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Why It’s Definitely Fine That You Fall Behind In Life Sometimes

Why It’s Definitely Fine That You Fall Behind In Life Sometimes

We’ve all been there. We’ve all experienced those times in life when you are utterly confused about your life purpose, you get a sense that you aren’t where you thought you’d be by now, and you secretly compare your life to those around you, using them as a benchmark to your own. Life is full of “should” and “shouldn’ts” that lead us to feeling pressure and unhappiness.

You lack motivation and that inspired action just isn’t coming to you. You start to panic that it’ll never come and you’ll stay in this space of dissatisfaction forever. If this sounds familiar, then you’re not alone. We often end up at a stage in life that isn’t anywhere where we thought we were going to be, but I’m here to tell you that it’s okay. Here is why falling behind in life isn’t as bad as we perceive it to be.

Give Yourself A Break

The problem comes when we believe we are falling behind in life, but by who’s standards or ideals exactly? Society has a lot to answer for when it comes to pressuring us into being at certain stages of life at certain times, but everyone is unique. Different circumstances happen to different people. We all have different personalities, different dreams, and different beliefs, so we can’t all be the same. So it’s really important to give yourself a break.

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So what if you aren’t as far along in your career as you thought you’d be? So what if you’re at the age when you “should” be married and having children but you’re not even close? You aren’t alone in feeling this way and it’s better to be in a relaxed state than creating stress and anxiety in your life.

Surrender To Timing And Trust It

You’re probably thinking it’s too hard to relax when you feel like a failure and you can’t quite see how it’s all going to change. It’s very easy to think like this — we’re human after all. But remember that life is all about timing — think back to all your past situations, relationships, friendships, or jobs that came into your life at the right moment.

Accept that you can’t conjure up motivation if it’s just not there and there’s no point in forcing it. Relaxing is the best way to let any of that good inspiration in but also honour the fact that life can get in the way sometimes. Sometimes we’re just going through things we can’t control, things that influence how we feel and can take our focus away from what we want.

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Surrender to the fact that it’s all about timing and trust that things will work out for you when they’re meant to. Feeling lost doesn’t mean you’re doomed or that your life is hopeless. It simply means that something better is waiting for you.

Everyone Is On Their Own Path

Making comparisons is the worst thing we can do, yet we all do this! Sometimes you can feel perfectly content with life until suddenly you wake up one day and all your friends are married with kids and you’re not even close to all that. Maybe everyone around you is buying a house and you’re still renting because you can’t quite afford it yet. Then the feeling of failure creeps in that breaks down that happiness vibe — you feel you’re never going to have what someone else has, or that there’s something wrong with you.

But we absolutely cannot compare ourselves to others — others who are on a completely different personal journey to ours. Just because they’re in our life doesn’t mean our life has to mirror theirs. You don’t truly know their life journey or what lessons they are learning — what seems like perfection on the outside is rarely the case.

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Listening to others’ opinions about your life situation when they are in completely different life stages or circumstances to you is extremely detrimental to your overall outlook. When we feel sensitive or vulnerable about our own life dissatisfaction, we tend to value other people’s opinions over our own inner feelings and guidance, so choose to ignore any negative beliefs from others and concentrate on trusting the process and the right outcomes happening at the right time.

Remember It’s All A Learning Curve

Don’t think that this is a time in your life where you’re not moving forward or learning anything. All situations in our life — positive and negative — are there to teach us something, even if it’s really really not obvious to us.

Again, it all comes down to timing. Perhaps you need another year of life experience or there’s something you need to realise about yourself that you can only find by taking time out to be by yourself before you let in that great relationship. Maybe a series of events is waiting to happen before you get that great job, events that will show you something or guide you in the right direction. Perhaps your current feelings of sadness are what will eventually propel you to building your life. Sometimes we’re not yet the people we need to be in order to get to our perceived destination, and that’s perfectly okay.

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This is why it’s so important to relax and realise not everything is in your control. Knowing we can’t control every outcome is crucial, as life is uncertain and unpredictable and often outside of what we can understand. What we can do is establish healthy habits and grow from our experiences.

Stop Beating Yourself Up

At the end of the day, we need to be positive and kind to ourselves. We need to stop pressuring ourselves and beating ourselves up because we haven’t lined up with what we want just yet.

Lessen the shame that surrounds your idea that you’re somehow not doing your best. Life is full of ebbs and flows but you are always travelling down the path, so trust that you are heading in the right direction even if you can’t fully see the path itself. Try and ignore the “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” that seem to dominate our lives so much. At the end of the day, they are only other people’s beliefs and ideas. Relax — you are not actually falling behind in life, you are exactly where you’re meant to be.

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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