments like going to the movies and concerts leave a strange feeling that the “real” life took place somewhere else while you were dancing on the dance floor or sitting by the screen.
This feeling signals that you do not find sense in what you are doing. Many begin to rationalize this feeling and build theories – for example, how modern art is commercialized, how it makes no sense to work for the good of capitalism, and the like.
It is important to listen to this feeling of discomfort and nonsense and draw conclusions. It means that going to the cinema was pointless not for everyone, but for you personally.
What to do
Finding your goals in life is not an easy and large-scale task. Clients often turn to psychologists with a request “Something is missing, although everything seems to be fine” or “I have everything, but nothing makes me happy.”
These complaints often hide precisely the absence of one’s own guiding lines in life. Usually, the search for meaning is advised to start by recalling what used to be pleasure, it seemed meaningful and important.
But, unfortunately, this does not always work out. Sometimes life is so full of unnecessary and power-consuming activities and communication that there is no space or energy left for something pleasant.
In this case, it makes sense to go the opposite and try to gradually eliminate from your life the most unpleasant and consuming things.
For example, to refuse to communicate if the interlocutor criticizes you a lot, devalues what is important to you, and communicates from a “top” position.
Throwing a low-paying job that you do only because you are ashamed to refuse it, or for the reason “you have to do something” (of course, this is not an extreme situation when this is the only affordable way to feed yourself).
If there is such an opportunity, leave the team where they humiliate and discriminate against others. To rethink too tight relationships with parents who want to control your life and help you build their own plans. Leave partnerships in which there is violence and no joy.
Get used to asking yourself about your desires – from eating habits to living plans. Sometimes it’s easier to start with small interests, like your favorite music or whether you really want to go to the party where you are invited today.
And sometimes whole projects to transform your own life pop up in your head – and you understand that they always existed, they were simply “blocked”.
People often say that they are afraid of becoming “egoists” by doing what they want. But if your desires and plans do not harm other people and do not endanger them, then you can safely bring them to life, and there is nothing selfish about it.
Perhaps you are really afraid of a sense of responsibility for all successes and failures. But only you are the author of your own life – whether you choose to write it according to the “original” script or copy it from a “replicated” one, like everyone else does.
Finally, another useful tip is to deal with family settings.
Ask yourself regularly: “Who is this for?” If you have chosen a specialty and career not for yourself, then for whom? For a mother who could not be realized in the same field? For dad, who saw this as a “sure piece of bread” and “a worthy occupation”? If you do not like the current social circle, then why and for whom did you create and support it?
Answers may be unexpected. For example, you suddenly remember that your beloved grandmother did not like her whole life, that you are friends with a “dubious” company. And some time after her death, you suddenly discovered that you had changed your social circle and now strive to be friends only with “good boys and girls”.
Although, in fact, you do not want to talk to them about your career and achievements, and you like crazy musicians and poor travelers.
By the same principle, you can choose a partner or partner, classes outside work or a way to relax – to gain approval and earn the love of one of the family members.
It is important to understand that loving relatives and following their scripts prepared for you are not identical things.
You can demonstrate love by actions: to those who are still alive – care, attention, phone calls and visits. Those who died can be remembered, visiting their grave in the cemetery, talking about them with those relatives who remember them, or telling them about children and nephews who did not have time to catch them.
But if you make yourself unhappy because you do not live your own life, this has nothing to do with the expression of love.
And if someone requires this from you – unfortunately, this person does not really care about you. So, you should not give decisions about your life in his hands.