As I said I have been on the personal growth journey since Easter 1999. That is when I woke up (and no it was not when I joined a cult and got forgiven for my sins if I did X, Y, and Z … and gave them $10,000 to show my level of commitment ;-)).
Though I did have the right teacher for me, saying the right things, in the right way, at the right time for me to wake up.
I used to tell myself that I was ‘unlucky’. I would always be the one caught with their hand in the cookie jar, or throwing that rock at something I shouldn’t, or saying the wrong thing to someone and making them cry.
I was BLAMING circumstances and people OUTSIDE of myself for the problems I had in my life.
But when I looked inwards I came to realise a few home truths.
- I was making stupid decisions on a regular basis.
- I was not considering any consequences of my decisions.
- I was making my worst decisions under the influence of alcohol. (Which I am sure none of you have ever done before. ;-))
I realised that I was not unlucky. I just took no personal accountability or responsibility for my actions and I blamed things outside of myself, for what was happening or not happening in my life.
I finally woke up to my part in this game of life. I realised that if I wanted to change what was happening on the outside, I needed to do the following:
- I needed to take personal responsibility.
- I needed to be more conscious when considering the consequences of my actions.
- I needed to be less reactive and more purposeful.
- I needed to change on the inside to impact things on the outside.
So here is the lesson I want to share…
Really Important thing to understand 1: If you want things to change don’t start here
I observe people.
All the time…
…I love to ponder why people do what they do.
What I have observed is that most people (and myself at times) think that by changing something externally we are suddenly going to be more happy or joyful or in love with life. We think we need a new car, a new job, a new house, a new relationship, a new level of salary, a new outfit, a makeover, etc.
We are lured into this idea that we are incomplete and some material outside of us will fill the void and make us suddenly happy.
Unfortunately there is this thing in psychology called ‘ADAPTION’. Meaning that as humans we have evolved to adapt to new circumstances (and new things) relatively quickly, so our brains no longer fire off the happy chemicals when we get into our new (now 3-month old) car. Therefore getting stuff outside of ourselves to change our internal emotional state, over the long term will just not work. You will need bigger and badder things to stimulate your mind and body, to create the emotional responses you desire.
So looking outside for things and people to make you happy is at best a short-term fix.
If you want to have more happiness, joy, and fulfillment in your life, you are going to have to do the inner work.
Sorry for the bad news. 😉
But the good news is that it is FREE.
Really important thing to understand 2: This is your natural state
Okay. I am going to say something that you might object to, or fight against.
But I am ready to go out on a limb in order to serve you as best as I can.
… Joy is our natural state of being.
How does that feel?
Are you ready to throw things at me?
PS: This is what I believe, and I also believe it takes work in order to allow it to happen.
So what this means is that all of us have within us the capacity to experience more joy in our lives; and if we continue to do the inner work, we have the opportunity to experience joy on a more consistent basis. None of us are broken, or so broken, that we cannot experience more consistent joy.
Joy is your natural state.
Possible? Yes. Takes work? Yes. Worth doing the work? ABSOLUTELY!
Really important thing to understand 3: Where to start
We all need (I am with you on this one) to get better at managing those pesky emotions. Peeling back the layers of the habitual emotional patterns we succumb to unconsciously and taking back more control of our bodies by the conscious use of our minds.
And this starts with inward observation. Getting clear of our habitual behaviours. Our poor thinking. Our fixation on the things we don’t want. Our obsession with what is the worst thing that could happen. Our reactive emotions in particular situations. Our decisions made from unconscious emotions, as opposed to the mind directing the body and emotions. Getting clear of the triggers that set us off. The pictures we play in our minds. The uncomfortable experiences we have stuffed down so we don’t have to deal with them.
To change the outwards experience of our life, we need to look inwards and do the inner word.
As the saying goes: Success is 80% based on our personal psychology (our inner world).
To summarize very quickly; in order to change our results we need to work on a few things, which are all within your control:
- Your thinking (what you focus your attention on).
- Your emotions (what emotions you practice).
- Your behaviours (how you act).
Really important thing to understand 4: What to get fixated on
If we spend a lot of time focusing on what we don’t want in our lives, can you imagine the result we would get if we became fixated on what we really do want in our lives.
Imagine if we did mental rehearsals of the things we really want, the person we want to become, the feelings we want to feel, the impact we want to make and legacy we want to leave behind.
Imagine if we spent our time doing that.
What do you think would happen then?
Do you want to know how I do this?
I go inwards. I start on the inside. Just like those elite athletes have been doing for centuries. When I am meditating I play the picture in my mind of what I do want. I also connect to the feelings I would be feeling if I was in that reality. And when we do that – creating a thought and feeling an emotion – we actually create new neural pathways in our brains. And the stronger the emotion associated with that new memory of that new future event, the stronger the neural pathways will become. The more likely that new way of being (how you show up) will be stored as a known memory in the base of your brain.
So remember…mentally rehearse what you do want as you create elevated emotions to go with it.
My main point for this article is that if we think we are going to change how we feel and how we experience life for the better by trying to move all the pieces outside of ourselves, we will be doing heavy hauling till the day we die.
It is much more effective, efficient and potent if we start from the inside out.
When we truly change something on the inside it impacts everything on the outside at once.
It starts with taking personal responsibility. Becoming aware of who you are being. Paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. And then doing the work to consciously choose (time and time again); your ideal reality, your preferred emotions and your omtimal behaviours. Sound like fun? Then what are you waiting for? 😉
And thus endeth the lesson for today.
Go in… 😉