Feeling unsuccessful or unaccomplished?
Many people reach a point in their lives when they start to feel anxious, stuck, or even depressed about where they are in life. You may not have the life that you’ve always wanted or thought you would have by now, whether it’s with your career, family, or relationships. But when we focus on where we should be in our lives, it detracts from our ability to focus on and celebrate where we are presently and what we have already accomplished. When you’re worried about not being successful enough, whether you’ve set those expectations yourself or it’s based on comparing yourself to others, it can leave you feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and disappointed. But rather than letting those feelings defeat you, listen to what they’re saying and use them to reevaluate where you are in life so you can redefine your idea of success and make positive changes.
How do YOU define success?
One of the reasons you may be feeling unsuccessful is because you’re not living up to your own expectations and definitions of success. How do you define success? Does your definition come from others or what society tells you is considered successful? Success can be defined in terms of academic achievement, relationships, financial status, or what you want to accomplish in your day-to-day life.
When we take a look at what success means, it’s important to know where our definition stems from. Is it pressure from society, your family, or social comparisons? These can create a false or skewed perception of success. When you let others define your success for you, you end up thinking about the “shoulds” - where you should be and what you should have. Only focusing on your deficiencies and shortcomings will make you feel unsuccessful no matter how much you have accomplished. So has your definition of success served you or inhibited you?
What are your priorities and values?
In order to determine our success, we need to know what our priorities and values are. Is your current phase of life in line with them? Have your priorities or values changed at all? What are your short- and long-term goals? Which are the most important to you? Values are character traits you hold true to. For example, you might value honesty, self-respect, or loyalty in your relationships. If you’re not holding on to these and staying true to them, you might not feel satisfied in life. It’s a good idea to regularly reassess your values and priorities every so often to make sure your actions and life are in alignment with what you truly want and value. This will help you feel more satisfied and successful.
Finding Courage to Make Changes
If you feel stuck or anxious about your life, it could be time for a change or shift. Why do you feel stuck? Are your actions in line with your priorities and values? Does something in your life need to change? Fear of changing might be holding you back. When people struggle with anxiety, they often worry about the worst-case scenario. But that’s not the only outcome. It is possible to have a better outcome if you change than staying the same. Not making changes in your life is guaranteed to make you feel the same, whereas making changes could lead to a better outcome, feelings of success, and living aligned with your values. Ask yourself, does the good outcome outweigh the risk?
Change can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be drastic. It can be a shift or little adjustment in your day-to-day actions. Get away from thinking changes have to be all or nothing - like quitting your job or getting a divorce. When you think of life as all-or-nothing, you more easily doubt yourself and your ability to change for the better.
Finding Success With Your Life As Is
If you don’t want to make a change, it’s important that you find contentment with staying the same. Can you find peace where you are in your current situation? Some people reach a certain point in their lives and become stagnant, complacent, or even bored. Do you often find yourself needing to achieve more? Needing to check more off the list of accomplishments? This idea of needing to succeed leads to dissatisfaction in your current situation. You are not living in the moment, but only looking ahead. Ask yourself, at what point in your life will you have achieved enough? If you are tired of constantly chasing the next goal and feeling unsatisfied, therapy can help you cope with the dissatisfaction and find contentment. Contentment is not happiness. Happiness can’t be 24/7 - it’s an emotion that comes and goes. Contentment on the other hand is acceptance of your current situation. It’s honoring and respecting things you are happy with and the challenges in your life. It’s about accepting that there is room to grow while still being ok with “what is.” One way to achieve this is through practicing mindfulness. When we are present - in the “here and now” - we can base our idea of success on the evidence of our current reality. What is real in this moment? What success have you had and what success do you currently have? Therapy and mindfulness can help you learn to accept who you are and where you are without judgment, allowing you to feel content, successful, and satisfied with your life.
Ready to Overcome Anxiety and Feel Successful?
Life can be hard, especially when you feel unsuccessful. Many people reach a certain age or enter a phase of life feeling disappointed that they aren’t where they should be. Psychotherapy can help you reframe how you view your life, redefine what success means to you, and identify how you can align your life with your priorities and values. If you are ready to feel less anxious and more successful, call Dr. Heather Violante today at (954) 391-5305 (EXT. 8) or contact her online. She has been helping people overcome anxiety for years and is ready to help you live the life you want.