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The Real Reason You’re Not Living the Life of Your Dreams

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this is why you're not living your dreams
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In August of 2018, I was sitting on the couch and complaining to my wife. The Oregon fires had caused a summer of smoke which meant we weren’t spending much time outside due to our one-year old daughter and my wife’s asthma. My waistline was slowly expanding and I was growing tired of living in the same place for over 25 years (my wife and I had settled down in the town where we grew up; a southern Oregon city of about 40,000 people). To make it worse, we had visited Cairns, Australia in May of 2018, which made our antsy desire to do something else with our lives even more unbearable. We couldn’t stop day-dreaming about travelling the world!

That’s when my wife says, “Well, we have our vacation to Rome scheduled for one month from now. What if we just didn’t come back?” What? Crazy. Don’t come back? Where would we go? Despite immediate objections, that one question is now responsible for making us sell our home, travel the world for an entire year (we’ve visited 11 different countries, from AirBnB to AirBnB), and ultimately, create a life that excited us.

Pain Will Push You Forward

Tony Robbins wrote that, “The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you’re in control of your life. If you don’t, life controls you.” And he’s right. 

You and I — all human beings — are primarily motivated by two things: pain and pleasure. When I made the decision to sell my house and travel the world with my wife and a one-year old daughter, I was motivated by the pain of my current situation.

What I didn’t mention earlier was that my wife had actually made that suggestion several times before. In the four months between when we visited Australia (the original trigger for this decision) and when we finally bit the bullet, she must have brought up the idea of “not coming back from Rome” at least 5 or 6 times. Each time, I said “No way. We need a plan. We can’t just up-‘and-leave like that.” But eventually — finally — the pain of my current situation was great enough to drive me toward a life I would be excited to live.

In fact, if you haven’t changed something that you want to change — lost that weight, built that business, travelled more, or improved your relationships — it’s probably just because you don’t associate enough pain with your current situation to drive real change. The truth is, you’re still okay with the way things are. And until you can’t stand it anymore, until the pain is unbearable (or at least, you perceive it as unbearable), you’re not going to change — plain and simple.

I know that seems to leave life-changing decisions up to fate, but it doesn’t, because it empowers you to make life-changing decisions whenever you want. 

According to research, your brain can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what you imagine. If you spend time imagining the painful result of your current actions (in as visceral of detail as you can muster), you can increase the amount of pain you associate with your current situation, which will encourage you to make real, life-changing decisions, without actually experiencing the ultimate repercussions of your bad habits. I find that journaling about those pain associations helps me internalize them.

You see, there are only a few reasons you haven’t changed yet and you’re not living the life of your dreams. Either your perceived pain of your current situation is less than your perceived pain of change or you don’t know what you want.

Once the pain of your current situation becomes greater than the pain of changing, you’re ready to make massive decisions and take massive action. But in which direction should you run? 

“I am always doing things I can’t do; that’s how I get to do them.” – Pablo Picasso

You Must Get Clear About What You Want

If you don’t know what you want, then you’ll never be happy with whatever you get. I believe that the number one reason people don’t live the life of their dreams is simply because they don’t know what their dream-life is. They’ve never sat down and considered with immense specificity, “What do I want out of life?”

If they did, they’d find that the things they want out of life, whatever they are, are relatively easy to get. Sure, making a million dollars, building a 7-figure business, or becoming the CEO of a Fortune 500 company will take some time, but it’s not hard. It’s just a matter of taking the right steps over a long period of time and never losing sight of your end-goal.

But that’s the problem, isn’t it? We’re constantly losing sight of what we want. We’re human beings so we often forget what we decided at the beginning of the year (heck — at the beginning of the week!). Which is why, once you decide what you want out of life, you should write it down and review it every single week. Make a dream board if you’re into that sort of thing. Get as specific as you possibly can. What do you want? Why do you want it? How are you going to get it? The more specific, the better.

Once you’ve done this — I call mine my “Manifesto” — you’ll find that accomplishing what you want is easier than you ever thought possible. You’ll realize that you are capable of building the life you want, and you’ll have immense clarity about what to do next.

When you know what you want, the “how to” is easy. You just have to make a committed and real decision. 

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Real Reason You’re Not Living The Life Of Your Dreams

You’re not living the life of your dreams because the pain of your current situation isn’t great enough to drive you forward — you’re still content and you haven’t decided what your dream life looks like.

Change those two things, visualize the pain of your current situation and make a real decision about what you want out of life. This way, you might just find yourself on a one-way flight to the life of your dreams. I know I did.

What is your dream life? Share it with us below!

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Life

The Imbalanced Problem with Work/Life Balance

Balancing is for your checkbook, gymnastics, and nutrition; not for your people’s work/life ratio.

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How to Find the Courage to Start New

Change is scary, but it’s a normal part of life.

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It’s 2023, a new year, new you, right? But how do we start over? How do we make the changes in our lives that we crave so much to see?  (more…)

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Failing is More Important Than Succeeding

Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures.

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5 Indicators of Unresolved Attachment Trauma

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Emotional Attachment Trauma

Trauma caused during specific stages of a child’s development, known as attachment trauma, can have lasting effects on a person’s sense of safety, security, predictability, and trust. This type of trauma is often the result of abuse, neglect, or inconsistent care from a primary caregiver.

Individuals who have not fully processed attachment trauma may display similar patterns of behavior and physical or psychological symptoms that negatively impact their adult lives, including the choices they make in relationships and business.

Unfortunately, many people may not even be aware that they are struggling with trauma. Research estimates that 6% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetime, with a majority of males and females having experienced significant trauma.

Unresolved attachment trauma can significantly impair the overall quality of a person’s life, including their ability to form healthy relationships and make positive choices for themselves. One well-known effect of unhealed attachment trauma is the compulsion to repeat past wounds by unconsciously selecting romantic partners who trigger their developmental trauma.

However, there are other less recognized but equally detrimental signs of unprocessed developmental trauma.

 

Five possible indications of unresolved attachment trauma are:

 

1.  Unconscious Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a common pattern among individuals with unprocessed attachment trauma. This cycle often begins with hurting others, which is then followed by hurting oneself. It is also common for those with attachment trauma to have heightened emotional sensitivity, which can trigger this cycle.

This pattern can manifest in lashing out, shutting down, or impulsive behavior that leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.

Many people with attachment trauma are not aware of their wounds and operate on survival mode, unconsciously testing or challenging the emotional investment of those around them, and pushing them away out of self-preservation and fear of abandonment.

This can lead to a pattern of making poor choices for themselves based on impulsivity.

 

2. Persistent Pain

 
Chronic pain is a common symptom that can stem from early trauma. Studies have shown a connection between physical conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, muscle aches, back pain, chest pain, and chronic fatigue with the aftermath of chronic developmental trauma, particularly physical abuse.
 
Research has found that individuals with insecure attachment styles, such as anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, have a higher incidence of somatic symptoms and a history of physical and emotional abuse in childhood compared to those with a secure attachment style.
 
 

3. Behaviors That Block Out Trauma

 
Trauma blocking practises are used to avoid the pain and memories connected with traumatic events.
 
Emotional numbing, avoidance, and escape via briefly pleasurable activities that distract from terrible memories or suffering are common examples. Unfortunately, this escape habit stops people from successfully processing and recovering from their trauma.
 
Furthermore, when the pain resurfaces, more and more diversions are necessary to continue ignoring it. This can be seen in compulsive behaviours such as drug or alcohol addiction, emotional eating, numbing oneself through relationships, workaholism, excessive or dangerous exercise routines, compulsive internet or technology use, or any other compulsive behaviour used to distract yoursef from intrusive thoughts and emotions.
 
These actions have the potential to prolong a cycle of avoidance and repression, preventing persons from healing and progressing.
 

4. A strong need for control

 
It’s understandable that some people may struggle with control issues in their adult lives, especially if they felt helpless or vulnerable during their childhood.
 
This can happen if someone had an overbearing caregiver who didn’t let them make their own choices, expected too much from them, or didn’t take care of them properly. As adults, they might try to control everything in their life to feel more in control and less anxious or scared. This might be because they didn’t feel like they had control over their life when they were a child.
 
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different and it’s okay to seek help if you’re struggling with control issues.
 
 

5. Psychological Symptoms That Are Not Explained

 
Individuals with a history of developmental trauma may experience a range of psychological symptoms, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, intense mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, emotional numbing, or severe anxiety.
 
These symptoms can vary in intensity and may occur intermittently throughout the day. People with this type of trauma may attempt to “distract” themselves from these symptoms by denying or rationalizing them, or may resort to substance abuse or behavioral addictions as coping mechanisms. This can be a maladaptive way of trying to numb their symptoms.
 
 

What to do next if you’re suffering from emotional attachment trauma?

 
Everyone’s experience of healing from trauma is unique. It’s important to be aware of whether you have experienced childhood developmental trauma and how it may be affecting your relationships as an adult. Sometimes, the effects of trauma can be overwhelming and we may try to push them away or avoid them.
 
If you notice that you’re engaging in these behaviors, it’s important to seek help from a trauma therapist who can support you on your healing journey. Remember, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start healing.
 

There are several ways that people can work to overcome emotional attachment trauma:

  1. Therapy: One of the most effective ways to overcome emotional attachment trauma is through therapy. A therapist can help you process your experiences, understand the impact of your trauma on your life, and develop coping strategies to manage symptoms.
  2. Support groups: Joining a support group of people who have had similar experiences can be a great way to find validation, empathy, and a sense of community.
  3. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, pilates, prayer time with God or journaling can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and develop a sense of spiritual connection and self-regulation.
  4. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): This is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help individuals process and recover from traumatic events.
  5. Building a safety net: Building a support system of people you trust, who are there for you when you need them, can help you feel more secure and safe in your life.

It’s important to remember that healing from emotional attachment trauma is a process and it may take time. It’s also important to find a therapist who is experienced in treating trauma, who you feel comfortable talking with, and who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.

 
 
If you desire to work with me on healing your wounds and unlocking the aspects of you that were never realized so you can achieve more success in your life then head over to awebliss.com and join my weekly LIVE online mentorship calls.
 
 
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