I Hate My Life

Published on 27 September 2007 by

Category: New Blog Posts, Updates

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From Ted

I was reminded of having spoken these words when a friend of mine recently said “I hate my life!” She was embarrassed to have said those words and immediately argued that she should be happy and feel grateful, and she couldn’t understand where that thought had come from.

In that moment I clearly remembered uttering those same infamous words myself. My wife and I were returning to the airport after having visited our son and his fiancée for two weeks at their home in Hawaii (parental obligations are sometimes stressful like this but visiting your children it is the right thing to do so we have learned to grin and bear it). We were all just chatting and wondering when we could get together next, when seemingly out of nowhere the words “I hate my life” came tumbling out of my mouth. It is one thing to think something like that and then decide to share it out loud, but it is quite another thing to have the words expose such a raw pain before I had any conscious thought precede them.

I was very embarrassed. I quickly said “I don’t mean that. I don’t know where that came from. I love my life.”

I am not sure if I convinced anyone else in the car with that attempted repair, but I certainly didn’t fool myself. The thought was scary. My wife was a part of my life. My son and daughter were a part of my life. My business was a part of my life. My home. My friends. If I in fact hated my life, where did all of that fit? I was appalled at what I had said. To say the trip home was uncomfortable for me would be a significant understatement. What did it mean that I hated my life? What parts? The whole thing? Some of it? Most of it? Is it possible to hate some of your life and love others at the same time? How do I sort all of that out?

Well as we tell our clients, we sort it out like someone would eat an elephant- one bite at a time. Slowly, over the next few months (with lots of support, coaching, and tolerance-especially from my wife) I began to realize that there were parts of my life that I absolutely loved. Most important of these was my relationships with my wife and kids. I discovered the parts I hated were related to the work I was doing. Not all of my work, but different pieces of my work life. As I unraveled the ball of string that was my life (that was a metaphor that I visualized representing the life I had constructed), I was able to sort out what I wanted to keep just as it was, what I wanted to let go of, and that which I wanted to change. It was, at times, a scary, challenging and difficult task. Other times it was exciting and energizing. As I slowly began to act on my new awareness, I discovered I had more and more energy and enthusiasm for life, my creativity blossomed, and my life took on an exciting flavor.

So, if I ever hear myself mutter something like “I hate my life,” rather than be afraid, I will recognize that a part of me is trying to get my attention and let me know that I need to make some changes. Better yet, I hope to be more attentive to how my life feels in the moment so I won’t have to yell at myself to wake myself up the next time.

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