“Do not past and present confront us with similar phenomena and with the same problems: to be a man, to have been born without knowing it or wanting it, to be thrown into the ocean of existence, to be obliged to swim, to exist; to have an identity; to resist the pressure and shocks from the outside and the unforeseen and unforeseeable acts — one’s own and those of others — which so often exceed one’s capacities? And what is more, to endure one’s own thoughts about all this: in a word, to be human.” – Ivo Andric
I’ve always felt that this segment from the speech Andric gave after receiving his Noble Price in Literature brilliantly illustrates the struggles of a creature aware of its own mortality, torn between its animalistic roots and a higher form of consciousness. We humans can create great works of art, harness the power of the universe, and change the world around us, yet this immense potential is all too often squandered.
We often mourn the loss of our promising youth in the twilight of our lives, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It is never too late to start making positive changes, but it is best to learn how to be honest with yourself and to understand what it takes for you to be happy and fulfilled while you are still young, so that you can avoid these terribly common regrets when you’ve come to the end of the line.Advertising
1. I was afraid to be myself, always fearful of what others might say
When we’re kids we constantly try to blend in and elevate our social status within our group, but as we grow we realize that everyone has their own unique little quirks, preferences, and tastes. It is important for us to find out what it is that we like, what makes us happy and what helps us to stay cheerful and motivated. Try sitting down and being honest about what you look for in life, in a partner, in an outfit, in a great Saturday afternoon, in a career. Only then can you forget about what others think, and express your true self.
2. I mistreated my body and spent half my life feeling sick and rundown
Laziness, hedonism, lack of adequate motivation, thinking that you are indestructible when you are younger, and a lack of awareness about physical and mental health can all contribute to us having worn out, sickly, and tired-looking bodies before we even hit 40. It’s easy to get “set in your ways,” so make sure that you start developing good habits early on. Work on losing that extra weight, eat healthier foods, train your muscles, and stretch to boost your metabolism and immune system, as well as strengthen the body, and do some meditation or have some relaxing alone time to allow your mind to recover.
3. I kept hanging out with people who were never true friends to me
A lot of the entries on most people’s “friend lists” are actually acquaintances who are looking for some kind of quid pro quo arrangement, or even worse, emotional leeches and toxic people who are only looking out for themselves. Avoid the unnecessary drama at work and at home. Be realistic about this and hang out with those that actually listen to you, encourage you, try to help out without standing to gain anything, and just generally make you feel good. Cut all ties with anyone that’s dragging you back or causing you pain and worries all the time.Advertising
4. I missed out on great opportunities because I was too scared to put myself out there
The things we most regret in life are the things we didn’t do, like not working up the courage to walk up to that cute guy or girl, not asking your boss for a promotion, not taking a risk and investing in that interesting business venture, and so on. Sometimes, you’ve just got to learn from your mistakes, and learn that making a mistake or looking a bit foolish is not the end of the world, but the rewards you get for giving things a shot are quite incredible.
5. I never devoted myself to mastering any fun or useful skills
People often lament the fact that they never really picked up a guitar and played for just 30 minutes a day, or took up martial arts, or learned their way around the kitchen. It doesn’t take much to learn new things if you set your mind to it and stay consistent, and there are tons of great jobs that you can teach yourself how to do, so just jump into it and start learning something new right now.
6. I drifted apart from my friends and family and made strangers out of them
Spending time with family can sometimes be tiring, and if you’ve already got work, a partner, kids, and tons of little chores to think about, fitting friends into your schedule can be a nightmare. However, don’t allow yourself to become one of those people who realizes that they’ve alienated their friends over the years only after breaking up with a long-term partner, or one of the sad and lonely old folks who lives alone in a big house. Make room for friends and family at least once a week and keep those bonds strong.Advertising
7. I never admitted I was wrong and listened to honest advice
Pride can sometimes get the best of you, but if you aren’t willing to admit your mistakes, say a few sorry’s now and then, and be open to criticism and helpful advice, you will live to regret it. It’s all too often that we look back on a situation and realize that our friends were right, or that we could have really used someone’s help. Be open to suggestions and try to consult with several different people when you are not sure how to proceed.
8. I spent a great deal of time hating the world for dealing me a bad hand of cards
The easiest thing to do when faced with adversity is to ask “why me?” and start shaking your fist at the world, cursing all those who have wronged you. Of course, no matter how much someone contributed to your current predicament, it’s important to admit that you’ve also played a role in it – even sitting there and doing nothing or rolling over and letting someone kick you while you’re down is a conscious choice. Take responsibility for your life, clench your teeth and take charge – no one is going to be able to solve all your problems for you, so you need give it everything you’ve got and face your problems with a cocky grin on your face.
9. I never saw the world and experienced different cultures
One of the things that people find most excuses for is not traveling more. Of course, financial issues, hectic schedules, and various obligations may not allow you to spend ten years traveling the world, but anyone can go camping, drive to another town, or find fairly cheap ways of traveling abroad. It’s all about being motivated to save up and make the time, and committing to leaving your home country at least once a year. You have to make travel one of your priorities instead of viewing it as a luxury.Advertising
10. I didn’t leave behind a legacy
This one kind of covers several of the other points on this list. In order to truly say that you’ve lived a rich and full life, and have managed to leave a legacy, you must constantly work on improving yourself, be it becoming a better partner and parent, mastering a skill, achieving academic or athletic success, teaching and helping others reach their goals, or anything else you find a worthy goal. Look deep within yourself and think about all your talents, passions, and skills, then try to work out what you could do to be remembered and respected by those that come after us.
There is no definitive answer to the questions that we ask ourselves late at night when we are alone and fragile, and there is certainly no easy way of avoiding huge regrets at the end of our lives. However, these points, difficult as they may be to put into action, will help you live a better life. It doesn’t matter if someone else finds it boring, vain, or needlessly adventurous, it’s your life and you want to make sure that you’ve lived the way you wanted to live.
Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com
Last Updated on September 17, 2018
7 Signs of an Unhappy Relationship That Makes You Feel Stuck
Relationships are complicated and when you’re unhappy, it can be difficult to tell what’s causing it and what needs to change.
Sometimes it’s as easy as opening up to your partner about your problems, while other times it may be necessary to switch partners or roll solo to get your mind straight.
When you’re in the thick of things, it can be difficult to tell if you’re unhappy in your relationship or just unhappy in general (in which case, a relationship may be just the cure you need).
Here’re signs of an unhappy relationship that is possibly making you feel stuck:
1. You’re depressed about your home life.
No matter what you do in life, you’re going to have good and bad days. Your relationship is no different.
However, no matter what you’re going through at home, you have to feel comfortable in your own home.
If you constantly dread going home because your significant other is there, there’s a problem. Maybe it’s something you already know about, everyone has an argument or just needs some alone time.
When that yearning to be alone becomes an insatiable obsession over the course of months and years, it’s time to realize you’re not the exception to the rule.
You’re unhappy in your relationship, and you need to take a look in the mirror and do whatever it takes to make yourself smile.
2. You aren’t comfortable being yourself.
Remember all those things you discovered about yourself when you first got together? The way your partner made you feel when you met that made you fall in love with him or her in the first place.
If they don’t make you feel that way anymore, it’s not the end of the world. If your partner makes you uncomfortable about being you, then her or she is only dragging you down. It’s up to you to decide how to handle that.
You need to be comfortable with who you are. This means being comfortable in your skin and with the way you walk, talk, look, breath, move, and all the other things that make you uniquely you.
If the person who supposedly loves you doesn’t make you feel good about yourself, know that you can do better. They’re not even one in a billion.
3. You can’t stop snooping.
Mutual trust is necessary in any relationship. The only way to get that trust is with respect.
I can find you anywhere online, no matter how private and secure you think you are. The odds of you having a password I can’t crack are slim. If we’ve met in person, I could install a remote key logger on your device without even touching it.
Finding your information online hardly takes a clandestine organization. Any idiot with a Wi-Fi-enabled device can cyberstalk you. I’m just the only idiot in the village admitting it.
So now that we know everyone snoops, it’s time to address your personal habits. Governments snoop because they don’t trust us. If you’re snooping on your partner, it’s because you don’t trust them.
It’s ok to have doubts, and it’s perfectly normal to look into anything that looks weird, but keep in mind that data collection is only half of an investigation.
If you find yourself constantly snooping and questioning everything, clearly there’s a trust issue and the relationship likely needs to end.
4. You’re afraid of commitment.
If you’ve been dating longer than a year and you aren’t engaged, it’s never going to happen.
Commitment is important. People will come up with a million ways to describe why they can’t be committed.
No matter who you are if you like it, you need to put a ring on it. Find an engagement ring, stick a gemstone in it and marry the person. If you’re not legally able to get married or you don’t believe in it for one reason or another, have a child (or adopt one, however you’re able to) or treat your partner’s family like your own. It’s a huge financial and mental commitment.
If you’re not ready for one or the other after some time, don’t waste anymore of your precious life on the relationship.
Your relationship should be something that propels you forward. If it’s not going anywhere, make it an open relationship and call it what it is—dating multiple people.
5. You imagine a happier life without your partner.
If all you’re doing is imagining a happier life without your partner, it’s a sign that you’re in the wrong relationship. You’re unhappy and you need to get out.
Your partner should be included in your dreams. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a future with someone.
Try to remember what you dreamed of before you got your heart broken by the realities of life, love and the pursuit of human success.
Remember when you would crush on that cute kid in class? You would secretly imagine marrying him or her and going on an adventure—that’s the way life should be.
If you’re not at least imagining adventures together, then why are you in that relationship?
6. You resent, rather than love your partner.
When a relationship starts to crumble, you begin to resent your partner for all the things you once loved about him or her.
When you’ve reached this point, your partner has reached at least No. 2 on this list. From your partner’s perspective, your unhappiness with them is picked up as bashing them for being who they are.
If you’re both unhappy in the relationship, it’s better if it ends as quickly and painlessly as possible.
7. You chase past feelings.
It’s okay to reminisce about the past, but if all you do is wish things were like they used to be, it’s a sign you’re not on the right path.
You’re unhappy and, at the very least, you need to have an open dialogue about it. This isn’t necessarily a sign that the relationship should end, but it definitely needs a spark.
When you talk to your partner candidly about what it is you’re looking for, you never know how they’ll react. The risk alone is worth it, good or bad.
If you’re feeling stuck in your current relationship, it’s time to reflect about it with your partner. Don’t ignore these signs of an unhappy relationship as they will slowly go worse and harm both you and your partner in long-term.
Featured photo credit: josh peterson via unsplash.com