If I could share one thing I have learned from the many personal development books and podcasts I have listened to it is this – happiness can never be found outside of yourself. And you aren’t able to make anyone else happy. If someone is depending on you to make them happy, you’ll never succeed. And someone else blaming you for their unhappiness is the definition of codependency.
True joy can only be found when we are connected to the love inside of ourselves. While we are connected to that love, we are able to release the ego, which is the source of our suffering.
If someone says that winning the lottery would make them happy, it’s false. Money is one of the most prominent activators of ego there is. Even with an overflowing bank account you will still have the same thoughts in your head that you have swirling around in there today. Money won’t change that. Money is likely to make your fear even stronger so you’ll either want to hoard the money or spend it all quickly. Either way will be spent in fear of not having it or of having it.
If someone says that they would be happy if that one person in their life would stop acting in the way they are acting, that is also false. A selfish husband, a jerky boss, a disrespectful kid, are all ways that we tell ourselves we aren’t happy. We are literally putting our lives in other people’s hands or more accurately, other people’s minds. We all have ego’s we deal with. And anyone who is not acting in a place of love and kindness is strongly in their ego. To not allow ourselves to feel joy because someone else is living in their own ego doesn’t make any sense. It’s actually an excuse to stay unhappy because most of us don’t feel worthy to receive the love inside of ourselves.
Whatever it is that you think will make you happy; a promotion, losing weight, a new car, a thriving business, none of those things can provide you the feelings you think you’ll feel once you get them. It’s the feeling you want, the feeling of happiness.
The only way to bring the feeling of happiness into our lives is if we think happy thoughts. And our thoughts are habitual, deeply engrained from all our past emotions and experiences. We mistakenly think that if specific outer experiences happen, that somehow those experiences will be able to change the thoughts in our heads and we will instantly be filled with happiness, appreciation and gratitude and that all of a sudden, the thoughts that bring us jealousy, anger and irritation will magically go away. That never happens. Let me ask you a question – has that ever worked in the past?
Those experiences might bring fleeting pleasure, but in a short time the ego will take over and old negative thoughts will get mixed in there with the new happy thoughts and before you know it you are back to where you started.
This sounds doom and gloomy, but actually I’m building here for the most amazing lesson. The secret to lasting happiness is already within you. All you need to do is remove the negative thoughts. It’s actually so simple it’s kind of crazy that we as humans haven’t figured it yet.
We are the only ones who are responsible for the thoughts in our heads. And we can control those thoughts. The thoughts that come first and most quickly are the thoughts we have been thinking from our past, so they are like a knee jerk reaction, habitual. Like the way you know which direction you need to drive your car to get home. You don’t think about it you just do it. Negative thoughts are just like that.
Neuroplasticity is a fancy scientific word that means we can change our past thoughts. The studies I’ve read on this often describe our thoughts as metaphor to a hiking trail. The engrained negative thoughts we have are like a trail that has been worn down over time, it’s easily traveled. New happy thoughts are like forging a new path in the woods.
How do we do this? How do we get connected to the love inside ourselves and release old negative thoughts that come from the ego’s fear?
I don’t know any other way to get connected to the love inside yourself other than meditating. So, if you have told yourself a story that you can’t meditate well then sucks for you. You’ll never have happiness…. kidding! You will have to decide want to try something that will allow you to live a life full of the most incredible joy you could imagine, no matter what your outer circumstances are. Or you can decide to not try and keep the old story that you can’t meditate and stay unhappy. All you need to do is for about 15-20 minutes a day is to sit on your bum, and do nothing other than clear your mind and visualize yourself being connected to a source of all loving light.
For releasing old negative thoughts, the most important thing to do first is to become aware of the negative thoughts without judgement. That’s the first step, once you can do that you are only a few more steps away from releasing those old thoughts and replacing them with thoughts that will make you happy.
Both of these tactics are simple on the surface but can be intimidating in practice if you don’t have the right strategies, support and guidance in place. I will be posting a series of blogs on this specific topic to help you in this process. In the meantime, if you have any questions or need support, please send me a private message.