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Friday, June 10, 2011

Why Is It So Hard To Feel So Good? - Part 1 of 2

   Perhaps it’s the stage of life I’m in, mid-life, where I’ve noticed the conversations with my friends has taken on a slightly different tone than when we were young. During our 20’s discussions were often filled with lofty talk about our future. We'd talk about our goals, hopes and dreams, with an occasional “guy or girl story” sprinkled throughout our conversation. Now most of my contemporaries are in their 40’s or older. Many of us have met some, if not a lot of the important goals, we set out to achieve. Some of these achieved goals are even the ones we dreamed and talked about, when we were younger. One might think this would create a sense of glee or at the very least some sliver of self satisfaction, but I have found the opposite to often be true. The interesting thing about goals is there are always new ones waiting to be born. Only the goals of adulthood don’t always benefit from the veil of grandiosity or hopeful feelings, so typically felt during our youth. Adult goals, although still equally longed for and dreamt about, get internalized along side a healthy dose of reality (for better or for worse); a by product of living life and in some cases being humbled by it.

    Now this might sound a little depressing, but it got me thinking...Why is it so hard to feel good or satisfied with our lives?!? What is it our psyche craves? What do we need in order to feel inspired, grateful and at peace with ourselves; especially while pursuing the life we say we want? Are we responding to societal messages about conspicuous consumption? Or is it the early parental messages entrenched in our brains? Is it our competitive and aspirational nature, constantly gnawing at us? Telling us we're not enough and don't have enough, in order to keep us moving forward? Is it because we don't have as much as some of the people around us? Or that we aren't living up to some fantastical ideal we’ve too easily bought into? 

     There's a reason why so many people are self medicating themselves with compulsive shopping, eating disorders, alcohol abuse, other substances and/or needlessly taking prescription medications to numb the pain. The message we're responding to, is that we're not good enough, unless we're "fill in the blank". So as a therapist and person who occasionally falls victim to these feelings too, I wonder, what's the answer? If meeting some of our goals doesn't quiet our discontent, what will? I realize I've probably bitten off more than I can chew here, but what the heck...it's worth a try.


 Dr. Robi Ludwig is a nationally known psychotherapist, award winning reporter. She also hosted two seasons of TLC’s reality show, “One Week to Save Your Marriage” as well as , GSN’s reality game show, “Without Prejudice?”. Dr. Ludwig’s academic credentials include a doctorate in psychology (Psy.D) from the Southern California University for Professional Studies; she holds a post-masters certificate in advanced clinical work from Hunter College, a masters degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Cedar Crest College.

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