Relationship & Dating

Is it Time to Recalibrate Your Life?

  • Apr 17, 2024
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Is it Time to Recalibrate Your Life?

Here we are, doing our lives in whatever that looks like for each of us.  We pass through our days in relationships, working, parenting, socializing, participating in hobbies, playing or just being. For many of us, as we age and move through different developmental stages, our perceptions, beliefs and priorities shift to some degree.  This can happen in a very subtle way, or suddenly get flipped on its head with unexpected life events, triggering a drive to burrow down more snuggly into what really matters to us.

These times can occur without awareness of them initially. My clients often bring a general sense of dissatisfaction into therapy.

The whispers of discontentment show themselves in a myriad of ways; malaise, stress, emptiness, loneliness, irritation, a felt sense of lack of quality relationships and/or substance abuse. Perhaps they have a sense of what needs to happen, simply needing some validation or a nudge towards change. Others don’t have clarity around why they aren’t feeling themselves but are hoping to get it.

At some point and perhaps many, you will likely contemplate change of some kind. Mid-life is a common time for this to happen as your awareness of aging sharpens. But viewpoint changes can happen any time and are a natural part of the flow of life. They can surround your work, intimate relationship, friendships and even  your relationship with yourself.

How do you know when it’s time to recalibrate your life?

Is your work life satisfactory?

If you work, like most people, you spend quite a few hours of the week (and thus, your life) doing that thing. Do you enjoy it? Is the work culture healthy? Not everyone feels they are in the position to make changes to their jobs but these days it’s become normalized to make moves at any age. Entire career changes later in life are no longer an anomaly. If your work is a source of chronic stress, for example, what is keeping you there? At what point is there a tipping point where the consequences outweigh the benefits?

Are you happy in your relationship?

If you are married or in a long-term relationship, is it a place of sustenance in the ways that you need? If not, have you tried to address this within the relationship? Go to couples therapy if need be. Avoid chronically sweeping issues under the rug in hopes they will go away. They will not but rather continue to slowly erode the foundation of your relationship and possibly eventually lead to a complete disconnection, whether articulated or not. The end result can be loneliness or seeking ways (consciously or unconsciously) to fill emotional gaps. Affairs often spring up out of this place.

If you are not happy, have made efforts to improve the situation to no avail and feel you’re at a dead end, there are choices. You can choose to stay in it (there are often legitimate reasons to consider this, particularly when children are involved) or you can leave. These days couples are taking a lot of midline approaches as well such as nesting.

Who are your friends?

Friendship is an important part of your web of support, social connectedness being protective for mental and physical health. With busy lives seemingly the norm, choices around who you give your precious time to are all the more critical. The measure of who you allocate your life to is subjective. What works for you may not work for another.

Start to notice the interactions you have with your friends. Do you feel heard, cared for and experience a reciprocity in the relationships?

If you don’t feel satisfied about some of those you’ve been spending time with, perhaps you want to do so less. Might it provide more value to you to move towards those who repeatedly demonstrate their care for you rather than those who you don’t, are an emotional drain or even cause harm to you.

Are you caring for yourself?

Self care is a protective action, with the power to prevent depression, anxiety, resentment and overall burnout. Know what is relaxing for you, rejuvenating and brings joy. No matter how busy your life is, find time to do these things. The more you are able to recharge in the ways that appeal to you, the more emotional resources you will have to show up in the other areas of your life such as work, with family and with friends.

Begin to think of self care in the same way as nutrition, physical activity and sleep. If you’ve previously attached self care to selfishness, it’s time to rethink this paradigm. Taking care of yourself in this way is akin to the “oxygen mask first” concept, your body, heart and mind all needing this to function optimally.

What is emotionally unresolved?

Much of the ability to change the above is dependent upon where you are psychologically.  You are more likely make shifts in your relationships, for example, if you don’t have deeper level emotional obstacles sabotaging your progress. You might be clear it would be beneficial to rethink some of these aspects of your life but be challenged in actually doing it. Why is this?

Prior emotional and relationship wounds can become vulnerabilities in your sense of self and how you relate to others. The coping mechanisms once effectively used to get through those experiences can become long term ways of operating and usually no longer needed. For example, if you learned that pleasing people would keep you emotionally safer than offering your opinions or speaking your mind, it would be understandably difficult to try to move away from friendships that don’t feel good now. Family of origin work can be really helpful, to help you understand the roots of your issues and how to untangle them.

Who are you?

If this is not clear, perhaps you need to spend some time doing some of the work described above. Those who have a clear sense of self typically feel internally secure, love themselves and find it more natural to show up outwardly in alignment with who they are inwardly. Authenticity is a sweet spot where you feel at ease expressing yourself, rather than editing, monitoring or possibly not offering much out of fear it won’t be accepted.

Maybe you haven’t really known who you are up to now, but would like to. This is not unusual, by the way. I’ve had many clients come to therapy trying to figure out who they are. If you unwrap their story, it becomes so clear as to why they don’t know! But they learn. You can always learn.

All of the above can come into play when considering whether it’s time for a life reset. There are of course many other areas you can look at but these primary buckets are big ticket items as they can be steeped with emotional payoffs and consequences.

Change moments aren’t about beating yourself up about how you’ve been before, but quite the contrary. They are an opportunity to reflect upon who you have been and who you want to be. If you are considering changes, it signals a growth mindset, desire for happiness and a curiosity about what the future could hold for you along whatever paths you choose to take.

 


Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by menshealthfits.
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