Stop Outsourcing Your Happiness

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A lot of us are waiting for our lucky break. For our numbers to come in. To strike it rich on the roulette wheel of life. That’s why people buy lottery tickets, cross their fingers and bet everything on a roll of the dice. It’s also why, for many of us, life seems so unfair. When will our ship come in? When will our day come?

When will X happen to us, to deliver us the life we truly deserve?

But the problem with this type of thinking is that it’s the same type of thinking that blames all the bad stuff on the world around us. Those unfortunate circumstances, those bad things that always happen to us, the way we’ve been dealt such a bad hand and that things never go our way.

In all of these circumstances we are outsourcing our fate. We are blaming the world for not delivering the milk and honey we were promised, and similarly blaming the world when we get rained on and we forgot our umbrella, or we leave the stove on and set fire to the kitchen, or we don’t look where we’re going and trip over that man lying on the ground.

We do it to ourselves, we do. We’ve been brought up in a system that wants us to believe that if we work hard and don’t rock the boat, we will get our rewards. But we’ve been sold a lie. And what’s worse than that, is that we know this is the case, but we’re either to afraid to admit it, too lazy to do anything about it, or too comfortable in the miserable life we’re familiar with to take a risk for the happiness we aren’t.

And the result is that we work harder and harder, get more and more tired, and find ourselves disillusioned because our rewards haven’t come yet. Life is happening to us, and all we can do is watch as it passes us by, occasionally dropping a piano on our heads.

But here’s the beautiful thing – it doesn’t need to be this way. We can turn it all around by simply changing our perspective. When we understand that we are the cause of our bad luck, unfortunate circumstances and unrealised dreams, and that by sitting back and doing nothing all these years, it has led us to exactly where we find ourselves now, then we can take steps to do something about it. We can take ownership of our circumstances, and of our emotional wellbeing.

Rather than looking outwards for our contentment, rather than outsourcing our happiness, we can find it by looking inwards. Rather than ruminating on how awful the world is, we can train ourselves to appreciate how wonderful our inside world is. Rather than seeing pain and misery all around us, we can see joy and hope and contentment within us. And both paradoxically and wonderfully, as we engage in these practices and we reprogram our internal belief structures, the outside world begins to change to meet them.

Where before we were surrounded by muddy paths and rain clouds, we being to see new growth in the lush, fertile soil. Where before our angry scowl scared people off, our gentle smile now warms them to us. Where we only saw obstacles, now we begin to see opportunities.

We learn the power of relaxing our grip, or learning to let go, and where before there was tension in our world, now we find it at ease, and ourselves with it. As we allow the great weight that has been bearing down on our shoulders to lift off, our world brightens, our circumstances change and we find we’re no longer bitter, but we are happy where we are, and we are ready to take those small steps of action that will inch us towards our dreams. Or at the very least, to do something small that will bring happiness to us, to others, or to the world in general.

We engage in random acts of kindness, creativity flows, and we begin to find great joy in even the smallest, most mundane things. A falling leaf, the eddies in the river, the sound of doves on the roof, or children laughing in the house next door. The soft rug beneath our toes, the feel of our favourite pen, a loved-one looking happy and well.

All around us the world sparkles and fizzes with joy and happiness, and we sparkle with it. And we know then that we’ve connected to something strange and amazing. We’ve connected to life.

Life is beautiful if you know how to look at it.