You’ve followed all the rules, you’ve listened to everyone’s advice, and you’ve done everything you were expected to do. But you still feel unfulfilled and possibly even unhappy.
I’m so happy to be guest posting at Your Life After 25 today, and am looking forward to sharing insights for finding your own happiness, on your own terms. I want to help you create your own personal reality.
And let me reassure you, life after 25 is amazing!
Growing up, I had always been Miss Perfect, making decisions based on pleasing others. Layers of self-imposed rules and responsibilities came crashing down when I was in my early 20s. After I met my biological mother (I was adopted as an infant), I had a crisis of faith, a crisis of identity, and a crisis of sanity.
I broke off an engagement to a perfectly nice man, I moved 3000-miles away from my family, and after September 11, 2001, it all became too much. I ended up in a mental hospital believing I was a spy personally responsible for the terror attacks. No joke.
I waited ten years before I was ready to write a memoir about it called, Adopted Reality. My bipolar delusion was harrowing and scary. But you don’t have to hit bottom like I did in order to be a normal, happy, healthy person. Learning how to define your own personal reality will allow you to shed others’ expectations and find true happiness.
When is the last time you took an honest look at yourself, your day-to-day behaviors, your motivations? Be sure that these are your opinions of yourself, not your mother’s, your significant other’s, or your best friend’s.
Do you like what you see?
If the answer isn’t an unequivocal and enthusiastic “yes,” stop here and take a deep breath. There’s no need to berate yourself or to feel guilty. However, by taking this inventory, you’ll begin to see target areas for improvement. Be careful, it’s not about deciding “I want the perfect body.” Instead, it’s about realizing that your late-night cookie binge is triggered by a criticizing boyfriend.
For me, my fierce moral inventory helped me realize that I didn’t want to fit into a regimented role of perfect wife and perfect mother. I didn’t want to be reined in at all times by the confines of my strict religious upbringing. I didn’t want to be controlled by the negative thought processes that had plagued me for most of my young adult life.
Discovering My Personal Reality
With the help of a psychologist trained in cognitive therapy, I defined “normal” on my own terms. I no longer had to live my life according to what I felt others wanted me to do, how others wanted me to look, or how others wanted me to be.
To ask myself what I wanted out of my own life was an eye-opening experience. To realize that I no longer had to feel guilty for going with my gut was freeing. To reach for what I wanted to achieve, on my own terms, well, that was what made me happy.
Do you feel confined by your negative thoughts? Are you ready to make a change in how you live your life? How do you define happiness? How have you created your own personal reality? I’d love to hear what you think! Post a comment below, or connect with me online.
Laura Dennis currently lives in Serbia with her husband and two children. But her path to normal-living was nowhere near a straight line! Her harrowing 9/11 memoir, ADOPTED REALITY, is now available on Amazon.com.
Learn more about at AdoptedRealityMemoir.com
Follow Laura’s blog, adoptedrealitymemoir
Or just send me a plain-old email, laura @ adoptedrealitymemoir.com