One of the things my clients will invariably say to me at some point when we work together is “I know I’ve nothing to complain about really” or “I know I’ve a lot to be thankful for but …”. They feel almost guilty for wanting things to be better or different. Or for wanting to be happier or to have more of a purpose. Because on the surface – on paper – their life looks great. Perfect even.
They often refer to people thinking they’ve got a great life and of course in many ways they do and are indeed lucky. And they know that. When you look around and see others struggling financially, or with serious health issues or being homeless – we can all count our blessings and be grateful for what is going well in our lives.
Wanting to be happier
But that does not in any way change or negate the feeling that almost all my clients have which is that things could be better.
They want to be happier. Or more fulfilled. Or to be less busy and have more time or headspace for what’s really important to them. Or to do more with their life. Or to feel like they are living the life they really want to live and not what they have perhaps ended up doing or feel they ‘have to’ do.
Often the people I work with have had this nagging voice for a while but, caught up in the busyness of day-to-day life, haven’t addressed it. Often not really knowing how to. Or even where to start.
Or for my Irish clients – where there’s a culture of modesty and not ‘getting above your station’ – they often push away the thought because “Who am I to want more – don’t I already have all I thought I ever wanted”.
It doesn’t matter how much money you have
My clients, however, learn very quickly that I don’t care how much money they have. How well known they are. What companies they own. How many houses they have. What car they drive. What watch they wear.
But I do care – deeply – whether they are happy. Fulfilled. Living the life they really want to live. True to themselves – true to who they really are.
How it feels on the inside
And I know that just because their life looks great on the outside – and might even be the life they once dreamed of – it doesn’t necessarily mean they are fully happy or fulfilled.
We’ve all heard about feeling lonely in a room full of friends or family. In the same way, you can have the life of your dreams and still not feel happy.
No matter how good things look on the outside, it’s how things feel on the inside to you – that truly matters.
Not being able to talk about this
And this can be a lonely experience too. It can be hard (if not seemingly impossible) to talk about this with other people – particularly those who may not be in a similar position financially.
When we are struggling or uncertain in life – we need people more than ever. We need support. And yet so many of my clients feel they have nobody that can share their feelings properly with about this. They know they are privileged. They know they are lucky. And so they often feel this means they can’t talk about how they really feel. What they really want for their lives. Or what’s not working for them.
Don’t ignore that inner voice
What I would say is that it’s okay to want more. Or something different or better. It’s good to acknowledge and really listen to that quiet little voice inside you (or in some cases not so quiet!) that’s saying this isn’t enough or I want to be happier, more fulfilled or to have a greater sense of purpose.
So don’t ignore that voice just because either people don’t get it or would give their left arm (they think!) for the life you have.
The only judge of whether you are truly happy or could be happier is you. And if you could be happier, that’s worth exploring, no matter how good your life looks on the outside.
So forget how other people think or assume your life must be. If you know it could be happier, it can be.
And pursuing this is the route to a truly great life. One that not only looks great on the outside, but also feels great on the inside.
If this sounds like you or is something you’d like to explore further, send me an email to email@example.com and let’s start a conversation about your “one wild and precious life”.