If you find yourself unhappy at midlife, you might be wondering how on earth you got here. Unhappiness at midlife might present itself as low mood but can also contain elements of discontentment, unfulfillment and entrapment. It’s a tricky life transition and perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of confronting it is having to take responsibility for getting yourself to this unsatisfactory place.
Taking Responsibility for Change in Midlife
Many people want to make changes at midlife but are a bit unsure how or what to change. At midlife, people more often than not have responsibilities whether that be to an employer, work colleagues, partners, elderly relatives or children alongside commitments both financial and moral. So, it’s a tricky thing to continue on with these responsibilities and find the space for yourself to figure out what needs to change and then to make that happen.
The key thing about change is that without taking responsibility for the life choices you have made which may not have worked out as you would have liked, you are powerless to be able to make ongoing, further choices as you are assigning your own power to another, possibly higher power.
A lack of responsibility might sound like ‘I was born unlucky’. ‘These are the cards I was dealt’, ‘Fate lead me here, ‘My parents messed me up’ or ‘My parent was an alcoholic’. If you blame others for your current position, you risk putting yourself in a Victim position which is a powerless, vulnerable position, where things can happen to you, and you feel you have no agency to prevent or change them.
Blaming parents or anyone else for your unhappiness, misfortunes or achievements when you are in your 40s or 50s doesn’t really wash anymore, you have to assume responsibility for the choices you made as an adult, which is age 18 years in most countries. Without a doubt a parent’s poor, unemotional or self-destructive behaviour can negatively impact your life, but in Midlife, still using the poor behaviour of others as a reason for your failure, no longer carries any weight.
If you are unhappy you have to assume responsibility for where you are currently in your life, in order to make change. Then, you can really start manoeuvring and create the life you want to live!