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Why We Do Things That Don’t Make Us Happy March 28, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in ontological coaching, Uncategorized.
Tags: , ,

by danosongs.com 1

I recklessly made an offer to my friend to choose the topic for today’s post. His choice was“some insight into why do we things that don’t make us truly happy.”

Wow—let that be a lesson to me. Pick your own topics, girlfriend. But wait, I think I do have some things to say about that topic. So here goes….

Do you know yourself?

One of the main reasons people do things that don’t make them happy is because they don’t have a clue what would make them happy. And why is that? Because a lot of people don’t really know themselves.

You’ve probably heard the quote, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” It is attributed to some relatively unknown guy by the name of Socrates. Did you know that Socrates left no writings of his own? We know of him only through the writings of others. But I digress (something I do when I ‘m stalling).

So back to the topic. Many (I might even venture most) people do not examine their lives. Why? Because they are afraid that what they would find might be scary. So rather than really taking the time to sit with the questions

  • Who am I?
  • What do I want in life?
  • What makes my heart sing?
  • What’s my purpose?

They’d rather plod through life looking outside of themselves for distraction from the real issue. As a result they find themselves doing stuff that is simply a time filler, or worse stuff that kills the soul.

Try this… (like I have all the answers here—just humor me)

Chances are you’ve been making choices on automatic pilot for a long time. Try this little exercise that one of my coaches assigned me over 10 years ago. Pump up your awareness of the choices that you make about how you spend your time. For the next month do only those things that you really want to do. Say no to things that you don’t want to do. OK, OK, I know there are some things that you do that you feel you don’t have a choice about– things like going to a job you don’t like or doing things for your kids or spouse that you would rather not do. So leave those in for the first month and have everything else up for examination. Do I really want to read that book for my book club? Should I write that blog post simply because that’s what I always do? It’s meditation time, do I really want to do that? Do I want to attend a meeting for a club that I lost interest in several months ago? (These are my examples but you have your own set of ‘shoulds.’)

Lose the guilt

If you find yourself doing something out of guilt, drop this one like a hot potato. Guilt is a terrible reason to do something on so many levels I don’t even know where to begin. Just say no…


A warning here. When you first start this you may not have a clue about what you want to do. That’s because you have spent such a long time doing things without conscious thought about your own desires. Don’t worry—that’s part of the exercise. Just sit with the question—and then do something with your insight.

Stay tuned for more pearls of wisdom

I now see that this post will have to be in parts because it turns out that I have a lot to say on the subject. So start on this and stay tuned….




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