In life, are you where you want to be?
Whether you are where you want to be, feel like you are stuck between two different places or scared you might end up sitting on something sharp by accident, the idea of taking your place in life is central to self development. You can go through life searching for something and never find it, or think you have found what you were looking for but realise it is not what you really wanted. Knowing where you want to be professionally is just as important. Here, Doctissimo has the key to finding your place in life and staying there!
At the office, Emily often has the feeling of being in an ejection seat. Julien’s dream job has already been taken away from right under his nose. Isabelle often feels like she isn’t where she wants to be in life and Hugo feels trapped between two places... You can’t always know where you want to be in life, how to get there or how to stay there. Doubt automatically leads to stress when we aspire to a clear goal. But what issues come into play when it comes to being where you want to be, and why do we sometimes have such difficulty in finding out what we want and getting it? Here, Sarah Sériévic*, a psychotherapist specialised in psychodrama, explains all.
An internal conversation
You might already have had the feeling of suddenly being in the wrong place. Perhaps you are asking yourself what you are doing with your life? Where you want to be is something you ask yourself on the inside. When you have found where you want to be, you feel uplifted immediately; both recognised and valued, and therefore more motivated and keen to apply yourself. And one thing that is guaranteed is that you are always aiming for something at work, even if you can’t be sure of what it is!
On the work front, as Sarah Sériévic tells us; “We are all in the right place as soon as we feel that there is potential to progress there and that we want to participate, as much for ourselves as for the good of the team.” In this way, each of us feels like a strong link, finding our rightful place. However, this isn’t always the case. Too often, we wait for someone to give us the break we need, while in reality it is down to each individual to get where they want to be. Everything depends on how you see yourself and where you are. Feeling legitimate, and being conscious of your value and abilities gives you the key to feeling good about your life!
The importance of brothers and sisters
Family background has a profound effect on your ability to “take your place in the limelight”, for better or for worse. From childhood, we are confronted with this idea. Our first experience of territorial instincts takes place in the context of sibling rivalry, where brothers and sisters argue over their places in the family. The oldest sibling, who has the top spot, will defend his or her privileges from the second arrival. As for the second child, if a third comes along, he or she will be stuck in the middle. To get the attention of the parents and to eclipse the youngest, the middle child will make most effort in trying to please the parents, either by being the youngest or the eldest. Stuck between these two roles, the middle child will continue to have trouble finding his own place in life.
Another determining factor is the regard parents have for the children, and whether or not the children feel validated or not. As adults, the children will replay these scenarios where they had to work out their places in order to shape their self-identity.
Do you constantly need to reassert yourself?
You work hard, that’s undeniable, but without receiving the recognition you deserve. As a result, you seem to be constantly striving to prove yourself.
What’s really going on here? You deserve it, everyone says so. Be brave and persevere! That spot in the limelight is rightfully yours, but you feel as if you are still in the shadows. You might hide your light under a bushel as a result.. But is this really what you want to be doing? According to Sarah Sériévic; “The idolisation of a parent can be at the heart of the problem.” When you have worshipped either your father or your mother, it is often difficult to step up yourself and claim your own worth. Having these idealised images can hinder your own, personal development.
Our advice? You have constructed your self image around the idealised perceptions of your father and mother which are totally unrealistic. To remedy the situation, try and find your own place in life without being afraid to make mistakes and show yourself up as being imperfect...
Do you feel like you are in an ejection seat?
Do you feel like you are being sidelined more and more, or perhaps people keep mistaking you for someone else? Anyone else could be where you are and do it just as well. Basically, you don’t feel like you are irreplaceable.
What’s really going on here? The notion of being where you should be is linked to the idea of territory, which can be both a mental concept as well as a physical space. In this way, open plan offices and hot desking can aggravate the problem. To be given a project and then see it taken away and given to another over and over again can make you feel insecure. “On the one hand, you need a private personal space where you can develop your skills and your personal identity, but on the other you need to engage with other people and apply yourself to your work,” Sarah Sériévic analyses. As soon as the boundaries become blurred, confusion sets in and with it the feeling of being easily replaceable. This is inevitable!
Our advice? To be able to demonstrate what makes you unique to everyone else, you need to start developing your assertiveness. This will allow you to draw from your own abilities and inner strength. Know what makes you so special and prove it!
Your colleague is stealing the limelight
The only thing that is different about this colleague is that he doesn’t question his worth. He always puts himself forward and watches you as he passes, confident that he is the one who is expected to get ahead.
What’s really going on here? He has an irrational need to exist thanks to his incredible narcissism! This could stem from an upbringing where parents validated their child too much. If parents treats their child like a “hero”, the child will construct his self-image around this in order to please them. He will then continue to feel this obligation to fill this place they have given him even as an adult. “He will go on trying to respond to parental expectations and take the top spot, without really having the ability or skills necessary,” explains Sarah Sériévic. This makes him vulnerable, which he compensates for with self-assurance that actually has no basis! This child has grown up without knowing who he really is, only able to put on a show. His achilles’ heel is the fact that, for him, only social identity counts. When it comes to retirement, the disappearance of this cultivated image can lead to an identity crisis.
Our advice? When you are faced with this situation, dare to assert yourself and put your point of view forward without expecting him to change the way he does things. The most important thing is to know who you are and where you should be.
(*) Psychotherapist, trained in psychodrama by Anne Ancelin Schützenberger. She has also developed a new form of therapy, "le théâtre authentique" (Theatre Therapy).
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