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Are You Defining Your Life or is Your Life Defining You?

Deciding what you want for yourself in life can be difficult. To choose certain pursuits mean that you must give up some alternatives. Despite the anxiety this can cause, it is a fulfilling task to determine what you want to achieve in your life. Many people avoid such a responsibility by allowing others, family, friends, or society at large, to decide their life goals for them. This approach is easier, and may allow you to fit in. However, you may find yourself feeling empty or self-unsatisfied with how your life has been going. Those who do not actively decide what they value risk taking on goals they don’t genuinely care about. Such outcomes are often seen in people who are unsatisfied with their career, social life, or hobbies, yet don’t explore alternatives because they are meeting someone else’s expectation for what a successful life looks like.

            So how do you begin to take an active role in determining what you really want to do with your life? One exercise that may help is to consider your future obituary. Obituaries are a good summary of your life. How would you want your obituary to describe you and your efforts at the end of your life? Compare this to how you see your obituary reading if you continue your life without making any major changes. How similar or different are these two summaries of your life? This simple exercise can help you begin to understand how close you really are to living in a way that is satisfying and meaningful to you.

            If you find yourself unsatisfied with life but don’t know what you want, it can be helpful to receive an outside perspective. Counseling is especially helpful in this regard. Some counselors specialize in helping you determine what purpose you want to make for yourself. If this topic is of concern to you there are therapists at Jerry Walker Therapy Services who can help you begin your journey of determining your life goals.