Searching for Happiness – Are you living someone else’s life?

Are you settling? Do you ever stop and ask yourself why am I even doing this?

Stuck in that job, that relationship, that town, that lifestyle, because you are afraid because you are comfortable?

You may be settling for someone else’s life and not even realize that you are doing it.

As children, we are often taught by our parents to get good jobs, stay at that job, buy a house, have kids and settle down into a cookie cutter life and experience safe, nice, happinessfluffy, happiness.

Thanks, parents, sounds magical.

But what happens when things don’t fit into that picture? What happens if your passions or desires take you outside of that box? What happens if your, their plan comes crumbling down?

Well, it probably will. Very few safely stumble towards a cookie cutter form of happiness untouched. The safety, and serenity. This false dream can cause us so much pain and disappointment in ourselves when we begin to realize that things are not as they have been made to seem. We feel like we have failed, failed at a dream that was not even our own.

I mean no offense parents, but teaching your kids that this is the only path to follow could cause them to feel a lot of disappointment, feel like failures and maybe even be afraid to be who or what they truly are.

I mean fast forward to 2016 and that cookie cutter life of our parent’s dreams doesn’t have much room for streamlined growth anymore, does it? Times have changed so much that its hard to take the guidance and advice of happiness that they set out as solid and achievable anymore isn’t it?

Maybe it’s just me, but I spent a lot of time feeling lost from following the guidance of others that lead me to a path that was not my own to follow.

There are people experiencing debt trying to achieve this dream of happiness, marrying people they don’t truly love, putting their dreams on the back burner. It’s a dangerous road to follow.

To those people I say.

You do not have to live this way. Twenty or forty years ago, sacrifice in this way was necessary for the growth in life that created comfort and stability. Families were large, education and self-improvement was a small idea on the shadow of a bigger ideal.

This is not the world of today. Today you are free to take your time. This is our new world where there should be no one accumulating debt and unhappiness from old dreams or struggles. Today is an age in which we are free to write our own scripts in life, take our time and achieve what we want when we want and how we want. How lucky are we?

Thank you, parents, this is after all what you worked so hard for. Is it not?

This is meant in no way to deter people from having families or homes or any matter of traditional security and happiness. This is meant to urge you to look at your life. I mean really look at it. To ensure that your dreams and goals are founded on personal desire and not the result of another’s personal desire.

You may feel like a failure without being one at all. I mean who gets to decide what is a success? What is happiness?

Why try to shove yourself into a box in which you do not belong? A box that someone else placed in front of you and said, now “crawl in”.

Be who you want to be when you want to be it. Why? Because that is the world we live in today Not a selfish world, but a world of greater opportunity than our parents or their parents ever could have imagined. A world where the smallest or simplest of dreams can become reality if only you have the courage to create your own path. To free yourself from boxes and labels and live in the moments as they pass fully and uniquely.

Take these steps to consider the true personal motives of your life goals. Stop and take a moment to see if the life you are living is your own. This simple exercise could be the spark of courage you need to pursue your true dreams and passions.

steps happines.jpg

Step 1

Sit quietly with yourself and write a list of all the future and current goals in your life.

Step 2

Apply these three questions to each point written on your list. (Make sure you look inward for these questions not outward, try not to think about the effect on others if you can avoid it, be selfish in your analysis)

  • Where did the original inspiration for this goal come from? My parents, media, friends, myself?
  • Does this goal bring ME true happiness and warm my soul?
  • Will this goal set me up for future success and further inspiration?

Now take stock of how you feel about your answers. Are you surprised by your answers?

Step 3

Choose a completely different outcome or goal from the one originally listed, the first one that comes to mind. Write it down. Be as creative as you want.

Apply Step 2 to your new goal.

What do you think about this alternate reality? Do you feel more inspired? Or does it confirm your confidence in the original goal? What have you learned?

These three steps may seem a little daunting. So if you are short on time start with one or two things and analyze those.

It is easy to follow a path that has been set ahead of you by those before, and sometimes those footsteps lead you to a great sense of who you are and what you want. But at some point, you will have to follow your own path and dreams, with little or no guidance other than your own intuition. At some point, you will break the mold of your life. So why not do it in a productive way? Why not find your own options?

Don’t box yourself in. Try everything and anything, fail and then try again.

That is what life is about.

If you are searching for happiness you will not find it down another’s path. You will not enjoy the views or the flowers, a journey enjoyed can only be your own.

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  1. Sarah @ | 14th Oct 16

    This is such a great post! Sometimes I find myself achieving something big, but not feeling really happy or even remotely good about it, even if I thought it was something I really wanted to do. Lately, I’m trying to reflect on my life goals and understand if they’re genuinely from me or if I’ve been influenced by someone else. I am a great fan of lists, so I’m definitely trying the three steps you suggested.

    • StephJ | 14th Oct 16

      Awesome! Please let me know how they go? I found them very useful when I felt similarly.

  2. Libby | 14th Oct 16

    Thank you so much for this post. I have been feeling exactly as you stated for a while and trying to figure out what my next step is and how best to get there. I have always struggled with worrying about what other’s will think and I know I have to take a leap of faith on myself and do what makes me happy too!

    • StephJ | 14th Oct 16

      Yes for sure! IIt is something that I think every single person struggles with at some point, totally normal and ok. It is nice to have a little boost to follow our own path every now and then. Good luck 🙂

  3. Rachel Peachey | 14th Oct 16

    Thanks for your post! Yes, society sets a standard for us…but who says we have to follow it? Way to be brave and make your own way for happiness!

    • StephJ | 14th Oct 16

      thanks for reading 🙂

  4. S.K. | 14th Oct 16

    Simple, well-written…

  5. krisvais | 15th Oct 16

    This is so true! We’ve been conditioned to create an image for ourselves and do stuff to keep up that image. This is a great reminder to be true to ourselves and the world! Great steps to live by 🙂

    • StephJ | 16th Oct 16

      Thank you! I am glad you agree 😊

  6. passionistaatlarge | 15th Oct 16

    This is really great! I absolutely did what you described…followed my parents’ ideas about happiness. It took until I was 55 to realize I wanted more. And I wanted to BE who I was created to be. Thus began a journey toward that goal, and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, doing things I love!

    • StephJ | 16th Oct 16

      Awesome! There is nothing selfish about devoting love to yourself and creating a life you love ❤️

  7. Alka Sharma | 16th Oct 16

    Beware of the seduction of safety, it is more dangerous than the illusion of uncertainty

  8. Sam Kinzie | 17th Oct 16

    I am on my own path of happiness and this post really put things into perspective for me. You are wise beyond your years and will go far in life. Thanks for your input, it’s very inspirational!

    • StephJ | 18th Oct 16

      Thank you for your kind comment. Cheers! 🙂

  9. sasha | 24th Oct 16

    Great steps to start and do😊

  10. Habiba | 7th Dec 16

    This post is amazing! It actually is a help to me as I was a bit down today.

    • StephJ | 7th Dec 16

      I am glad to hear it! We all need a little motivation sometimes 🙂

  11. noellekelly | 6th Jun 17

    I adore this! I left a permanent job I hated and went contracting and now do something totally different. I don’t regret it for a second. Also, I really want to be writing a lot and I finish on time and do that and spend time with family and friends. So much more important than my say job to me 😉

    • StephJ | 6th Jun 17

      that is amazing! It can be hard to change things up and I know a lot of people feel pressure to stay the safe and normal route in their careers. But it’s your life after all!

      • noellekelly | 6th Jun 17

        Yes, life is too short to hate your job 🙂

  12. Searching for Happiness – PT4: Supporting your Spirit | 14th Jun 17

    […] Stop comparing: There is literally no reason to compare your life to anyone else’s, it is a waste of time and an inaccurate way to track progress. You are you… go at your own pace. Searching for Happiness – Are you living someone else’s life? […]

  13. angelanoelauthor | 5th Oct 17

    A woman I profiled for my blog, Melissa, came to mind when I read your post. She described her own life very much how you described a person “living someone else’s life.” I know I let too many outside forces shape the path of my life. And without knowing why, I sought ways to rebel, but never really in the right direction, until MUCH later in life. Getting to know yourself (myself) was the key to choosing my own life path. Looking back at my parents and other influencers with gratitude, I could say, “Thank you for the information.” But make the decision to use their advice or not. I like the steps you include here. Very thoughtful and useful.

    • stephaniewp | 6th Oct 17

      Thank you! I think it is very liberating when you realize your own inner voice and confidence in order to determine who and what you want to be. More people should think critically about their motives, it would help many with authenticity. 🙂

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