It would be nice if the universe put up helpful signposts to tell us when we’re going the wrong direction in life, like a highway sign reading “THAT JOB/PARTNER/MOVE/PURCHASE WILL SUCK YOU DRY AND LEAVE YOU A SHELL OF YOUR FORMER SELF.” In pink neon lights, for preference.
In the absence of such obvious signs, we have to look carefully for the little ones. Y’know, the little red flags that show up when you’re doing something you know isn’t right for you, like pretending to be someone you’re not at a party, wearing clothes you hate or eating an entire boxed pizza in one serving (although, frankly, that last one is probably just indigestion).
The point is if we pay attention to what we’re really feeling and experiencing, sometimes we can notice when we’re making a bad decision before we make it. Here are eight ways to tell when you’re heading in the wrong direction (and a bonus three ways to find the right direction again), from someone who’s done it all before.
1. Check your First Thoughts: Our subconscious is way smarter than we are. The next time you’re thinking about your future, notice the first thing you think about, that tiny first flicker of emotion before you start to consciously justify your decision. If it’s a bad feeling, then that’s worth thinking about. Source: someone who ignored that bad feeling many times and found that it was always a bad idea.
2. What Will Other People Think: Of course, you make some decisions to impress others; that’s the thing that keeps you from going to work in elephant footie pajamas with a bottle of Smirnoff in hand. But if you’re making huge decisions (buying a house, deciding on a partner, choosing a career) based on trying to impress your peers or parents, you’ll probably end up impressively unhappy.
3. Exhaustion: Look, I know everyone’s always tired in this economy. But if you find yourself constantly, deeply tired, and feel like it’s a horrifying exercise in endurance to even get out of bed in the morning? Something’s probably wrong, and it’s worth looking into. As someone who’s been there before, trust me: constant exhaustion and misery are not normal!
4. Playing Defense: If you’re chronically defending your choices to other people (and yourself), then that’s a sign you’re driving up the highway to Miseryville, population: you. This one’s not a hard and fast rule, though; sometimes, you’re just surrounded by really judgmental people. In which case, I’d recommend ditching them instead.
To find out how hidden sadness can make you sick, click ‘NEXT PAGE.’ And, if you think some of your friends should reevaluate their own lives, why not ‘SHARE’ on Facebook?