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I love this quote by Helen Keller. Every time I read the quote I think about Helen Keller, unable to hear or speak, in many ways, for a long time, she was all she had. Her internal voice was all there was to guide her and clearly she still struggled with listening to it.
We on the other hand are inundated with messages.
Look like this.
We are sold that if we achieve this level of success, buy this car, live in this neighborhood, achieve this award, attend this event we will be something: happier, more content, less anxious. The sense is once we accomplish THIS we will arrive, the heavens will open and confetti will rain down from the sky.
We all know this NOT to be true. We all know that what inevitably happens is that THIS moves. Whatever we were chasing once we achieve it will be quickly replaced with the next THIS. It is as if we are participating in the high jump and after each successful jump the stick just gets moved up to the next rung. So we NEVER fully succeed and what we are left with is a deep, unending ache. A hunger that never gets filled.
So what if today we started looking internal? We noticed all the things we are striving for and we ask ourselves–where did this come from? Is this an external or an internal message?
I use this all the time in my own life. I have many things I am striving for a healthy, supportive marriage, loving relationships with my friends and family, and a thriving, genuine business. Those are my internal motivators but every now and then I get caught up in my external measuring sticks.
I hear the message–if you made THIS much money you would be a success, if you had kids then you would be happy, if you owned this house or took this vacation you would be content. Each new measuring stick I have to exam and look at and ask–is this coming from ME or an external message? More often than not it is an external message.
Because my internal messages are honestly, pretty simple and deal with the themes of health, support, love, and authenticity. AND most importantly my internal messages don’t have a measuring stick, they don’t have a finish line, they have a feeling, a concept and they involve a process. My external input convinces me that someday I will be done and that there is a finish line. The truth? You will never be done. Even when you hit the proverbial finish line. So let’s stop looking externally and believing the lie of success and let’s follow Helen Keller’s advice–it is in you.