Nearly everybody in this society cares a great deal about how others see them, about how the world may be judging them and their actions in any given moment.
“What do people expect me to do in this situation?” we ask.
“What should I be doing/saying/thinking/feeling?”
“What is everybody else doing?”
“How can I keep up with the Jones’s?”
If we wish to truly feel happy and live our most joyful, fulfilling lives, these are not the questions we need to be asking. These questions only lead us further down the rabbit hold of trying to impress others, trying to live up to something, trying to live the fictitious American dream, which ends up causing more suffering and unhappiness than joy and fulfillment.
If we truly care about our own joy and fulfillment, we must learn to ask ourselves meaningful questions about what WE most want and desire rather than what we feel we should do based on our societal conditioning. We must ask ourselves questions like:
“Who do I most want to be?”
“What do I most want to create in the world?”
“What truly makes me the most happy/inspired/delighted/energized?”
Then once we’re more clear about these things:
“How do I go about being the person I most want to be?”
“How do I start creating the things I most want to create?”
“What can I do right now/today/this week/etc. to live a happier, more inspired, more energetic and fulfilling life?”
Meaningful questions lead to meaningful answers and lead us to meaningful actions and results. Low quality, other-centered questions lead us to answers that feel icky, empty, and just don’t fit who we are and what we want and where we want to go in our lives.
Let us go within and ask ourselves for answers about how to best live our lives rather than looking outside of ourselves for those answers. Let us start by acknowledging that we hold much knowledge and wisdom within, and that the more we connect to this within ourselves, the greater our ability to make choices that lead us on a happier, healthier track.
No more going outside of ourselves to seek approval or validation to do the things we most want to do. No more looking outside of ourselves for answers about how to spend our time and energy and how to live our lives. We must learn to become more inner-directed. Once we have mastered this skill to hear this inner voice clearly and become clear on what we most want, then it’s appropriate to seek outside advice and insights.
You have much to gain from the love, support, insights, wisdom, and guidance of other people, but you gain the MOST from others when you first learn how to love, support, and guide yourself. And at the end of the day, it’s crucial to recognize that your own opinion of yourself and your life is what matters most; a thousand people will have a thousand different opinions about who you are and the way you live your life. Do you really wish to attempt the feeble, impossible goal to please and cater to each of these thousand people? At the end of the day, your only responsibility is to yourself and your guiding vision for yourself and your life. Other people are in charge of their own happiness, success, and life path, and you are in charge of yours. What’s right, best, and true for one person may be completely off the mark for another.
Ask those meaningful questions and honor the inner voice that answers you. Take these answers seriously and allow them to guide you in your thoughts, actions, and life. And once you become clear on your vision for yourself and your life, seek out additional guidance, support, and insight from other sources. The danger in asking the opinion of others too soon is that it can crowd out your own answers and guidance, namely when you are feeling unsure about what you want.
Do not doubt your ability to figure out what you want. Kids do it all the time, easily and effortlessly- some would say a little too much. You did it naturally when you were a kid also; it’s just a part of you that has been chiseled away by societal conditioning to make the expectations of outside forces more important than your own wants and needs.
So, I’m not asking you to do the impossible, to do something that you’re incapable of. I’m merely asking you to go back to something you were able to do when you first came into this world. If you could do it then, at 2 and 3 years old, you can surely do it now. It’s just a matter of acknowledging that you can do this, and making a commitment to yourself to begin living for your own happiness and well-being rather than for the opinions of the people around you.
Throughout the day, affirm to yourself: “I make my own happiness and well-being a top priority in my life,” and before you know it, your life will begin to reflect this intention.
This is where unfulfilling, discontented life ends and passionate, joyful living begins.