I help women in midlife who are struggling. On the outside, their life may seem happy and productive-nothing is wrong or out of the ordinary. On the inside, they feel frustrated, stagnant, lost, lonely and confused. They no longer feel useful, productive, desirable or confident.
I help them to:
- Figure out where they are now
- Figure out where they want to go
- Build bridges to get them where they want to go
- Let go of the pressure to conform
And I help them to create their own personal life manual. I provide the tools for women experiencing a midlife crisis to look deep inside themselves and access what is really going on in their internal world.
Common themes show up in my sessions:
“I feel so stuck”
“I feel trapped”
“My life lacks meaning and purpose”
“I feel like I have wasted my life”
“I keep waiting for a sign from the universe to tell me what to do”
“OMG, I am X years old and what have I done with my life? I don’t have that much time left!”
“I feel like I am living a lie”
“I feel very confused and lost”
Although these feelings can be very scary, they just mean that the way they have been living no longer works for them. I get it, because that was me too! And I had all sorts of excuses.
What is a midlife crisis?
Midlife crisis is not an official diagnosis but it correlates to German psychologist Erik Erikson’s theory that a specific psychological struggle takes place at each of the eight stages of a person’s life. At stage 7, between ages 40 and 65, the struggle is between generativity and stagnation.
According to Erikson, generativity refers to making our mark on the world. People feel a sense of care and responsibility. Many midlife adults reflect on their life and ask, “Am I doing anything worthwhile? Is anyone going to know that I was here? Am I contributing to others?”
If the answers are no, feelings of disorientation and distress may result.
Stagnation occurs when people reflect on their accomplishments and consider their future path and feel regret. Regret at missed opportunities such as further education and pursuing a career.
Regret at not spending more time with their children when they were young. Regret at not saying what they wanted to say to a loved one no longer alive. How people interpret these regrets can influence their well-being. They may feel a sense of overall dissatisfaction and boredom.
Stagnation can lead to a level of despair that impacts on their psychological well-being and they can experience depression and anxiety. Regrets, unmet expectations, the heavy weight of daily obligations - midlife can be really hard! Just like adolescence can be hard.
How does midlife crisis manifest in women?
Many women in midlife find it very hard to accept that they are aging. It is easy to see why. We only need to look at birthday cards for the older person. They are full of exaggerated age-related stereotypes. Older people are portrayed as sleepy, crabby, and weak. The message is that getting older is a period of decline and it is all downhill from here.
So many women, including myself, have negative thoughts about aging. We think that aging is limiting. We think that we are running out of time and running out of opportunities.
A possible cause of midlife crisis is the mind always looking externally for value, validation or approval.
We compare ourselves to others: “They’ve got more money than me”, “They have a bigger house and a swimming pool”, “They are always going on overseas holidays”. This approach may lead us to make choices that we will regret later, like throwing in our marriage, having affairs, moving house, moving country, buying a Lamborghini.
The key to changing this is to stop believing that our feelings are created by something that is outside of us. We need to stop believing that if we purchase a certain car, house, or outfit, if we have a boyfriend, if we get promoted, if our husband, mother, or sister changes his or her behaviour, then we will be happy. Changing something outside of us in order to change the way we feel does not serve us well. The truth is all of our feelings are created in our minds.
All the problems we experience, the unpleasant feelings we struggle with, are not caused by our circumstances. They are caused by the way we decide to interpret our circumstances.
Midlife is a perfect opportunity to push the reset button and rebuild our life from this point forward. Perhaps we have lived the first half of our life the way we thought we were supposed to, pleasing everyone around us and putting others’ needs first.
Now we can live the second half of our life the way we want to.
We need to:
· Get into a mindset of thinking anything is possible.
· Figure out what relationship we want to have with the people in our life.
· Figure out how to fight the urge to behave and respond in the same way that we have always done.
· Learn how to dream again. If the sky is the limit, what is it that we want?
· Reinvent ourselves in a way that reignites all those feelings of youth and freedom and joy.
· Consider doing things that we have never considered before. After all, we have more freedom now.
· Think about regret-proofing our life. What are the areas that we don’t want to have regrets about?
· Stop focusing on feeling confused and on what we can’t do. Instead, focus on what we can do. Once we can get our mind round this, then opportunities open up.
When we enter our 40s many of us begin to think about the meaning of life and what we want from it. A clear sense of self, identity, pride, and accomplishment can help us feel content with the choices that we have made.
I encourage women to take responsibility for their thoughts and take ownership of their life. After all, you only get this one life.
So, are you ready to own your excuses?
Yes, that’s right.
You have to take responsibility.
Your feelings are NOT something outside of you.
Your happiness is completely within your own control.
My service, Thera-Coaching, is a unique combination of psychotherapy and life coaching.
I help you to unpackage your current circumstances, and identify limiting thoughts and beliefs.
I coach you to supervise your brain. I help you to unhook from fear and struggle. I empower you through action for change. I commit to working with you to create your own personal life manual for living life on your terms, with intention and purpose.
Call today for a free 30 minute chat.