“How are you?”
This is the question you have heard the most in your life, isn’t it? What was your response?
“I’m OK”. You say it most of the time. Most people do.
One day I was talking with a friend who just delivered a baby for couple months, her husband was a jerk and he wanted to divorce her. She was unemployed, vulnerable, hurt and unsecured. But she still responded “I’m OK” when asked.
I knew for a fact that her life was anything but OK.
It got me thinking. What about me? How is my life? Am I OK or not?
I thought I was doing better than most of my peers. I had a high-paying job, I lived in a big city and I worked 14 hours a day. I felt sleepy and tired every day, but who wasn’t? Most people in my company did. For me, being burnout is being hard-working, and it is required to be successful.
I thought I was on the right track.
But it hit me. For the first time in my life, I truly opened my eyes and realized that I was not living.
I was alive. But I was not living. I was just a zombie wandering around.
Here are 10 signs that the universe tried to talk to me but I had been ignoring.
I felt anxious and miserable on Sunday night
I always felt joyful and excited on Friday because I would have a long weekend ahead of me. But on Sunday night, even after the whole weekend to recover, I felt anxious and sick in my stomach when thinking of the next day.
Truth is, I hated my job. It was a good job with high salary. But I hated it.
Every Monday morning was a fight to get out of bed, to tell myself that I was going to be ok.
Most people have Monday blues. I thought it was normal for me to have it too.
But only it wasn’t.
I will be spending 30 years of my life to work. 30 best years of youth, health, and performance. 30 years is a very long time to do a job knowing that you won’t make any difference to the world, knowing that you won’t be missed when you leave, and knowing that you will be relieved when it is over.
I felt tired all the time
Being burnout shouldn’t have been my standard.
Life was a race, and I needed to be the fastest horse. I constantly compared myself to other people and tried to achieve more than anyone else. I felt satisfied when I collapsed on my bed at night after long hours working. If I went to bed before I was too tired to stay awake, I was a loser.
I didn’t realize when I started to measure my life by being burnout. I didn’t see that I was not getting any acknowledgment or reward for being exhausted. I didn’t see that I was wasting my time chasing things I didn’t need.
I was not in the moment
As part of being tired and working long hours, I was not living in the moment. When I was at work, my mind still wandered around about my weekend and my relationship. When I was with my family, I thought about work and all the stuff I needed to do.
My body was in present tense but my mind was in the past tense.
It was like a catching game. My life was rolling like a ball and my mind was chasing to catch it.
I spent more time with my coworkers than with my loved ones
Working 14 hours a day in your office means being home less than 8 hours to sleep. I barely met my family since I started working. I came home after they went to bed and the only time I saw them was 5 minutes saying goodbye in our busy morning before heading to work.
“Why do you select this job?”
“Because it pays me well.”
“Why do you need a high paying job?”
“Because it allows me to do things I want.”
“What are the things you want?”
“I want a big house, a nice car, and luxurious trip.”
“Why do you want those things?”
“Because they allow me to enjoy my time with my family better.”
“Why do you want to enjoy your time with your family?”
“Because I love them and I want to be with them.”
“Are you doing your best to be with them?”
“No, I am not.”
In fact, I spent more time with my coworkers than with my family. I talked to my them more than my family. And when I was with my family, I couldn’t stop thinking about my work.
I prioritized others before myself
I used to think that being kind, gentle, and agreeable was guaranteed to win love and acceptance from others. I’d tiptoe around destructive people’s behaviors, no matter how uncomfortable I felt about it, believing to my core that if only I could be nice enough to them, they would one day lead a better life, even at my own expense.
I could never say no to anyone. I stayed at work late to do their jobs for them, tried to earn appreciation from them. In return, they treated me as a doormat, someone they would call in the last minute if there was no better alternative.
I didn’t invest in my soul
I used to spend time for myself, reading books I like, doing things I love, drawing, coloring, and singing. They were the things that brought me closer to my spiritual self.
But I replaced them.
I stopped doing things I enjoyed to spend that time to work. I put my work to be the center of my life and I did things around it.
I learned new courses, new skills to benefit for the job I hate. Because the job gave me money.
I worked for money. I sold my time and my energy for money. I traded my soul for money.
I forgot my dream
The career I pursued had nothing to do with my dream. My dream was a totally something different. Because of the security my job offered, I put away my dream with a promise “I will pursue my dream later”. But I always knew later meant never.
Things would always happen and once I still seek for the job security, I would never start chasing my dream. Seeing other people’s success with their dreams, I admired them. But I never thought it could be my case.
I was affected by people I didn’t care about
As part of being a people-pleaser and spent more time at work than at home, I constantly sought out for their approval. I worried what they would think of me when I did something wrong. I was afraid to be outcast. I was scared of not fitting in.
I tried my best to become the person that everyone would love. Somewhere in that path, I lost myself.
I didn’t like the two-faced person I became. I lied through my teeth about my feeling. I snapped at my loved ones when they concerned about me. I tried to win strangers’ affection instead of nurturing relationships with people I love.
I rarely experienced deep emotion
Life is up and down. People have up and down. But not me.
I used to cry for a touching movie, to have strong feelings toward people, to see the beauty in the sunshine, in the rain. Then I was too busy to have feelings.
Things I used to cry one didn’t seem to be touching, people I thought I could never live without them stopped to matter so much in my life.
That was not a part of growing up. That was a part of me dying while I’m still living.
I covered my life by many fake happiness layers
I was not happy. I thought I was, but I wasn’t. I covered that fact by many reasons why I should be.
Truth is, the more I tried to cover, the further I was away from it.
I was breathing. I was walking. But I wasn’t living.
I want to live. I want to thrive. I want to be happy.
I am now walking toward my ultimate life goal.
Before you go
I believe we can create our own happiness. I help overwhelmed and frustrated people to ditch their stress and enjoy their lives again. Grab your free actionable cheatsheet: 5 Simple Tips to Release Stress and Bring You Calm in Under 5 Minutes and join my free 7 Joyful Days Challenge email course.