THE BLOG
10/08/2015 04:06 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Getting Back On Track When Your Life Derails

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When you were younger, you probably visualized a picture of how your life would look in five years. Maybe you fantasized about being married with 2.5 kids. Or maybe you dreamt of an exciting career with lots of international travel. Ultimately, when you fantasized about your future life, you imagined peace, health and happiness.

Fast forward 15 years. You're life is nothing like how you imagined. Whether you never met "the right person," or you passed your fertile years, or you haven't managed to move on from your stable out-of-college job--- you feel derailed. And you can't stop asking yourself what went wrong?

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There are two main types of derailments to your ideal life: 1) A master plan derailed by life's happenings -- like having a child with special needs or having a spouse pass away. 2) The second kind of derailment occurs when you feel stuck. You expected your life's circumstances to magically fall into place. But when they don't, you're frozen. For example, you thought you would organically meet Mr. or Mrs. Right, and while you waited, life passed you by -- leaving you in the dust.

You feel confused about how you ended up alone -- no partner, no children. People tell you that you are beautiful, smart, talented and loveable. So why are you single, feeling ashamed and stuck? Though you may feel like your life was out of your control, you have actually had a hand in unconsciously choosing this path. Imagine that -- throughout your childhood -- your parents leaned on you excessively for support, instead of the other way around. If you felt oppressed by this upbringing, you may find yourself moving your life across the country and missing the window to have children. Somehow in your unconscious mind, you knew you didn't want anymore people/kids depending on you. Therefore your choice of moving away made it much more difficult to have kids.

Are you the kind of person who constantly picks inappropriate romantic partners? It isn't just bad luck. Maybe your parents' awful marriage made it unconsciously impossible to really want to be married. So making poor romantic choices is an unconscious compromise. You want to get married, but instead find yourself dating married or otherwise unavailable men or women -- another unconscious compromise.

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How can you get back on track? It's difficult to know your own truths, but that has to happen first.

1. Explore your mind by tracking the mixed messages you give yourself. For example, you really want to get married. You live in a remote area and have a hard time meeting people. But you refuse to join an online dating service. Or maybe you want to lose weight, but you refuse to go to the gym until you are thinner. It's important to recognize these inconsistencies in your thoughts and behavior.

2. Confront the thoughts that truly terrify you. Notice where your mind goes when you think about the possibility of changing your life's direction. Do you derail yourself with negative thoughts? Instead, stay focused on your thoughts and visualize achieving your goals.

3. Know when "your stuckness" needs professional help. Find a therapist who understands that change is dependent on understanding your unconscious mind. How do you know if you may need therapy? Listen to your loved ones. Do they accuse you of making excuses for why things don't work out. Or maybe you're convinced you must settle for the life you have instead of going after what you want and deserve. Just because you got derailed, does not mean you have to be stuck. If you realize that, your life is exactly where it needs to be.

If you have questions, want more information or need support, visit my website www.marylandpsychotherapist.com or CLICK HERE.