The holes we dig within ourselves do more damage to our self-worth than ten people with shovels could ever do. If that isn’t problematic enough, we then seek for ways to fill those holes outside ourselves. The problem with that is the fact that all happiness and well-being comes from within. From the same place you’ve been digging your holes.
In other words, joy isn’t the fruit of your labor or a gift from another person. It’s the very essence of who you are. You only need to acknowledge the idea that your internal struggles can’t be fixed in external ways.
There is wisdom inside you, but many times we chase a goal, a salary, a house, or some other ideal that we feel will fill the holes within. We start to feel empty because you can only dig so many holes before the very foundation of who we are is weakened to the point of collapse.
The struggle is real, true enough. But the struggle isn’t external. It’s internal. When we place our happiness outside us, then we give away our power to find the joy we so desperately crave.
To find what’s always been there you must first stop digging those internal holes, holes that require something external to fill them back up. How many times can you fill a void within with something external before you’re no longer yourself?
You can’t change other people, you can’t change how the world operates, but you can change how you react to others and the world around you. Stand fast to who are and who you want to be. Understand that it’s not the actions of the world around you that dictates your level of inner peace but the meanings that you assign to them.
You’re the culmination of your thoughts, your reactions, and your inner musings. Reflect on how you should react, get in the habit of slowing down the time between stimulus and response and remind yourself that only you have the power to dictate your inner joy. You alone hold that power. Stop chasing and start filling in your holes.
Excellent article! I’ve gotten into the habit of asking, “Why, exactly – what is missing that only this thing can fix?”
Whenever I feel a sudden or new desire for something I don’t yet have, I take note of whether there’s a co-existing negative feeling that makes me want the thing in the first place (in this way, I’m not led around by the nose by those strong urges). If there happens to be some ‘background’ tension (there usually is), I deal with that instead of submitting to the command of the desire.
Considering how thoroughly I plot my goals, I am able to bump a mental image of them up against any desire that pops into my head and know whether the desire and my previously set goals are aligned. If they are aligned, I can dismiss the desire because its object is already being worked on. If the desire turns out to be nothing more than a mental distraction, I can dismiss it and get back to the real work.
Often of late, I have brushed aside one sudden desire or another after recognizing that the emotion behind the urge can be best addressed directly to resolve the emotion itself. With mindful attention and relaxed breathing, I release the tense experience of the need – something that’s been safe to do considering that most of the OBJECTS of those rising & falling hungers are already being taken care of by the big Goals I’ve set.
I have found that many desires are just thought-based tension, and their objects to be merely my brain’s best guess at what it thinks will ease the pain created by the thought (a thought of lack, of lacking, of needing); truth be told, once the pain is addressed directly, the ‘void’ dealt with internally, the need goes away as the tension fades.
The bible says, “…seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
It’s like ‘trickle-down’ blessing – take care of what’s important, and the rest is easy.
Thank you for the reply, T! I think that’s one of the biggest internal struggles we face, which thoughts SHOULD we give attention to? As I’ve stated in previous posts, the thoughts we give attention to are the thoughts that have the most power over us. That’s not to say that you can just ignore a bad thought and it will go away, sometimes those need to be addressed internally so that you can better overcome them and as a result off your mind.
To compound things (and this is the crux of the post) we tend to seek a way to fix our internal struggles externally when we already possess all the tools needed to fill in the holes our thoughts leave.
I’m of a firm belief that you should see everything that happens in and around you as neutral, that way YOU can assign the emotion to your initial knee jerk feeling to whatever it is that goes on around you. Easier said than done, but if you take the time to get to know yourself, then the world will open up around you. YOU have that power. I have that power. WE all have that power.