Living from the Inside Out
Everybody, to a large extent, takes cues for how they look, how they behave, and even what they expect, from others. This way of operating makes sense when you remember that as children, learning to please your parents or caregivers profoundly determined the quality of your life. Make mom happy, and life was good. Displease her, and….well, you know the rest.
The issue arises when, as adults, this need for external validation becomes the primary measuring rod that determines your choices. On the surface, this may look like you are being responsible or trying hard to be successful. But a closer look reveals that the source of what drives you is getting the nod of approval from others.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting support or validation from those around you. But when this becomes the primary motivation, you can live your whole life and never experience the joy of accomplishing something that springs from your own authentic desire.
So how can you strengthen the muscle of your own inspiration?
One way is to for you to commit to a self-nurturing activity, however small, just because it feels good for you. Perhaps you may want to begin a simple meditation practice, or commit to a craft or artistic expression you enjoy, or set time aside each day for a mindful walk. Maybe there’s a lifestyle change you’d like to make like cutting back on caffeine or taking the stairs at work, rather than riding the elevator.
Now here’s the critical part: whatever it is you decide to do, make this a private matter, not something you share with others. Then notice what it feels like to do something for you, without any acknowledgement from anyone else.
This may look like a simple choice, but beware: there may be some resistance. You may have a desire to share with others, even casually, in the hopes of getting their approval or shoring yourself up. It’s important here to not act on this inclination, but just to notice it.
What you are doing is unraveling decades of conditioning where you learned to rely on the outside world as your sole barometer, and begin building a connectedness to your own deep center as well.
Stay with this simple practice and you will nurture the discipline to act authentically and independently…and discover strength greater than anything you could have imagined!
Until next time…