I’m going to introduce you to a little thing called the self-discrepancy theory. Very generally, negative emotions (i.e. unhappiness/guilt) result from discrepancies between your motivations and what you do/how you represent yourself. In theory, the solution is straight forward. But, the actual practice of making sure what is important to you aligns with what you are doing, is hard.
To keep yourself on track, consider the pie chart approach:
- Identify your main motivations in life and/or what is important to you;
- Figure out how the motivations/important things relate to each other;
- Put it into a pie chart.
The resulting chart illustrates your “internal standard.” Ideally, the more your actions are in harmony with the pie, the less guilt/worry you feel, and the happier you are. An example chart:
Avoid couching things in likes and dislikes, but rather as things that can be done to help your happiness level…I mean, does anyone actually enjoy the job search process??? Commitment-phobes–rest easy. You’re not married to this pie chart. It’s flexible, and you don’t have to follow it everyday. Use it as a general guideline to make sure you are paying attention to what matters to you. Put the chart somewhere easy to see i.e. stick it to your door, set it as your phone screensaver.
This is just an idea I am throwing out…not professional advice. If you or someone you know is in a bad place, really consider seeking a professional. FYI: if you haven’t heard already, we’re close to developing a blood test that may predict the risk of suicide. The leap here is that self-help/counseling/advice may not suffice.
Stay happy, stay strong.