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Dangers of Boxing Our Life – Leads to Dissatisfaction!

I have come across many people in my coaching journey who are so dissatisfied with something in life. It’s either the relationship or the job or the kids or just with them. What makes them feel so dissatisfied? How can the situation be changed? Many such things are discussed over the coaching conversation. Finally, when we reach to the outcome of the conversation it’s mostly their mindset towards life. There is a specific way they have set their mind towards many things in life. If it’s relationship this is how it should be. If it’s work then this is how it should be and so on. Their mindset stems out of their environment and their own experiences.

In this post, I want to share what I have realized about my life and how I saved myself from falling into the dissatisfaction mode of life. I am a happy person and I do things that always keep me looking forward, rather than sulking. There is a pattern that we create in our lives and that pattern, more often than not, engenders this whole dissatisfaction with life.

Boxing our lives into 20 years:

First 20 years of life, Growing Up:  When we are growing up – the crucial 20 years that we spend at school and then in college – our primary goal in life becomes learning and accumulating knowledge. We land up boxing ourselves into this mode. We only hear people asking us about our studies or our educational aspirations in life and so on. Few reasons for dissatisfaction in this first box of life could be:

·      I am not that good a student as expected.

·      People around me do not like me.

·      I did not get into the desired course.

·      I do not have many friends.

·      I do not believe my parents really understand me.

And many more…

The central belief that slowly grows inside would be “Learn as much as needed to pursue a career in life that has a good earning potential. Education must be ‘useful’. If I have not learnt well then I am a total failure”. Many children get into depression too.

Second 20 years of life, Adulthood: As a grown up adult we tend to try all the things that we learnt in the first box of life. We look for a job in the field that is related to our education. We start relationships based on what we have seen at home, or learnt from friends and popular culture. We pull ourselves to 40 years of age, doing all that we believed is to be done. Some of us might encounter failures on various sides of our life, leading to stress, anxiety and depression. This is the age when many people snap out of their current routine and try to make changes. This is where a second set of dissatisfaction may creep in due to multiple reasons:

·      I expected my life to be in a certain way but it’s not like that.

·      I spent so much of my growing up years learning something that is of no use in my current job.

·      I want to do something else but I have huge commitments.

·      I want a great relationship with my spouse and kids but they don’t understand me.

And many more…

Certain strong beliefs during this phase are: “I am growing old faster and need to save up as much as I can. I am so stuck with this life. In spite of doing so many things I still don’t know what I really want in life.” This causes depression in many.

Third 20 years of life, Seasoned Adult: Nearing the age of 60 is a signal of impending retirement. This is the age when we slowly start looking back at life to see how have we performed. Earlier the performance was benchmarked against others.

Having lived a busy life, the concept of retirement does not sink into many people. They feel left out and do not know how to make the rest of their life interesting. This is the phase when we have the necessary time in our hands to actually explore things, but we don’t know what to explore. There might be fat retirement saving that many would have arduously worked towards, but most of that ends up being spent in hospitals. This is because of the way we have exploited our body and mind in the first two boxes of our life. But at this stage, it is usually too late to mend. Some people even prepare themselves for the end.

On the other hand, this is the age when they should try all the possible things that could keep them busy. It could be a part-time job or a spiritual pursuit or anything else to keep them mentally busy. But there still is a third set of dissatisfaction, like the below:

·      I did so much in my life but nothing really seems to be of any worth right now.

·      I should not have really pushed myself so much that I am regretting it now.

·      I should have taken life little more calmly.

·      I missed out of the time with my kids that today they don’t want to talk to me everyday.

·      I have so many issues with my health that I am unable to eat and do what I want to do.

·      I had made many plans for my retired life, but I am unable to execute any of them.

Certain beliefs around this age are: “I am too old to make any changes in my life. I have totally wasted my life. I did all this for my children but it looks like they don’t value it now at all. I am worthless.” And this leads many old people into depression.

Last 20 years of life, Old Adult: This phase in a person’s life is all about reliving their childhood. All the worries about health and other aspects of life would have faded away. Each day would be precious. They will want to do things that they did during their childhood. The only person with whom they would want to connect is the grandchild. At this age if they were left alone in the care of a nurse their disconnect with life would just increase and they might tend to wait for the end. Most of the accumulated savings would have been exhausted by this time and they become the responsibility of their children. The levels of dissatisfaction would be similar to the earlier box of life. Depression at this stage could become way of life.

If at any point in life we realize that we are getting boxed into something, there would be awareness to make changes. Boxing ourselves will make us like a robot instead of a human being. Each one may look at life differently and this is just my perspective of how we are evolving. The purpose of life is not to be slotted into the boxes but to think of the boxes. As a reader of this blog, I am sure you would be able to connect with your own self or someone you know. Make sure you do the things that you really love and break the limits imposed by these boxes. Let’s just enjoy every age of ours as the same and keep up the spirit of living a satisfied life as the key goal.

Live Lifefuly!

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