Turning inward

“This is true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one…the being a force of nature instead of feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” George Bernard Shaw

What makes you happy? Do you make yourself happy?

I’ve started hearing co-dependent used more frequently. I had to actually look it up to figure out what it meant. Essentially our happiness is tied to the approval and happiness of others. While not everyone reading this will relate, I guarantee everyone knows someone like this. And while it is terribly hard for me to admit this, I am someone you know who plays in this realm.

I know many people who go away for a week to a silent retreat, yoga retreats, any number of self-help conferences in order to have some time of insight, problem-solving, planning and reflecting.They tuen inward to listen to their guides and their inner muse.

For a long time, I sought my approval and validation solely outside of myself. I’d lean into close friends who were not afraid to tell me what a dumbass I was or, that they thought I was on the right track. For years, I put my happiness in the hands of others, including significant others. I lived many lives of what I thought others want, easily dismissing what I wanted in order to keep peace. It was truly feverish and selfish, completely out of control. Mostly, it was ridiculous.

Stepping out of that realm has not been easy. It’s a well worn path in my brain and we all like the path of least resistance and familiarity. I have to catch myself and get courageously honest with myself in order to break the cycle. It certainly takes awareness and commitment.

Daily I encounter people who seek happiness outside of their self. A few are gripping so tightly to their ideals and false lives that they cannot even see the beauty of release. I have watched people close to me and those I know only peripherally so wrapped up in the lie of their life, that they would rather live a miserable existence than to take the risk of being a force of nature, completely in control of their own happiness. Tragic. Life is too short not to make your joy your purpose.

I invite you to take a courageously honest look at your own life. Do you find yourself feeling responsible every time your partner or best friend, parent or sibling is unhappy? If so, take a pause and ask yourself, in that exact moment, other than their happiness, what would bring you great joy? Then, would you be willing to take action on that?

I do hope you’ll share your experience with me in the comments below.