A Sense of Purpose To Your Life ?

I have previously held the belief that people, by nature, want to feel a sense of worth and value to their lives, not just exist, or be dependent.

I have previously held the belief that people, by nature, want to feel a sense of worth and value to their lives, not just exist, or be dependent. Further, I always believed that people thrive when they have goals, feel they are doing something meaningful and purposeful on a day to day basis. Don't people feel a little "high" when the have stretched and conquered an issue, problem or challenge ?

I guess I still believe all that, because, everyday in my work as a therapist, I see that most of the clients who are experiencing anxiety or depression report that they feel stuck or trapped in their lives. They often begrudgingly report  that they have given in to their fears of failure and rejection and have become complacent. Further, they painfully admit to themselves that they have avoided change, options to grow and stretch.The slippery slope of avoidance can take a person down to the point that he or she cannot see any chance of digging their way out. Avoidance warps our sense of self, diminishes our self-esteem which further limits our ability to change and grow.

How many mornings do you wake up excited about what you are planning to do that day ? When was the last time you felt you were doing something really meaningful in your life ? Do you have goals at work that get your adrenalin pumping ? Do you del a passion in your life ? Do you feel your relationship with your spouse and kids is where you want it to be ?

You cannot truly avoid the reality of avoidance in your life ! You may deny it to others, but you know. It haunts you in your private moments.

When I sit with most of my clents, what I see behind the cloudiness of their symptoms is often the reality, that somewhere along their life, they lost their sense of purpose.

Out of fear of failure or rejection, or due to the erosion of self-esteem that comes from avoiding challenges to their personal growth, they often do not consciously realize that they have lost a sense of meaning to their lives. They are just so focused on how they feel, which is either anxious or depressed, that they are unaware that much of what they feel is a result of the complacency that has crept into their lives, the lack of intimacy they are experiencing, the lack of involvement in anything truly special for which they could feel passionate.

So, ask yourself, when was the last time you felt passionate about anything special going on in your life ? It is never too late to embrace change !
Yes, I know change can be scary at times. But when you set a reasonable goal to face something or someone you have avoided, and then create a hierarchy of steps to approach that person or issue, each step can help to motivate the next step to be taken.

I would be happy to hear comments !

I invite you to join us any Sunday Evening, at 9 PM ET for our on-line Support Groups at OneStepataTime.com .  You can also sign up for our free Newsletter, "Boundaries", which will be e-mailed to you each week.

Also, take a look at the many articles we have posted in our Blog at RuledByFear.com

Gene Benedetto, Psychologist/Coach
The Benhaven Group

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Christine July 24, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Sometimes avoidance can be a good thing, right? So, how do you know when it's not? I am referring to every day situations where it can eventually start piling up and lead to anxiousness. I don't know of anyone who hasn't avoided something every now and then, but are there warning signs that things are getting a little out of hand? Some clues before it gets to being overwhelming?
Gene Benedetto July 26, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Christine, Yes , are are times when we have approached a difficult person or taken steps to deal with a conflict, and we hit a wall because we get no response or there is nothing else we can do to effect a change.. At that point, I no longer feel it is as much avoidance but rather realizing you have done what you can do, and setting a boundary or limits regarding that person or situation. That is when you must evaluate the situation and possibly make changes as to whether there is value in putting any more energy into that situation or that person. However, when faced with situations where you have not taken any steps to express yourself or approach, avoidance can easily lead to anxiety, a sense of inner weakness or feeling internally in conflict. So watch for anxiety symptoms such as unusual flair-ups in temper, short-fuse, physical symptoms like a pain in the neck, panic attacks or feeling urges to do repetitive behaviors, like checking locks and light switches, etc., etc.


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