Ego says, ‘Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel peace.’ Spirit says, ‘Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place.’” ~Marianne Williamson
Have you ever felt that something was missing in your life?
Who am I kidding, everyone has.
I used to be unhappy. But not just unhappy—miserable.
I’d look at other people and wonder what they had that I didn’t. I was sick of living my life. And being sick of it was the tipping point that changed it all. It’s what got me moving in the direction of what made my heart sing.
As I moved forward, I discovered that what was making me miserable wasn’t outside of me, but the habits I had built up over the years.
I’d like to share with you what those habits were, and how I overcame them.
1. Waiting for clarity.
I thought that in order to do what I loved and be happy, I had to know where I was going.
Turns out that was a mirage. It was a thought that I believed.
When I took action despite feeling confused, and simply did my best, I discovered that I could always take one step forward, clarity or no clarity.
It was like walking in a heavy fog. As long as I kept moving forward, more of my path revealed itself. But if I stood still, nothing would happen.
Fix: Don’t wait for clarity. Listen to your heart, and take one tiny step forward. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
2. Seeking permission from others.
I wanted others to tell me I was on the right track. The more I did this, the emptier I felt inside.
Why? Because I was giving my power away. Instead of listening to my own guidance system, I was relying on someone else.
It was confusing and disempowering.
I’ve never had an easy time just trusting life. I worry a lot. But over the years, I’ve realized that trusting myself is the only way toward living a fulfilling life.
Once I stopped trying to seek permission, or figure things out, my inner wisdom grew stronger, because it was no longer clouded by thoughts.
Fix: Don’t look to someone else for validation for your dreams. Go after what makes you come alive. That’s enough.
3. Hoping for future salvation.
Another unhelpful habit I have is living in the future, thinking that reaching my goals will make me happier.
However, I’ve noticed that once again, this is just a thought that I give power to.
I’ve also noticed that I’ve reached plenty of goals that I thought would make me happy, but didn’t.
Like me, you’ve probably heard the following phrase over and over again: “Happiness comes from the inside. It’s available right here, right now.”
For a long time, I wondered, “That’s all fine and good, but how do I use that in my life?”
The answer was to witness my thoughts, and let them pass by. I don’t have to believe in every thought that tells me that the future holds the key to my happiness.
Once I let those thoughts pass, I notice that there’s a source of joy within, always available to me.
Fix: When you find yourself living in the future, just notice what you’re doing. Let go of the tendency and observe what’s going on. This is a practice, so don’t worry if you don’t get it perfect.
4. Wanting to take big leaps.
When I get caught up in thinking that the future will save me, I want to take big leaps. I want to hurry to my goal.
Yet this behavior makes reaching my goal less likely. It introduces sloppiness into my work. It produces an aroma of selfishness.
But, if I let things take their time, and if I let those thoughts pass, there’s a sense of peace.
As I write this, I’m not in a hurry. I sense the wanting to finish, but I witness it. I don’t get involved. Then I return my focus to writing, and letting the words flow on paper.
And my soul smiles. My heart nods. My breath deepens.
I remember: “This is it. This is life.”
Fix: Big leaps assume that happiness is in the future. Take a deep breath. Notice how much happiness is available right now. No big leaps needed, just a remembering of who you are.