By Debra LeClair Psy.D.
There’s a reason that spring gets associated with cleaning. After being enclosed in layers all winter, we are happily pulled out into the sun to wake up. Energized, we yearn to shed what we no longer need or what is no longer serving us.
This awakening is the opposite of being on autopilot. Looking at our routines, tasks and beliefs with a new eye creates the clarity to assess what is truly vital to our bigger picture. It not only gets us to think outside the box, it gets us to literally kick ourselves out into something better. Coming into a fresh perspective is one of the most underrated tools to turn dissatisfaction into fulfillment. Powerful questions help us get there.
Take a pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and ask yourself:
1) What (thoughts, feelings, sensations) do I want to experience most?
2) What is already in my life that connects me to those desired thoughts, feelings and sensations?
3) What is in my life that is a barrier or obstacle? Do I need to go around it, move through it or eliminate it altogether?
4) What supports do I need to make changes in eliminating or minimizing the obstacles?
To give an example, Sara wants to feel a sense of calm and confidence. Her weekly yoga class, date nights with her spouse and learning how to paint are what she identifies as building that peace and belief in herself. But between work and her child’s school, she serves on three committees. These commitments mostly add to her stress. The idea of resigning from any of the committees fills her with guilt. It seems easier to “suck it up” and just stay put.
Asking the questions above of herself, Sara was able to gain sight of her desired path. That focus loosened the guilt that had wrapped itself around Sara and as a result, she chose to try on a new life as an experiment. Sara was fueled by the realization that she felt so much more connected to her family and actual work when she wasn’t drawn in so many directions. Keeping that awareness in the forefront, Sara decided to step down from two of the committees, with the idea that she could return in the future. That last part was important since it alleviated much of the uncomfortable feelings she had around giving herself space to try this new lifestyle out. Liberating herself just enough from the guilt propelled her towards a less stressful existence. Once there, that was all she needed to cultivate a life lived in greater fulfillment.