So, instead of going to heaven, at last -I’m going, all along. ~ Emily Dickinson
We frequently attempt to prove our value to ourselves and to others through external accomplishments. We may get college degrees, lose weight or work eighty-hour weeks. We do this in order to make the emptiness go away or from a mistaken belief that it will result in happiness. But we get only fleeting glimpses of joy this way; the emptiness remains. Our real goal has been love and fulfillment.
Action is necessary, but not sufficient, to fill the emptiness. Doing and accomplishing things does not create happiness. This will come only with love and meaning. The absence of love is toxic and debilitating. It can however, be learned. Yes, it is better to give than to receive, but the experience of receiving is an essential foundation of life. By receiving love we learn to value ourselves. Self-love, then, is the seed for love of others and the prime ingredient that fills the emptiness. Only with the confidence of love are we able to embrace the possibility of joy and fulfillment. Do you frequently criticize yourself? Begin to embrace the fact that your mistakes are not a measure of your self-worth but a measure of your humanity. Rather than casually dismissing praise, practice accepting with gratitude gifts of acknowledgment you receive from others.
Fulfillment does not come with the achievement of goals; it is not a finite end but an ongoing process. It is the result of living in the present moment rather than in the illusion that some future event will result in happiness. The accomplishment of goals brings feelings of satisfaction and pleasure, but they are temporary and we soon revert to the same general state of emptiness or happiness in which we lived before the event. Goals are good as long as they are in accord with our true desires, a part of a meaningful life rather than an end. Certainly enjoy your successes, but don’t kid yourself into believing that success is in itself happiness. In the same way, failure is not an indicator of unhappiness; instead, it’s an indicator of change, nothing more and nothing less. Both success and failure are important elements of a joyful life.
Be true to yourself; identify the people and things which are most significant to you and nurture them. Live your life with gratitude, enthusiasm, and a giving heart. Practice looking for the good in life, this is not an easy accomplishment, it takes considerable effort. Be fearless; know that both pain and pleasure are essential facets of life, not to be shunned. Accept them equally, but do not obsess with either. The result of this is increasing courage and confidence in the face of adversity. Surely, the emptiness will begin to dissolve; the path to happiness will be yours.
David Cantu has been coaching individuals and couples for over twelve years. For help with relationships or personal growth, or to learn more, visit the website(s) http://lifecoachaustin.com/ or http://marriagecounseloraustin.com/ or give me a call. 512-835-0207
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