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When you have everything you wanted, and still feel like something is missing

“I have everything I wanted - but I still feel like there’s something missing. I’m wondering: is this really it?”

Two of my coachees both shared this feeling with me in the same week. They were expats living their best life abroad and both said that their past me would be so proud to see them now. But both were experiencing a gnawing feeling. They still couldn’t be 100% happy and satisfied. Both were still craving something more - although they couldn’t really figure out what exactly. It was just a feeling that was subtly there most of the time.

It’s something I recognise, too. I had this when I lived in London. After about two years I realised I wasn’t very happy. Yes, I was living the dream life in the City, and on paper I had everything I wanted. But it didn’t always feel that way. When work and life were busy, I was enjoying my life. But when things were slow (which was often), it felt a bit numb, like life was a bit less colourful.

Often we feel guilty about feeling that something is missing. Because we have a good life, right? A fulfilling and challenging career, friends, a nice house, perhaps a partner. There’s nothing to complain about. It feels selfish to not be happy with the life you have, or for wanting something more. So we rationalise our feelings and put them away.

But: the body is often further than the head. It knows things that your head isn’t grasping yet.

The body cannot fool you, like your head can.

If you have headaches every day, for example, this is a clear sign of your body that you need to change something, while your head might still be thinking that you must continue on the path you’ve entered. A gut feeling when you’re seeing someone, a constant fatigue during the workweek or a fast heart rate at night are similar things. Signals that the body is giving you to let you know that things aren’t all right.

And this gnawing feeling is basically the same thing. It is your body telling you something, while your head is still saying something else. Perhaps your body is telling you that you are living the life that others expect of you, but which doesn’t match with your own qualities and passions. Or that you are stuck in the rat race, while you prefer a simpler life.

We reach our true potential if body and head are on the same page and are working together. If we can truly get to know ourselves, with all our interests, irritations, qualities and flaws, and then start living from there. Knowing what makes you happy, and what doesn’t - even when it’s not expected or accepted by your family, friends and society. Making small changes every time towards your true potential and dream. It’s about exercising personal leadership to draft our lives.

That is what truly makes us happy - and what will take the gnawing feeling away. What can you do today to live a happier life, in alignment with your true self?

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