There comes a time when we realise we have to make a change.
The catalyst might be a frightening event – the death of a loved one, a major accident, or an alarming prognosis relating to our health.
For others, the realisation that the promised rewards of modern life don’t hold the keys to a deeper happiness, is a slower burn.
For a while, we might be able to persuade ourselves that the day-in, day-out monotony of a bog-standard job which barely keeps our head above water and lulls us into a hollow sense of security, might mean that the future really will be alright.
But one day, our murmuring little white lies no longer seem to stack up…
“Well, some people really HATE their job, and, sure, I don’t LOVE mine, but I certainly don’t hate it – that must count for something, right?”.
“I AM happy. I mean, what have I got to be ‘unhappy’ about.”
“I just don’t want to be stressed. So long as I’m not stressed, I’m fine. Should we expect much more than that anyway?”
“I think if you don’t have any expectations about life, you won’t ever be disappointed.”
“No one ever gets everything they want.”
But at end of the day, when you’re thinking about what you’ve got to look forward to tomorrow, nothing – not the ‘ok’ job, the comfortable relationship, the small incremental promotions at work – ever really take away completely from the emptiness inside that gnaws away – slowly, insidiously and persistently.
Surely there must be more to life than this?
Maybe you are diagnosed as being ‘depressed’. Your family and friends tell you they’re ‘worried about you’.
That’s around about the time the ‘slow burners’ finally get a whiff that somethings got to give.
Usually our first instinct is to become ludicrously, externally reactionary.
“Ok! I need medication.”
“I’m going to see a therapist to get this anger under control.”
“This job/relationship isn’t making me happy, I’m going to do something serious about finding another.”
We look outside ourselves for the salve for our souls.
We change a habit, a partner, a job. We take pills.
Yet inside, we know – because we can feel as much – that very little has really changed.
Like replacing an eating disorder for an obsession with exercising, the lesser of two evils still feels like an evil, because it hasn’t addressed the root cause of the symptoms.
So instead of being happier, we feel a brittle sense of satisfaction that ‘we’re changing’.
Rather than enjoying the relief of real change, which transforms our state of mind long term, we merely experience a rolling ennui that simply rearranges the sands of our internal landscape like an erosive tide, changing things just enough for us kid ourselves that something’s different.
It’s dichotomous that we inherently KNOW we have the ability to change our lives, yet our well-meaning momentum typically only lasts a week or two – sometimes a little longer if we make our heartfelt resolutions around December 31st.
Then we woozily slip back into a wooly sense of false security, pull the covers back up over our head and hit the snooze button for the millionth time.
‘It’s just TOO HARD,’ we think.
Well, it’s time to wake up.
Lasting, fulfilling change is possible. I know, not because I’ve read about it in a self help book or sat at the sandalled feet of a guru – but because I went from being a suicidal, hopeless and helpless person on more medication than a 90 year old with two weeks to live, to someone who is medication-free, depression-free and focused on contributing something real and worthwhile to the world.
When I was in the mental health unit, I had an epiphany – it wasn’t an imbalance in my brain that was causing my depression.
And it wasn’t that the combination of medications that doctors and psychiatrists had been so eager to ply me with, that was out of whack either.
The root cause of my depression was where I was placing my focus on a daily basis. (I’ll be sharing more about this specifically and how you can train your focus into more productive neural pathways in coming posts).
It’s much quicker and easier to write a script for mental maladies than it is for doctors and psychiatrists to work with a person to reclaim control of their thoughts and minds.
It’s time that we wake up to what’s going on around us.
It’s time to wake up to the crazy check points in life we’ve been programmed to blithely progress through – and why they’re not making us happy.
It’s time to wake up to how we can go about changing our focus, to take back control of our lives and our happiness.
There’s a bigger game being played all around us and it’s time we take back responsibility and control.
And I think we need to do it together.
If we want to see a better world – we need to start first with our inner landscape.
Which is why I’ve started writing this blog again. Because it’s one small way I can reach out into the world and hopefully impact on people who perhaps have lost hope. People that have something special to contribute to the world, who have allowed themselves to snowball down a less than productive path that’s not enabling them to live their best life.
It starts with how we are cultivating – and allowing others to insert beliefs and ideas into – our minds.
If you’d like to be part of this community, its as easy as commenting and telling us who you are, to begin with. I read every response.
And I’m looking forward to sharing with you my ideas and techniques for how we can reclaim our happiness, reduce our stress and make depression little more than a momentary blip on our emotional radar – instead of a debilitating, life-threatening condition.
Once we create more productive, compassionate, peaceful and positive inner worlds, not only can one person make a difference – they can absolutely change the world.