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    Post Finding the good enough

    I have this irrational fear that I'm going to waste my life; A fear of missing out on experiences I could have had, of not reaching my full potential, and of regretting my life when I'm old as stupid as it sounds. Because of this I'm always in this perpetual state of things never been good enough for me now, even though I have a lot to be grateful for, and that sucks.


    How can I teach myself to just be happy with things as they are now? Will I just grow out of this? Should I change anything?

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    "sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I'm not living" - jonathan safran foer

    sometimes i think about it and get a feeling of dread in my stomach.

    but even if you had infinite time and resources, you could spend your whole life traveling and having adventures, but you'd miss out on knowing the security and peace of mind that comes from having a place called home. you could devote your life to some ascetic religious ideal that has lots of meaning to you and have a sense of higher meaning, but it would come at the expense of many hedonistic pleasures.

    so you're missing out no matter what. and you're in large part forced to decide what you want out of life before you've even experienced it enough to know for sure that its what you actually want. i think life is less like a blank page (even though i like that kerouac quote too) and more like a branching thing where certain paths lead you to other paths, etc...a choose your own adventure book, lol.

    if you're super unhappy and you have the freedom to make major changes in your life, why not? see what happens. but if its more of an existential dilemma that you know will never go away, i'm not sure what to say, i guess you need to find your own way of dealing with it via a shift in perspective...for me thinking about how i actually am somewhat limited in my options is kind of reassuring, lol.

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    For some reason, when I think about the people who died on 9/11, I feel a sense of guilt. Their lives ended, and mine has gone on, I'm breathing air and taking up space and what am I doing with that privilege?
    You seek a great fortune, you three who are now in chains. You will find a fortune, though it will not be the one you seek.
    But first you must travel a long and difficult road, a road fraught with peril.
    You shall see things, wonderful to tell. You shall see a... cow... on the roof of a cotton house. And, oh, so many startlements.
    I cannot tell you how long this road shall be, but fear not the ob-stacles in your path, for fate has vouchsafed your reward.
    Though the road may wind, yea, your hearts grow weary, still shall ye follow them, even unto your salvation
    .


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pukq_XJmM-k

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    @Iris - you're being a nice and helpful person (at least that's how you've been towards me)... and this is a lot. You probably influence other people's lives in ways you don't consider special, just by being "you". One doesn't need to be a rocket scientist to change the world. Each and every one of us does this every day in the limited piece of the world and human interactions we experience.

    @OP - think of what kind of person you would like to be or you would like to meet and try on focusing what parts of this you see in yourself and what parts you may work towards achieving and (the most difficult part) try to let go of the rest. Perfection is impossible, so is living outside any limitations, but we are constantly making choices that can lead our lives in a direction closer to our dreams. And in case of a typical "the grass is greener" syndrome that everyone sometimes experiences - it's worth actually sitting down and visualising having this other "grass" in detail - you might then realise you actually don't want it. You might not need a huge change, but some adjustments to make things more interesting to you.
    And if it turns out you need a huge change - and it scary - maybe it doesn't need to go in one swift move and can be divided into smaller more attainable steps...?
    A "bucket list" isn't such a bad idea, either imho.
    That's my 2 cents.

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    The Soul Happy-er JWC3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ainfigur View Post
    I have this irrational fear that I'm going to waste my life; A fear of missing out on experiences I could have had, of not reaching my full potential, and of regretting my life when I'm old as stupid as it sounds. Because of this I'm always in this perpetual state of things never been good enough for me now, even though I have a lot to be grateful for, and that sucks.


    How can I teach myself to just be happy with things as they are now? Will I just grow out of this? Should I change anything?
    Just do the best you can in the moment to live life to it's fullest and evetually you'll get so good at this skill that there really won't be any way for life to be better. The past is over and the future comes soon enough, practice now and reap the rewards for the rest of your life.
    Easy Day

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    It may sound counterproductive at first, but try not to see your life as something valuable. What has no value can't be wasted.

    Our economic thinking (especially prominent in people of the western hemisphere) forces us to extract the greatest benefit from everything. But this attitude can lead to thoughts like the ones you have expressed in your OP.

    Look at the animals around you. Do they think about wasting their time? No. And yet, all they do is the very basics of life (from a human perspective) and then they just die. No careers, no world trips, no special accomplishments. I'd suggest you not to be too worried about what you do. Set your own (realistic) goals and take the steps necessary to reach them. It's important that you have a personal motivation. Try to find out what's really important to you and that'll be more than enough.
    „Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.“
    – Arthur Schopenhauer

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    Quote Originally Posted by lungs View Post
    "sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I'm not living" - jonathan safran foer

    sometimes i think about it and get a feeling of dread in my stomach.

    but even if you had infinite time and resources, you could spend your whole life traveling and having adventures, but you'd miss out on knowing the security and peace of mind that comes from having a place called home. you could devote your life to some ascetic religious ideal that has lots of meaning to you and have a sense of higher meaning, but it would come at the expense of many hedonistic pleasures.

    so you're missing out no matter what. and you're in large part forced to decide what you want out of life before you've even experienced it enough to know for sure that its what you actually want. i think life is less like a blank page (even though i like that kerouac quote too) and more like a branching thing where certain paths lead you to other paths, etc...a choose your own adventure book, lol.

    if you're super unhappy and you have the freedom to make major changes in your life, why not? see what happens. but if its more of an existential dilemma that you know will never go away, i'm not sure what to say, i guess you need to find your own way of dealing with it via a shift in perspective...for me thinking about how i actually am somewhat limited in my options is kind of reassuring, lol.
    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post
    You will not grow out of it. If you're unhappy now for feeling like you're wasting potential, per the rest of your post, then that feeling will only get worse as time goes on, making you feel more like you should have used your time for something - to head in a certain focused/decided direction, toward something you want to have. What you should change depends on what you want, and I'll explain.



    This is really good, lungs! Very helpful for people, you EII Humanitarian, you.

    I just want to add on to the bolded part - from my experience of talking with lots of people, if you ask them them what they want in life, they don't know what to say, since they've never thought about it before or don't know. They usually will just say something basic trying to sound good. A much better question, imo, would be 'What's important to you?' Then let the person answer.

    For me, deciding what's important to me was relatively easy when I knew what to do. I learned I just had to think back to moments in my childhood/teenage years when I was the happiest. What was I doing at the time? Why was I happy? How close was I with family? What activities were I doing? What did I like getting attention for? What were my friends like? How close was I with other people? Was I happy being by myself? What at the time was I focused on?

    Questions like those in the paragraph above helped me find connections between the moments where I was happy, and really understand what things are personally important to me. After learning that, I just had to try to recreate those moments/situations in my adult life.

    Ainfigur, I'd suggest taking some time, even if you have to sit in complete silence for 30 minutes, and hour, whatever it takes, and just think. What do you want your life to be like in 5 years? What will your family be like? Do you want to have traveled anywhere? What kind of career do you want? What kind of house do you want to live in? What kind of clothes do you want to wear? Try to envision your future as specific and as detailed as possible.

    After you do that, the rest is easy. Beginning with the end in mind, work backwards. To get that 5 years from now, what do you need to have done 4 years from now? 3 years? 2 years? This year? What do you need to do each month this year to get what you want? What do you need to do each week this month to get what you want by the end of the month? Lastly - and most importantly - what do you need to be doing each DAY to get what you want?

    Once you know what daily action you need to do, this is when TIME can actually be on your side - rather than feeling like it's being wasted, if you know how to do your daily action consistently every single day, then over TIME the results will compound exponentially and you will be moving your life in the direction of your choosing.

    Let me give an example. Say someone wants to lose weight. They make a 1-year goal, work backwards and decide they want to work out every day for 20 minutes. Will it make a difference the first day? No. After 2 days? Probably not. After 1 week? Probably won't be that much different. But check this out:

    If they keep working out every day for a simple 20 minutes, over the course of 1 year they will have worked out for over 120 hours!!! Now that's time-compounding working in your favor! Your body will definitely be a lot healthier if you can give it 120 more hours of heart-pumping exercise. That person is guaranteed to lose weight for exercising 120 hours in 1 year.

    Another example - if you read 2 books a week for 10 years, you will have read over 1,000 books. And you can't read 1000 books without it drastically affecting your thinking and influencing your lifestyle. What should you read about? It depends what you want to learn. But that's another example of how the amount of knowledge you have can drastically change over time, and you can learn and master whatever you want, if you're willing to make that simple daily decision every single day and be consistent.

    Once you know that daily decision you need to do, be warned and remember - it's very easy NOT to do it. Why? Because there are no consequences for NOT doing it. You won't be punished and likely won't see any difference that 1 day from not doing it. But remember, over TIME the punishment will come out, or you'll feel guilty for not using time in your favor to craft the life you want. The simple daily decision can be easy to do, you just have to stay focused and have faith and continue to be consistent. Luckily being consistent will also help keep your emotions steady, and the longer you stay in the process and make something a habit, the easier it is to stay in the process.

    This post was long, but to sum up: To be happy in life, you have to figure out what's important to you and then use that to create your future. You figure out what's important to you by looking at your past and when you were most happy. Then you switch to the future and envision how you want your life to be like. With that picture in mind, you work backwards and set goals each step of the process, until you have narrowed it down to a single daily action you need to take to reach what you want. Once you know that - keep doing it! Stay consistent. Have faith that you'll reach your goal, and keep doing that daily action. Over time, you will reach your potential and your goals and be happier for using time to your advantage.
    I think you guys hit the nail on the head. My problem is a lack of a coherent direction, just from putting off making any kind of absolute commitment in this respect. I know exactly what I want from the future and how to get there, and I'm letting this anxiety stop me because I feel might be missing out something better. So i'm going to do as you suggested William and plan the details out, and stick to it.

    This was really good advice thank you everyone.

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    well this is how I look at it metaphysically:

    The 'all' is a continuous beam of everything. Think about it. People appear to die and grow old and go away, yet look around and everything is always still here, and you still have stories and memories about them just like they have stories and memories of you.

    Loss is everything and nothing at the same time. It's the poetic mystery. You are only depressed because you are looking at the sad/death. But that's really just a small part of it.

    Besides I believe in ghosts. If you died in a way that was brutal/sociopathic/unnatural you will just hold on until the issue is resolved. And remember, forgiveness is ego's kypronite. But if you genuinely hurt innocent people you still have karma to watch out for. It's not something like where you can just keep doing shitty things to people because you'll be 'forgiven' - saying sorry when you think you may have done harm is a great way to build deep friendships.

    Perfect is completion , it is the all. But it's boring. God is boring , church is boring it's all just so boring. You don't want to be a boring plain jane with no color - that is just a dull attempt at trying to make somebody else happy at the expense of your own happiness. Even though an evil wizard killing people is an illusion, it's interesting, so that's why our minds let things like rape/murder/hate crimes happen because it becomes a reality, it makes it all the worth fighting for. You'll never think you are perfect even when you always are perfect, so don't worry about it - and don't let the illusion of death get you down so much. Narcisisstic hollywood writers want you to feel sad about it because it feeds their ego. Just don't give them a satisfaction. For every .000001 kitten eaten, is twenty billion kittens cuddled and adored.

    Positivity is inevitable.

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    You could try keeping a gratitude journal. I started doing this a couple of years ago and it's really mind blowing when you start to see how amazing your life really is. I also lost 7 close family members in a matter of 3-4 years. That put a lot of things into perspective for me. You just have to live your life one day at a time*, enjoying all the beauties along the way


    *I don't mean not to make long-term goals by this statement

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    The way I try to solve this problem is: think about an event/action that, when completed, will bring you a life long satisfaction. For example, an innovative intellectual contribution, finishing a maraton, creating your own clothes, having 5 kids. Then find a way to actually do it. In my experience, when you've been able to do this, you can look back to your life and say "life has been worth living because of X, Y, Z". DON'T use objectives which require a lot of luck or a truly enormous amount of effort to be completed (say, becoming the president of the US or winning a Nobel prize are generally bad motivators because you can't just put a lot of effort and be "sure" that you will manage, you also need an enormous amount of luck). Use objectives that you can realistically complete given your resources and current level of motivation.

    I think William worded it much more nicely.
    Obsequium amicos, veritas odium parit

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