If something in your life is not working what do you do? The natural reaction is to change it right? If your not happy in your job, you find a new one, if your not happy in your relationship then you end it, if your not happy being single then you look for a relationship, if your feeling fat then you go to the gym, if you always seem to spend more money than you have, you create a budget plan, if you think you're smoking too much, then you try to quit, if you don't like your living situation you look for a new home..... you get the picture.
We are taught that if we want to create change, then we just jump in to the outer world and we make it happen.
However, often we go out making these changes in the hope that this will make us happy. We are convinced that the reason that we are unhappy is because something in our life is not right. We blame our unhappiness on the things outside of us.
For as long as I remember this is how I have lived my life. But if I have realised anything over the past few years, it is that outside change doesn't always guarantee happiness. Often these outer changes are just band-aid solutions. They are temporary fixes. They give you an initial buzz and then pretty soon that wears off and the underlying feeling of unhappiness comes back. That's when you start looking for the next thing to satisfy you.
What if the key to happiness doesn't actually lay outside of us, but rather inside us?
I have come to a significant turning point in my life. I have realised that true, long lasting, genuine happiness does not come from those things outside of me.
It is true that outside things, events and circumstances do create feelings of happiness in us. But if you depend on them for your happiness, you will always be powerless. They will always control you. The key to having these things in your life is to see them as beautiful additions, rather than as necessary things that you need to have to define you, to give your life meaning and to make you happy.
Over the past few years, I have tried to change pretty much every outside circumstance in my life in the hope that it will make me happy. I have tried everything from moving house, to changing jobs, to going overseas, to moving interstate, to ending relationships, to starting relationships, to making new friends or letting go of old friends, I have tried losing weight, changing my hair colour, wearing different clothes, taking up new hobbies.... the list goes on.
I have recently grown tired of continuously trying to change the circumstances in my outer world in order to make me happy. I felt like all I was doing was spending my life searching for something outside of me to heal the inner dissatisfaction I felt. I kept telling myself when I got this next thing, or made that next change then I would be happier, but it didn't work. That nagging empty feeling just kept lingering.
So, this realisation has caused me to go on a different search. Rather then searching outside of me for something in my world to make me happy, I decided to take the search inwards. I am now embarking on a new journey.
This new way of living involves me refraining from my constant need to change things outside of me and instead look inside me. The inner world is the place of your beliefs, your feelings, your thoughts, your emotions, your perceptions and interpretations, your memories, and who you are being. This is where change starts. When you shift the way you see, experience, interpret and feel the world, your world will actually change. Inside change means changing who you are as a person. You change from the inside out. You realise that if youre feeling unhappy, there is nothing you can get in the outside world that will fix it. Rather you delve inside to discover what the root cause of your unhappiness is and you do the inner work to heal it.
I am sure this topic will continue to feature in my future posts as it is a big focus for me at the moment. It will be an ongoing journey for me. I look forward to sharing more about how we can make the shift from living a life focused on gaining instant satisfaction from outside change, to a life focused on cultivating inner change and creating long term, genuine happiness from inside-out.