Modern society has set us up for failure in the happiness-stakes. We chase pleasure, thinking that this will bring us happiness. We equate possessions with pleasure, or perhaps drugs or sex equal pleasure for others. Pleasure is physical – it fills the senses. The problem is that the source of your pleasure can end up being your master. When you are dependent on something outside of yourself, you can become dependent upon the chase and your freedom becomes limited.
It’s a double edged sword – wanting more (the motto of modern society) is the first edge of the sword. The more you demand, the more you desire, the more you feel yourself lacking something – the more hollow, empty you become.Fear emerges – fear of the source of pleasure being taken away. Pleasure is bound to external circumstances and I have seen over and over again how clients become fed and disillusioned with this kind of ‘chase’. The more you have the more you need to get the same sense of pleasure. Once you have the item you prized, the pleasure quickly diminishes and the next ‘fix’ gets set in sight.
Milions of us, every day, appeal to the hedonist inside ourselves in the hopes of permanent contentment and peace of mind. What many don’t realise is that this ‘rat race rollercoaster’ will never give you the ultimate happiness you seek. That kind of contentment comes from living a life that emanates from within rather than a life that requires validation and pleasure that comes from outside ourselves (possession, a high powered job, a spouse etc).
Happiness and true joy is not dependent on external sources. It’s about being true to yourself, it’s about self belief and liking the person that you are. Happy people don’t compare themselves to others as they realise we all have our own unique paths to travel during our lives. We all have our own unique lessons to learn.
Ways to nurture inner contentment:
1) Make your own rules for your life instead of following societies rules about how you should look, what job you should do, what car you should drive and so on.
2) Believe in your own ideas and opinions and see them as important and valid for you. Self doubt emerges when we don’t have enough self belief and we allow the ‘noise’ from others to dilute our sense of self.
3) Be the same person inside and out. Don’t change your opinions according to the company you keep or to be accepted. Be genuine and live a life of integrity where your inner world mirrors your outer world.
4) Stay open minded and non judgemental about the world.
5) Foster empathy and compassion for yourself as well as others. Do what feels right for you instead of living by a tit-for-tat mentality. If someone hasn’t treated you well, this doesn’t automatically mean that you should become mean in return. Remind yourself that liking yourself involves doing things in line with your personal values.
6) Avoid revenge and vindictive behaviour. It is petty and the rewards are short lived. It will also detract from your sense of self worth.
7) Limit your time with petty minded, nasty people. Seek out kind and compassionate people.
Living a life that is ‘inside out’ takes practice especially when the world is engineered against this type of living. Life is a series of trial and error episodes but as long as you feel you are learning and growing a positive way, you’re on the right track.