How come I’m not happy? I’ll be happy when I get that new car I’ve been wanting or when I finally get that promotion so I’ll be making more money. I know, I’ll finally be happy when I find that perfect relationship. Until then, I guess I’ll have to keep looking. Why can’t I be happy?
Most people look outside of themselves as the cause of their unhappiness or frustration. After all life would be practically perfect if the significant people in our lives would simply do things the way we want them to or do what we think is best for them. But in reality this is the kind of thinking that perpetuates our misery!
I can see that most of today’s unhappiness centers on those important people in our lives not cooperating with us because I’m guilty of letting this affect me too. Can anyone or everyone relate to that?
Have you ever had a child who makes a decision that puts them in serious danger? Have you ever had a significant other decide to relocate or make an employment decision with which you were not in agreement? Did one of your parents ever say something critical to you that shook your confidence? Ever had a supervisor who micro managed your work and never gave credit for your good work performance? (I’ve had my share and I don’t particularly care for it.) I think you get the idea. Any one or a combination of these things can be a source of unhappiness for us and I’m sure you can add several others to the list.
While we are in situations such as these, it sure feels like if the people in our lives would just cooperate and be the way we want them to be, then our lives would be so much better, happier and more fulfilling.
While this may in fact be true, what I also believe is this. While we are busy trying to get those significant others in our lives to do things our way, the behaviors we typically engage in to move others in our desired direction are exactly those behaviors that damage and ultimately destroy our relationships.
You know the behaviors I’m talking about: punishing them, making them feel guilty, complaining, nagging, threatening, criticizing, “the silent treatment” and if we are particularly savvy, rewarding to control them otherwise known as bribing.
If you are one of those people whose first choice of action is to negotiate and open the doors of communication, then you are truly rare. Ask yourself, what do you typically resort to when your attempts to resolve an issue fail?
How is that working out for you?
What I am about to say probably goes against what you have believed for your entire life. That is that you and you alone are responsible for your own happiness. If you are waiting for someone to do something differently or for that dream car to manifest itself in your life in order for you to be happy, then you are operating from the outside in instead of from the inside out.
I am not here to tell you to stop what you are currently doing. If you want to hold on to your belief that you’ll be happy when your wife becomes more affectionate, your children more obedient, your husband more supportive, your boss more appreciative, when you to get that education, pay off your credit cards, buy your first home, etc. then go ahead and keep waiting.
But for those of us who want to practice inside out thinking, who don’t like to give the power to others to control our happiness or any of our other moods or emotions there are various ways to accomplish this.
One is to remember that our happiness is already there, inside each and every one of us. It’s our natural state.
Another is to ask happy, empowering questions. Instead of asking “Why can’t I get ahead in life?” acknowledge where you are, then let it go and instead ask a question such as “What can I learn from this?” and/or “What can I do to improve my situation?” And then listen for the answer or look for the opportunity to present itself which will start you in the direction you want to go.
What I can help you with is learning how to be the person you want to be, feel the emotions you want to feel by changing what you do and how you think about things.
There is a quote I want to leave you with from Jimmy Dean. “You can’t change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust your sails.” This is representative of true inside out thinking. People and events are going to be what they are around us. There is very little we can do to impact other people’s behavior and the uncontrollable events in our lives, but there is always something each of us can do to better manage those things.How to Find True Happiness and Keep it Forever!