How often do you question your interpretation of reality? From my experience working as a coach this is an infrequent occurrence. We give away our power without even understanding we are doing it.
We spend so much of our life chasing happiness that we don't recognize it’s not something to chase, it’s something to cultivate. All that we crave is within ourselves, but we have been conditioned to believe that the Source of All Happiness is outside of us.
As Sadhguru, a renowned indian mystic said, “When your inner experience is determined by something or someone else, that’s the worst form of slavery.”
THE WORLD WE LIVE IN
When you look around our world, you will see people constantly striving for more - BELIEVING when they get more THEN they will be happy. What I find ironic is society has conditioned us to blindly believe that our outside environment creates our internal satisfaction, but that could not be further from the truth.
Think back to 10 years ago. Did you imagine a future life that would make you happy, finally? What did you imagine? Because here you are, with a life, 10 years later filled with work obligations, family, friends and everything else that makes up your day to day - but are you happy?
So many people I know would say No, they want more. And then they justify why they need more.
The truth is, the dream life we crave is simply a state of being that we have the ability to create. We want to BE happy or we want to BE healthy, but we can’t seem to wake ourselves up to the fact that we can create that reality for ourselves. We don’t have to wait for it.
THE INNER MANAGER
Let me introduce you to your Inner Manager. Have you met them before? So many of us have been conditioned to fear meeting our Inner Manager. We shy away from looking within ourselves, but why?
From what I’ve learned it’s largely because we are afraid of what we might find.
Isn’t that silly though? You’re in there, so on some level, don’t you already know what’s going on in there? What if the fear you feel is actually an illusion you are creating?
What’s fascinating in my work as a coach is, once my clients understand the need to go inward and they work up the courage to explore, they are pleasantly surprised. It’s as if they expect to open their eyes to their inner manager and see a bunch of hate and negativity, but what they find is actually loving compassion.
Let's be real, you are already aware of the bully that lives in your head. You hear it all the time, second guessing your choices, encouraging you to make unhealthy decisions or putting you down when you look in the mirror. When you actually open your eyes and heart to your inner manager you will see the bully.
But you already know the bully is there; it’s the other elements within you, the loving and kind elements that you are blind to.
Our inner manager is only as capable as we are. If you are too afraid to slow down and look within yourself, then you will constantly be seeking external satisfaction from others, becoming a slave within yourself. However, if you embrace your courage and energize your Inner Manager you can restore your internal power.
We all seek out satisfaction, worthiness, and importance from external sources, but aren’t WE the ones who decide whether WE are worthy or important? But instead we attach these intense values to our external world, oftentimes because that’s what we see others doing.
When I first became a trainer, I recall joking with clients that I didn’t have a “real job”. After hearing how stressed they were, and recognizing I wasn’t nearly as stressed, I attached meaning to my job. I chose to assign a meaning to my job that it wasn’t a “real job” because I wasn’t stressed. As I progressed and became a manager, stress was introduced to my working world and I remember FEELING ‘I’m an adult now.’
Why did I believe I needed to be stressed in order to have a “real” job? Well, that’s what I saw all around me; people my age, feeling stressed about their work. And we do the same thing with our sense of worth and importance.
Take a moment after you read this question and consider this- Do you attach your sense of being “busy” to your value? As in, if you are busy then you are worthy or “good enough”?
ENTER YOUR COMFORT ZONE
I’m hoping your answer is No, that’s not what you're going for. In that case I need to be honest - if you want to change that experience you need to be open to feeling uncomfortable. Let me explain.
Our comfort zone is a misunderstood space. I’ve mentioned this before in my Think Yourself Happy Blog, but I want to elaborate. We all know what it’s like to come face to face with that internal resistance of discomfort. There are times where you have to push through that discomfort (like attending a job interview) and others where you stay afraid (like avoiding a social event). But this is EXACTLY where you need to enlist your Inner Manager.
Consider when you start a new job. At first you’re uncomfortable. You want to do a good job, but you’re not completely sure what that entails. After a few weeks you start to feel a little better, having a better understanding of your responsibilities. After a few months, you could almost do it with your eyes closed.
So what changed? PRACTICE!
At work we are faced with myriad uncomfortable situations, but we usually justify that it’s part of “work” so we do it. But what about in life? The truth is, you haven’t had enough practice operating outside your comfort zone. So, if you want to BE happy you need to practice being uncomfortable and get to know and work with your Inner Manager.
HOW TO DO THAT
How do you get to know your Inner Manager and understand your unconscious attachments? You need to witness yourself NON-JUDGMENTALLY. It’s crucial you leave the judgment behind, because if you want your Inner Manager to manage your internal elements, they need to feel safe. And nobody feels safe when they’re being judged, right?
So try this: when you are angry or sad, take a seat in your mind and listen.
What is going on? Try not to give energy to the thoughts, but rather just listen like you would to a friend. Ask yourself, Why am I bothered by this? How am I attaching meaning to the circumstances around me? Then wait for your mind to answer the questions.
Next, consider three alternate meanings you can attach to the same circumstances.
Finally, CHOOSE to let go of the attached meaning and embrace one of the alternative meanings. We all operate within our own mind, which makes us very self absorbed thinking everything is about us.
Let’s say for example you’re angry that your body doesn’t look the way you want it to. Let’s walk through the process;
I’m bothered because it makes me feel insecure and I doubt myself and my efforts. It makes me feel like a failure. I’m making it mean that if my body doesn’t look the way I want it to I’m a failure and I’ll never be good enough
Some alternative meanings could be;
Maybe my body looks this way to protect me from injuries or illness
Maybe my body looks this way to teach me patience in the process of becoming healthy
Maybe my body looks this way to teach me to stop living my life based on imaginary visions I attach to
Maybe my body looks this way to distract me from more important actions
As I let go, I breathe and realize sometimes there’s a bigger plan in play. All I can do is control my actions.
CHANGE BY CHALLENGE
Remember the quote at the beginning of this blog, “When your inner experience is determined by something or someone else, that’s the worst form of slavery.”
This embodies your challenge. If you ALLOW another person's actions or the environment around you to “make you feel'' angry then you are giving away your power. So, the first step is working to understand why you are bothered and the meaning you’re attaching to it. Then understand it’s not about you and choose to embrace an alternative meaning.
Know that this is a practice. You will “fail” but don’t get busy attaching meaning to failing and being bothered by it. In this circumstance the “failure” is valuable, because you can learn from it. Each lesson you learn from becomes valuable fuel to help you overcome the challenge and change so you can live in your desired state of being.
So what do you say, are you up for the challenge?