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Are you living your life according to somebody else’s expectations?

Dec 04, 2023

I’ve met so many people - especially women - that live their lives according to somebody else’s expectations. Or general expectations. Or their own expectations that have grown from outside expectations.

Yes, they live decent lives. They’re not doing bad at all. Everybody thinks that they’re living the perfect life. But they don’t feel that way. There’s something missing. The problem is: they don’t know what it is.

First of all, the extent of our feelings and dissatisfaction is something very personal and individual. It’s not something that you can measure against the feelings and dissatisfaction of others.

You might be more content for a moment, because you feel grateful when you think about all the things you’re able to enjoy, like warm water and a loving family and enough money to come by, things that many other people don’t have, but at the end of the day it’s still you and your life that you have to deal with and if that is making you unhappy, that’s how it is and that is okay!

Let’s try to get beyond the guilt and actually find out what it is that you’d like to change in order to be at peace with your life and to get the energy you need to spark changes in the areas that you’re unhappy with. Because then a whole new spectrum of possibilities opens up and with these possibilities that you can take advantage of or not, comes capacity and power that you then can use for the good of others too.

Do you see how this wholesome circle,  that could change our world, if more people would embark on this journey (at this point I’d like to thank you for doing this inner work! <3), starts with YOUR well-being?

Expectations come in many shapes and forms and they can secretly take over our life’s without us really realizing. You might not even be aware that external or internal expectations are keeping you from living life according to YOUR wishes and desires. And you might not know (anymore) what it is that you really want.

This is exactly why I’ve founded Joy Academy. To help you find what’s “missing” from your already pretty good life so that you can experience more joy and lightness every single day.

If you think about your life and ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I happy with my life? 
    • That’s super general, I know, but the answer can also be really general
  • Am I doing the job/work that I enjoy?
    • And I mean any type of work as in family work, taking care of family members and of course also paid jobs
  • Am I wearing what I want?
    • Or are you wearing what makes you look “professional”, “appropriate”, “slim”, [fill in the blank]
  • Is my house/apartment looking and feeling the way I wish it to be?
    • Or is it full of things that are “trendy” or inherited from your great-grand aunt but not actually things that make you feel at home?  

Nothing is all flowers and bubbles at all times and that’s not what we’re aiming for either - there’s just so much useful info in the answers that first came into your mind when you thought about these questions.

It could be that you’ve realized just how unhappy you are with many areas in your life or it could be that you've come to understand how you’re actually already pretty content.

You might feel discontent but can’t really name why. You might even feel guilty for feeling these feelings because you’re surely doing much better than many people on this planet, right? So how dare you feel unhappy when you’re actually doing so well?

It could be that you’ve realized just how unsatisfied you are at the place you’re currently working because you do the same old boring tasks everyday when you’re actually fully motivated to initiate new projects and create new opportunities.

It could be that you’ve realized that you never really questioned the way you dress, because you always dressed the way it was expected of you but now that you think about it, it’s true that you really admire people that wear colorful and bright clothes and you would try that out too. 

It could be that you’ve realized that you really love your living space and how much fun and joy it is to you to declutter and organize and decorate - it could even be a fun side job! Your friends keep asking you for your advice anyway!

If we've been living up to someone else's expectations for a long time, ignoring our own inner wishes and needs, it can be that we don't even know anymore what it is that WE actually want and questions like those above help us dare think about it and be open to the answers that might arise.

One of my favorite tools to find out what you want in all areas of life is “The Wheel of Life”. The Wheel of Life (you can download it here) has 10 spikes, each covering an area of your life such as work, personal growth and freetime. 

For every spike you can set dots on the lines, where you are right now and write about how you feel in this area of your life. Write about what‘s working and what‘s not working, what you want to change.

Now you can choose how you want your life to be if anything would be possible. (Anything IS possible, but that’s for another time : )) What are your wildest dreams? Draw little stars or hearts or unicorns, where you want to rate your life in your future.

I’ve compiled a guide with the Wheel of Life and questions for each spoke that you can download here for free. Print out the Wheel of Life, set the marks for where you see yourself at right now and where you’d like to see yourself if anything would be possible and journal about the questions. I’ve included enough space to add your own questions too.

Shall we go through one example together? Let’s choose work.

  • Do you generally look forward to Monday?
  • Do you like your work?
  • Is your job a compromise or is it your dream job or something in between?
  • Why did you choose this job?
  • Is there another job you‘d like to do and would prefer a thousand times over this one? 
  • What are the reasons that you are not yet working «there»? When will you step into your dream job? 
  • What do you need in order to have the courage/possibility to do so?
  • How do you feel in your work environment?
  • If you don‘t feel good, what should change so that you‘ll feel good?
  • What are your big career or working goals that you want to achieve in your life?
  • What is your WHY within your work? Do you see it? Feel it? What‘s your motivation?

How do you feel after answering ALL these questions? Do you feel how the spectrum of possibilities opens up and your life looks like an enlightened stage where you play the main character who also writes the script for the next steps? You can change things TODAY, or start tomorrow. You can quit (no, you don’t have to, but you could!). You can decide to like your work. Bring more Joy to your workplace, just because you want to. You decide what you are ready for. Every babystep counts!

Download the free guide for the Wheel of Life to think about every spike in this way and choose one by one until you‘ve done all 10!

One intention of this exercise is to open your “ears” towards your inner voice so that you can take back the steering wheel of your life and float in the direction that suits YOU and not somebody else.

I know that this is a process that’s not done in 5 minutes, but the Wheel of Life exercise can be the starting point to bring awareness into your life about how things are going right now. Without judgment.

Don’t let your feelings of stuckness hinder you in changing something. Don’t let your gut feeling be overrun by the opinions of others.

Imagine feeling at peace with your life and not in a rush to change things, ready to take action if you find it necessary while enjoying life every day.

Imagine staying cool and staying by your life(style) when confronted with social expectations.

It is possible.

Download the Wheel of Life and take it from there.

This is my gift to you, to finding that peace with what is and taking action when you’re ready. Go you! <3


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