Dear Jennifer: Everyone thinks I have a perfect life. I’m involved in a relationship with a good man and no one knows that I really want to end it because I’m very unhappy and don’t want to continue. While I love him, I can’t see us together and I know in my heart I cannot marry him. My family and friends think I have a very good job and yet I am not happy there. I feel guilty because so many people don’t have work and I should be happy with what I have. But the politics in the workplace, the difficult energy and the people there are hard for me and I want to work at a different company. But then I wonder how I’ll get an interview, what will I say to my employer, who counts on me, how will people in my life react when they see me leaving my great job? I am so confused and don’t know why I cannot be happy with what I have.
Jennifer’s Answer: Acknowledging that you are unhappy is the first step but the next one is the hard one, making the choices and taking the actions that will help you be happy. That will take courage because you will be judged by others, who think that you should be happy with what they see are the many blessings in your life. Remember that they are seeing your situation from their perspective. They wish that they had a great job and a loving relationship and that is what they think you have. They cannot see these situations the way you do. The best thing for you to do is to stop judging yourself and take actions that make you happy.
You didn’t say what it is about your relationship that makes you unhappy but I think it is because you want some independence and you don’t have that in your life now, or in this relationship. The desire for freedom is more important to you than having a partner. While you say that you are ready to end it, I think you are more concerned with what people will think about your decision. Are you willing to hear others’ judgments for a while and will you feel that you have to defend your choice and explain your actions, or can you smile and tell them that this is what is best for you and for your fiance?
The job situation is also about your willingness to make choices that add to your joy and that make you happy, without worrying about what others will think. While your employer may depend on you now, they can and will find someone else if you decide to leave. Others may think that it is a good job but that definition is different for everyone. Some people love to wrestle alligators but I don’t think that is a job you would like. Send your resume to the places you are interested in, be positive and set some intentions for the work environment and energy you want. You can’t feel guilty about leaving a job while others are unemployed. There is a global shift in the world of work that is forcing people to stop connecting work, money and jobs and start using their gifts and talents in different ways. The new work environment will be more skills based, with people doing work they love and are happy with, not just having a job because that is how they can make money.
When you set an intention to be happy in your life and to make choices that allow this to happen, the steps will become clear. You feel confused now because you are trying to make everyone else happy and not leaving any room in that process for your own happiness. There are no connections between what you think you should do to make others happy or to avoid their judgments and to make yourself happy. The only way to be happy in life is to put our needs first, to take care of ourselves and to let all of our choices flow from that point. That doesn’t mean that you have to ignore everyone in your life or exclude them, it just means that you make choices that you feel good about and are aligned with your intention for your life. It does take courage and some people will not understand your actions and disagree with your choices but it is your life and you are the only one who can make yourself happy. So set an intention to be happy, take this one step at a time, and as each decision becomes clear, take that path and you will find the joy in life that you want and you will be happy.
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