Turning It Around

by Charlie Phillips

I have to confess I have spent most of my life looking for someone or something that would give me success or happiness. When you get on that treadmill, it is just that – a treadmill. You do a lot of running, but you never get anywhere. I always was thinking that if I could just meet the right woman or hook up with the right job, then all would be fantastic…all the while ignoring the fact that if I couldn’t be happy within myself then nobody or nothing could make me happy, either.

When we get caught in the trap of letting others control our emotions, when we depend upon others to make us happy, it always will end in failure. Why? Real simple – the wants and needs of another are not our wants and needs; consequently, we both end up with that empty feeling. You know that feeling, that let down when the other person didn’t say or do what your were hoping for. Mainly because you are looking for the other person to say what only you can say and if you can’t say it to yourself how can someone else say it? For one thing, that other person can’t tell you what you want to hear if you really don’t know yourself.

The other side of that coin is, we are always trying to impress the other person. We tend to do things that are not really a true reflection of who we are. Instead, we attempt to be what we think the other person wants us to be.

Now if you can get tuned into that person and are at peace with yourself, then you may hear what you want to hear. That’s because you already know yourself and are not depending on someone else to create your happiness for you. You both are walking your own path, but walking in the same direction.

I have viewed many motivational movies and read I don’t know how many books on self-help and how-to for couples plus read countless inspirational emails and visited many websites, yet these activities always tend to sort of fade after a time and I find myself falling into the same old trap. “If only!” If only what? That’s the other problem: do we really know what we want? I can only judge from my own experience and that is, most of the time it is really just taking each day as it comes. Everyone says you should set a goal; well, that’s fine, but you know what?…some of us find that very difficult to do. I have tried those “To do” lists, goal setting, etc., and for me none of it seems to work. I’ll be honest here. I really have trouble with conceptual things. Tell me you need to put a bridge across a stream and I will find a way to do it. But if there wasn’t something I wanted or was aware of on the other side, I wouldn’t even think about trying to get over there for myself.

At one point in my life I tried sales and my manager said to me, “How many of these will you sell?” I just looked at him. I was thinking: how do I know how many people will need this item? You guessed it – I didn’t last long at that venture.

About now your probably wondering: where is he going? or what the heck is he trying to say? Well, I’ll attempt to answer that. I still have difficulty setting long-range goals, but one thing that I have been able to do is turn around that negative feeling I get when I don’t find that key person or thing that leads to “success” or “happiness.” You have probably seen it in “The Secret” or other inspirational movies, but it is tough to do in real life. They tell you just to think of something you like or sing a song. Well, that works for a little while but those feelings keep coming back at you – at least they do me. For me, when I get those negative thoughts, I have to decide, “Do I want to wallow in sorrow and how bad life is treating me?” Or get over it and get on with living my life. Yes, that’s the first step if you really want to get out of the doldrums! If you decide you don’t want to wallow in self-pity then think of something to be grateful for. Maybe it’s nothing more than looking out the window and seeing that the grass is green. Come on, you have something to be grateful for. We can all think of someone who’s in worse shape than we are, going through worse trials, emotional/physical/financial hardship, enduring pain, sorrow, or grief. If you’re reading this, then be grateful for eyesight!

Simplistic? Maybe, but it will change your mood. That’s your first step; now think of what you can do to make the rest of the day a pleasant day instead of continuing on with the negativity you were feeling earlier. The main thing is to take that first step.

Okay you say, if I take that first step will my life turn around and be perfect? An honest answer, I don’t know. I do know that any journey starts with that first step and you’ll never get there if you don’t take it. It also depends on whether or not you want to continue on the journey to a happier life. I also know that if you’re in the mid-west and want to get to New York, your journey will be a lot shorter if you head east instead of west. So the decision you have to make for yourself is: do you want to wallow in self-pity or set out on a trail of enlightenment? The choice is yours.



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