What do you really want in your life?
When someone asks us what we really want in our life, most of us say that we want to feel good or better, or that we just want to be happy.
So it seems to be very important to find out what it is that makes us feel good, better or happy.
Where do our feelings come from?
Often, we believe that our feelings are determined by the external circumstances in our life.
We say that we feel a certain way because of something that’s happening outside of us: other people and what they do or don’t do, the past/our past experiences, events that are happening or not happening.
We are persuaded that the reason for what we are feeling is out there, outside of our control.
However, every feeling is created in our mind, by the thoughts we are thinking.
Feeling better or happy is completely within our control!
This is actually very good news but it’s not so easy to accept/believe for many of us.
We got so used to the idea that we have to depend on something external, outside of us, in order to feel a certain way.
We believe that we can only feel happy if, for example, the scale proves to us that we have the ‘ideal’ weight.
We are persuaded that we will be happy as soon as we have found the ‘perfect’ partner.
We think that we can only feel good if we get promoted or a ‘better’ job.
But it’s not the thing that we decided we need to have to feel better that will make us feel better if we achieve it.
A very simple example is the weather.
How we feel about the weather has nothing to do with the weather but is completely determined by what we think about the weather.
If it’s heavily raining on a Sunday morning, we might think: ‘Oh no, we can’t go to the beach. This will be a boring day!’ – It’s heavily raining and we feel miserable and bored.
However, if we think: ‘Oh yeah, that’s great, now I can stay in bed and keep reading all day long!’ – It’s heavily raining and we will feel great and enjoy the day.
Let’s imagine we believe that as soon as we achieve our ‘ideal’ body weight we are going to be happy.
Again, it’s not the circumstance – the ‘ideal’ numbers on the scale – that has the power to make us happy. The numbers are completely neutral, they actually mean nothing unless we assign a meaning to them.
It’s the thoughts that we have about these numbers that have the power to create the feelings we desire to have.
We might believe:
‘As soon as I’ll see these ideal numbers on the scale I will know that I am a great person. I will be fit and thin and people will admire me. I will feel attractive and confident and lovable and admirable. I will feel fantastic about myself. I will be happy.’
If we look at this scenario from an objective point of view, we know that the conclusions above are not realistic:
- We all know a lot of people who have achieved their weight loss goals, who have these ‘ideal’ numbers on the scale, who are fit and thin and attractive – but nevertheless feel completely miserable and unhappy. – The numbers on the scale don’t have the power to create good feelings for them.
- We also know other people with a body weight much higher than the healthy ‘ideal’ numbers who feel strong and confident and fantastic about themselves. – The numbers on the scale don’t have the power to create bad feelings for them.
Thus, the secret to feeling happy is not waiting for something external to change. It is to change the thoughts we are thinking right now.
We can still choose to aim for our goals, of course. We can, for example, keep our plans to lose weight, if we want to.
But it’s time now for us to give up the idea that achieving that goal is necessary for us being able to feel the way we want to feel.
Knowing that our circumstances – our body weight, for example – have nothing to do with how we are feeling about ourselves, we can start to search for believable thoughts that will help us to feel our desired feelings now.
Start with one feeling you wish to feel more often and decide to focus on that favourite feeling for several days.
Referring back to the second example above, it could be ‘feeling confident’ (Feeling confident now, no matter what the numbers on the scale are!)
- Going through your day, ask yourself again and again, ‘What do I have to think to feel ___ in this moment?’ – For example, ‘What do I have to think to feel confident right now?’.
- It might be that you struggle in the beginning to find believable thoughts. Just start ‘smaller’: ‘What do I have to think to feel a little bit more confident in this moment?’
- You can also look back to your past to find helpful thoughts. ‘What was a situation in the past when I felt confident? What thoughts did I have about myself at that time? Could I think similar confidence-creating thoughts today?’
- Look around for role models, people who seem to have a lot of the feeling you desire to have. ‘What might that person be thinking that makes her feeling confident right now?’
Become an expert in creating and feeling your favourite feeling. Right now.