Life Hasn’t Turned Out As I Expected

Has life turned out as you expected? Life hasn’t turned out as I expected. I thought I would be happily married with a 4×4 in the double garage and a house full of people and dogs. My reality is completely different, although I am not particularly unhappy. It seems quite common to end up with a life that isn’t quite what you envisioned.

Mismatched expectations can cause a lot of grief. It’s almost as if you go through a bereavement, where you mourn the loss of the life you envisaged and begin to accept the reality that is. Reality is often very different from the dreams we had when we were younger – get a good job, be successful, buy a house, get married, travel often and be happy. That’s the standard version but we can all think of ideal situations that we wished and strived for.

There is the old adage, it’s not what happens to you but what you think about what happens that matters. In this instance this is relevant. Once you accept where you are instead of resisting it,  you will be in a better place to start embracing your life. Self-improvement is easier from a healthy perspective. The problems begin when you cling on to an old ideal and find it impossible to adapt. The happiest people in life are those that are adaptable and have flexible thinking.

No situation is all bad and turning your attention to the parts that you are grateful for will automatically help you see things with a fresh perspective. Just because your life isn’t what you expected doesn’t mean that there aren’t positives. It isn’t true that the grass is always greener on the other side. Thinking about the benefits of your situation rather than hankering after an alternate reality is wasted mental energy. Work with reality and what you have.

Who knows – that perfect marriage you envisioned may never have been on the cards for you. I am fatalistic about these things and believe in destiny. Perhaps we are all here for a purpose and things happen for a reason.

Write down a list of the things that you can control/influence and begin with these items on your list. You will gain a sense of accomplishment as well as a sense that you are not powerless. Focus on your strengths and your values. When you live life according to your values, you gain the effects of a natural antidepressant. Create a life where you include activities that promote and support your values. It’s no good being stuck in a relationship if you prize adventure and being able to live alone nor is it a good idea to work for a bank if your underlying value is environmental protection (unless you can incorporate it in other ways)

Dream a little…what have you always wanted to do but didn’t due to lack of resources/fear? Can you do them now? Can you volunteer or use your skills to help others? Giving back brings tremendous rewards and fulfillment.

Think outside the box and be positive about your future. You are only trapped if you believe you are. The world is full of possibilities at all ages.

Mandy x

Photo by whoislimos on Unsplash

Mandy Kloppers
Author: Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a qualified therapist who treats depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, trauma, and many other types of mental health issues. She provides online therapy around the world for those needing support and also provides relationship counselling.

Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a qualified therapist who treats depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, trauma, and many other types of mental health issues. She provides online therapy around the world for those needing support and also provides relationship counselling.

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