Note: The Audio version of ‘Myth 6 Drastically changing your life will lead to happiness’ is at the end of this article.
When we have tried to pursue every other happiness myth to no avail, consequently there is nothing left but this one. For us to get happy, we have to drastically change our life.
Over the 23 years that I have worked with clients, many people have come in desperately seeking guidance and direction with their current situation. There are only two options that they feel are available to them. And they are grappling with the difficult decision that’s at hand. Stay or go.
This concept, stay or go, may be notably bigger than you first think. It’s not just only a ‘stay or go’ with ‘my marriage’, it’s significantly relevant in many other areas of our lives. My long or short-term partner, my current relationship with either parent. My job, my career, my uni or tafe course, the school I attend, the sport I play, my hairstyle, my current group of friends, my best friend, my family home, my housemate, the suburb, the state, the country I live in, even down to Apple or Samsung.
There are no other options available to me. I am at this point in my life. For happiness to be obtainable for me I need to drastically change my life.
Trapped in Un-Happiness
If we decide that for us, to pursue our happiness, we need to leave. Then we are significantly disillusioned if we can’t. To find yourself in a position where you feel completely stuck in the life that you have now is overwhelmingly powerless. This is not a great place to be.
The narrative I hear from clients, being both adults and kids, often goes something like this, “I can't change my life, I can't leave.”
“I can’t leave my partner, it’s so messy and financially a terrible idea.”
“I definitely can’t leave my job because I've got a mortgage and we’re dependent upon the money.”
“My partner and I have got three kids and leaving would upend their lives, that would be traumatizing for them.”
“I can’t leave this course my parents paid so much money.”
“I am trapped in the situation that I am in, I am not allowed, I am too young. My parents, school, teachers, coach, and everybody else tells me what to do.”
“I can’t leave because so many people rely on me, I will let them down.”
The impact of us feeling powerless and trapped by life can be catastrophic to our mental health.
The other way we chase happiness
Sometimes we are too overwhelmed and can’t bring ourselves to look at the stay-or-go choice yet. Therefore to avoid it, there is another option that we may entertain. That option is to add.
You could add a baby, you could get a horse, buy a dog, get a cat, start a uni degree, invest thousands of dollars in a get fit program. Buy a business, a new car, or a new house. You could add an experience like bungee jumping, or a holiday.
In both of these scenarios, the need to let something go or bring something in, the happiness we are chasing is not coming from us. This means that we are relying on things, other people, or events changing outside of us. This happiness is still something we are looking to get. Happiness this way becomes ‘something that happens to us’ because it is dependent on good things coming into our lives.
It leaves us powerless.
Under these circumstances, we are not focused on ourselves and how we can support ourselves. We are focused on them and what they do or don’t do for us.
The circle we repeat while we chase happiness
If we are in the position where we do take the jump and drastically change our life to try to find our happiness there is something that happens.
After we jump and take the plunge we start again. Because after all, we still are looking to find happiness.
We will go back to something or someone outside of ourselves to give us happiness. We are going to reintroduce ourselves, albeit to the myths, to that same pattern of forever hoping that we will find someone or something that's going to make it better:
- finding a soul mate
- sacrificing ourselves to get love
- of chasing success
- or following rules that aren’t our truth
- and trusting where we completely give our power away.
We are going to cycle through all those happiness myths again. And whilst we may find some form of happiness that will be good for a while, in the future we are still going to find ourselves at the point where we again realise we are faced with the question – stay or go? And if this time we can’t go, then we are trapped. The circle has brought us to this point and now we are stuck. Absolutely void of happiness. Trapped by life circumstances that we can't get out of. We can’t financially, emotionally, physically, or mentally.
The feeling we have when happiness eludes us
If you can't change your life, therefore you're overwhelmingly stuck. Trapped in the feeling ‘this is the hand that I've been dealt with’. Completely defeated.
This feeling of no choice, no voice, no plan, no control, and no power.
We all find it some time in our life.
This is the place where chasing happiness has led us. And it's heartbreaking. When we circle the bottom of the bottom and we don't have a plan. We don't know what to do and we don't know how to change this.
This is it. I don’t want to do this anymore.
Often, when people come in to see me this is the place I find them.
Happiness. Is there really a solution?
Currently, we focus on the cause and the solution being outside of us. We focus on ‘them’….if I keep ‘them’ in my life I will continue to not feel loved, supported, cared for, listened to, acknowledged, important, included.
“I know that I am unhappy. The circumstances or people around me are making me unhappy. I know they’re not going to change. Therefore the only chance I have to find happiness is to drastically change my life.” Hence we enter the circle.
What if we shift the focus?
What if I return the focus to Me?
As much as that sound’s simple. It can be overwhelming when we don't have the faintest idea where to begin to know how to do it. For that reason let’s explore it.
We are already part of our solution
I want to show you how we are already part of our solution to being the one that makes us happy. Yet we have no idea that we do it.
Every single morning when you get up, you go to your underwear drawer and you look in that drawer for your undies. I promise you the conversation in your head goes something like this. “Not that pair, not that pair, not that pair, yes that pair” and you pick the most favorite undies that are in that drawer. Every single morning.
Why? Because we love ourselves. We’re just not aware of it or allowed to acknowledge it. Underneath our conscious awareness of ourselves, we know how to support ourselves, and we want more for ourselves. To look after ourselves and feel good. What we don’t know is how to be present to ourselves.
Before you chase happiness by engaging in drastic measures to change your life, take a moment.
As with all of the happiness myths we have explored the true key to finding our happiness is to come back to you. The answer is within our little bubble. It’s by knowing ourselves. By knowing why we react the way we do. Understanding why things happen to us. To listen to what feels right for us and know how to give ourselves permission to follow that through.
After working with so many clients to change where their happiness comes from, I put together ‘The Handbook. The one you were meant to be born with’. Because it helps us to understand and work through what keeps us in the stay/go question cycle. And allows us to come back to ‘your solution is you’. It’s being present to you in your life. Being able to turn inward. To feel as though you have a choice. Have a voice. Have a plan. And have control. To feel empowered within the circumstances that we're in.
Imagine being able to say no without any guilt. Or to give ourselves permission to have a cup of tea in the midst of chaos.
Instead of leaving or adding something to the current situation that you are in. Imagine being able to stop and recenter, to come back to you. Absolutely. Before you go down the rabbit hole of being overwhelmed, trapped, and feeling powerless to change your life.
Your future life is before you, happiness is at your doorstep
This whole article doesn’t mean that you should stay, or you shouldn’t add. What it means is that before you stay or go, feel trapped or add, you absolutely understand yourself. That you really know what you need and how you can support yourself in the situation that you are in. Happiness that we chase is not happiness that lasts. You can take your power back and be in charge of where your happiness comes from.
To in future, include ourselves in the people we look after, to not overgive to the point we are exhausted and drowning in that feeling of being unloved and unappreciated. To instead know our boundaries. Enabling ourselves to be strong with our boundaries and our words that support us.
It's like not only do we become on our own side, but we begin to help everybody else become a team with us. We work all together to support each other while we also work on our own happiness. We are not afraid to show others how we support and love ourselves.
And I promise you. We do have the potential to love ourselves. We can make that our daily life. And noticing that starts every day with our favorite undies.