Does True Happiness Really Come From Within?

Journey to Self Development

I came across this article in the Irish Times written by Emma Kennedy and she raises some really excellent points about self development.

A lot of us are striving for perfection and trying to be all things to all people and mostly just want to be valued and loved.

In the article, Dr Aidan McKiernan says we have to look at our strengths and see what we have already. We know all the answers – we just need some help sometimes to find them. That’s all counsellors and therapists do really, they just help you realise your own answers. Often the issue is that we don’t trust or believe ourselves. We are looking externally for the miracles.

Sarah Doyle is a life coach and it made me smile when she used the reference “Same Wine, Different Bottle” when describing self-help books. Even though I’m in the self-development space with my business, I have to agree with her. There is so much support out there to help us live our lives, a lot of it saying the same things. Whether it’s from how we design our house to how we dress ourselves, there is a book to tell us what to do.

Often I meet people and that’s what they want, they just want someone to tell them what they need to do to stop the pain. They want to know exactly what to do to change something, escape a situation, resolve a disagreement. The funny thing is that we are the only ones that know what we need.

Self development is about taking action

As Sarah says, we need to take action and I have to say I agree with her. I made that decision over 20 years ago and never looked back. We can sit around and talk about our issues and justify why we haven’t done anything about it but that won’t change anything.  The changes I’ve made have taken a long time so when Sarah says promises of quick fixes can be more harm than good, she is right. Long term changes take time, there are some great techniques that can speed things along but I’ve experienced it first hand and know this to be true.

When we start out on a journey of personal change, we come from a place of ignorance (or so we think). Often we are desperate for answers and we think we’ll find that in other people telling us what’s right for us. Too many of us have forgotten or never learnt to listen to ourselves, to our bodies.

Certainly families of addicts lose trust not just in others but themselves, self-doubt creeps in and before you know it they’re self is through the floor and they struggle to get out of bed and see anything positive in themselves or their lives.

Calm your mind and the rest will follow

If we can calm our mind then we can start to listen to our gut instinct, it’s so easy to ignore it but that is the best guide you’ll find. After a long time, I started doing this and it was one of the best things I did. Looking at your strengths for some can be hard because it’s easier to see the negatives, but if you ask friends and family they’ll tell you and it’ll give you something to build on.

It’s also great to think about the things you use to love doing as a kid, things you were naturally good at, your “go to” hobbies, habits etc. Getting creative is a great way to express yourself so finding a way to do that which suits you is key.

Sometimes we need external help to help us see within, often if we don’t know where to start it gives us direction. It’s also nice to have someone to lean on and be there for us, so we aren’t alone and feel connected and understood. As with anything in life it’s a balance, but true happiness will always some from within.




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