Each week, spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra responds to Oprah.com users' questions with enlightening advice to help them live their best lives.
Q: I am single (never married, no children) and I am bitter, to put it plainly. I used to be a doormat and allowed people to take so many liberties with my feelings—extended family, in particular. Currently, I am not in contact with any relatives, outside of my immediate family, because I am still very angry about the past. I'm not sure what I want to do with the rest of my life, as I do not have a degree. Last year, I did start a higher education program in hopes of earning my bachelor's degree, but I still do not feel happy, in any form. I'm embarrassed when I compare all of the years I have been an adult to what I have accomplished, but I try to keep that conversation out of my head. So where do I go from here?

— Linda K., St. Paul, Minnesota

Dear Linda,
You are still young, and you are on a path to being a more aware person. Keep this in mind. The big step is already behind you. Walking away from those who stomped on your boundaries and took advantage was a courageous move. You have inner resources, and you are taking advantage of them. Being unhappy is a temporary price to pay, I think. The past still casts a shadow over your emotions. In a sense, you are living in two time zones, but after a while the present—the time zone you are meant to be in—will start to be more important.

I don't want to deny you immediate relief. As I'm sure you already know, I advise meditation and finding a confidant in whom to confide, someone who will not judge you. The important thing in your case is you need to find someone who can bring you back to the present as often as you need it, which will be hundreds of times in the coming months and years. Find one person who is as grounded in present reality as you want to be. Form a relationship, ask for the exact help you need and keep looking until such a person agrees to be there for you.

As a recovering doormat, you find it hard to believe you have a right to make any demands. But this is one demand that a kind, understanding person will be happy to meet.


Next question: What can you do if you want to be happy, but feel like it's impossible?

Every week, Deepak will be answering questions from readers just like you—ask your question now!

Deepak Chopra is the author of more than 50 books on health, success, relationships and spirituality, including his current best-seller, Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul, and The Ultimate Happiness Prescription, which are available now. You can listen to his show on Saturdays every week on SiriusXM Channels 102 and 155.

Keep Reading:
Take control of your emotions
How to overcome your past
Heal from your difficult family history


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