Someday I’ll Be Happy: How Live Beyond Just Getting By

kurtxio on flickr.comRobin contacted Someday Syndrome because she suffers from Someday My Ship Will Come In. She does not know what she wants. She just know that she does not want the life she has now.

When asked to finish the sentence “Someday I’ll…” she answered:

be happy.

She feels that she doesn’t accomplish much. She feels overloaded all the time and since she doesn’t know where to begin she does nothing.

She has tried reading motivational articles and journaling but neither has helped.

Finally, when asked how she pictures her life a year from now she said:

I really can’t answer that. Finances are short and I’m raising two small children alone. It’s hard to dream when you are barely getting by.

The Someday Challenge

First off, I congratulate Robin for getting by, even if it’s barely. Raising kids on her own is not a simple task and that victory needs to be celebrated.

There are probably many other things in Robin’s life currently what we could celebrate, but since Robin’s Someday is a general desire to be happy she likely doesn’t see much of those celebratory moments.

Speaking of her Someday, this is exactly what most people who suffer from Someday My Ship Will Come In feel. There is no future, no idea of what’s possible. There’s just blankness in the future and often bleakness in the now.

If Robin is going to bust her Somedays first we need to clear out this bleakness, then start building excitement.

The First Step

So, let’s take a look at this future blankness and present bleakness.

Many people will say things like “Come on! Put on a happy face! Fake it until you feel it!” and sometimes that works, but all too often it’s like painting over a damp patch in the wall that’s hiding major structural damage.

We need to pull the drywall down, clear out all the rotten supports and then rebuild the structure before we can decorate and make it look pretty.

In Robin’s case the unhappiness she feels is that rotten material behind the drywall. We need to clear it out before it causes the whole house to fall apart.

And the best way to clear out negative thoughts and emotions?

Put them down on paper. When emotions swirl around in our heads they build and build and build until they break out and cause more damage than a hurricane.

If however we let out the stream of emotions and thoughts in a controlled manner they don’t overwhelm or do damage. But putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard Robin can get rid of that overloaded feeling she mentioned.

Yes, it might seem like a strange thing to focus on the negative when we want to get Robin to a positive place, but unless she unloads all the negativity first the positive thoughts and actions will have no place to go. There’s currently no room for them.

Once Robin has this list of everything that’s wrong with her life right now, it’s time for one small success, some positive result based on a single action. Looking at the whole list of complaints, whines, moans and all the unhappy parts of her life, Robin will pick one small item and commit to changing it.

It might be as simple as a conscious decision to see mornings with the kids not as a battle to get them out of the house to playtime where she gets to spend time with them. Or a feeling that she’s not active enough and committing to a twenty minute walk three times a week.

Robin’s Homework:

  1. Write out everything that’s wrong with your life. Let it all hang out. Start with all the big stuff and take it right down to the minor irritations. Reward yourself with every page you fill. Nothing is too petty or going to be judged by anyone. This is just for you.
  2. Read through the list and pick one thing that you feel you could change. It needs to be something small, something that would take only one or at the most two steps to turn from negative to positive.
  3. Put the change into action and then pay attention to how the change makes you feel. Plus note if there are any side effects to this change (positive or negative).
  4. Pick a second small irritation and change that, then a third and a fourth, each time paying attention to the consequences of each change.

The Long Term

Once Robin starts to see the positive effects of the small changes she is making, she’ll then want to start building up the structure of the wall we’ve torn out.

To do that she’ll need to figure out what she wants out of life. Sounds easy but it’s not. It will require a lot of inward reflection and self-awareness.

The effort will be worth it, especially for her children. Robin can use them as a motivator – if she can find her dream and pursue it, think of the great lesson she’ll teach her children in the process.

What do you think? If you were Robin’s Someday Mentor what would you suggest? Join the discussion over on the Facebook Someday Syndrome fan page.

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9 thoughts on “Someday I’ll Be Happy: How Live Beyond Just Getting By

  1. Talk about taking me back in time…. this was me several years ago, except I had only one child. Was on welfare, working at a tax free job that I hated in order to send my daughter to the school I wanted her to go to and to be able to afford to run my car. I learnt so much during that time of my life. I never ever want to go back there, but I’m thankful I had that experience – something you can only say when you’re out the other end of it!

    Something else for Robin to realise, is that this is only a stage in life. It will not be like this forever, it only feels that it will. Knowing that hope is there, that one day things will improve, is so so important for her.

    Robin, you’re doing an amazing job. Raising kids is hard, raising them on your own is triple hard. Well done for having the guts to reach out and admit that you don’t want your life to continue like this. Keep going. And huge (((((hugs))))) from someone who has been there and survived and is not thriving.
    .-= Melinda | WAHM Biz Builder´s last blog ..Imagine Slowing Down and Getting More Done =-.

  2. kazari says:

    I would start at the other end of the equation. Don’t make a list of everything that sucks – I’m sure Robyn knows that inside out.
    Instead, make a ta dah! list instead of a to do list. This just means, at the end of the day, make a list of everything, big and small, you actually did. No really! Maybe you didn’t get to the grocery store, but fed the kids three meals, did a couple loads of laundry, got to the post office… I find most mums completely disregard the work they do, focussing on the stuff that didn’t happen.
    Also, I keep a gratitude journal. It sounds so sappy, but honestly, in the bleakest parts of my life it really helped. It helps you figure out what you’re drawn to, as well as celebrating the small wins.
    And I mean small – I try to write 3 things a day, and sometimes it’s ‘change in the bottom of my bag, a smiley post man and tomatoes’.
    hope this helps!
    k
    .-= kazari´s last blog ..Just when I wasn’t looking… =-.

  3. Awesome post and challenge!
    .-= positively present´s last blog ..words to live by: i will be grateful for this day =-.

  4. Eliza says:

    @Melinda – I lived on welfare too. Single mom with 3 kids, in full time college for retraining. And I am eternally grateful for that experience. It taught me that it doesn’t take money to better your life. It takes determination of spirit, and the loving support of family and friends.
    .-= Eliza´s last blog ..The (Mis)Adventures of Mike: Mapping out business processes =-.

  5. I think she should go out and help other people. Sometimes too much introspection can be a bad thing. Check out the lives of people who are even worse off than her – the subsistence farmers, the terminally ill and help her be grateful for what she has right now.

    I’m sure you’ll help her get sorted:)

  6. Robin Lee says:

    Annabell, I agree with getting out and helping others but right now I’m living with my Mother who is terminally ill with lung cancer that has metastisized tot he brain. She only has a few months left to live so althought I’m grateful it’s not me that’s ill. I feel awful for my Mom to have to wake up everyday and realize that it’s all coming to an end. I’m not sure trying to help others right now is something I can do.

  7. Alex Fayle says:

    @Melinda
    That’s exactly it – this isn’t a permanent situation and Robin will come out the other end, stronger and ready to tackle whatever dream she has.

    @Kazari
    I agree that most mums value the work they do on a daily basis – because they don’t earn money for it, they forget how important it is.

    The reason I asked Robin to write out the negative is to get it out of her head. As you said she knows it inside out, but often it runs on a loop and by writing it down we break the loop and allow ourselves to see what’s really bothering us instead of what’s a minor irritation.

    I do like your 3 small things list though!

    @Positively Present
    Thanks Dani!

    @Eliza
    I’m sure Robin feels better knowing that others did the same and have not just gotten through it but thrived on the other side.

    @Annabel
    Too much introspection is definitely a bad thing, which is why I suggested finding small victories – if Robin can build confidence with small changes she’ll be able to break the loop of negativity that’s spinning through your head.

    @Robin
    I’m sorry to hear about your mother. That’s adding a huge stress to your life right now I’m sure of it. And you’re right, finding even more people to help is not something you could probably cope with at the moment. Take care of yourself first!

  8. Great post Alex!

    Constantly writing about personal development topics, I often ask myself what advice I would give to those in situations where they feel “hopeless” and I have to say this post is probably the best advice that makes the most sense.

    I guess in those situations there are no “quick fixes” and you just have to focus on all the small things until eventually you’ve built up enough strength, and enough of a foundation to start making big changes.

    Thanks again Alex, I’ve learned a lot.
    .-= Jonathan Beebe´s last blog ..Improving Your Life in 31 Days =-.

  9. Alex Fayle says:

    @Jonathan
    Thanks! And yes, you’re right. There are no quick fixes but we can find quick victories that give us the confidence and patience to wait out the slow fix.

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