Emily’s Quest

June 15, 2009

Happiness and the Holes Within

Filed under: Inspiration, Philosophising — Tags: , , , , , , — Emily @ 12:22 pm

Recently, in my random web browsing, I came across this article by Steven Stosny called Marriage and the Power to be Happy.  Although ostensibly about marriage, I think there are some really important ideas in this article not just about relationships in general but also about the way we all tend to approach life. 

For one thing, I LOVE this sentiment, expressed in the first paragraph:

I continue to be amazed when people protest about the “unfairness” of having to work to make their lives and relationships better.

As Dr Stosny says, being happy does indeed take work – this is not “unfair”, it’s a fact of life.  In fact, our level of happiness or unhappiness is generally directly related to a) how happy we decide to be and b) how much work we put in to creating and experiencing happiness in our life.  It is nothing to do with “luck” or “fairness”, we are not “entitled” to happiness and damn that bastard old world if it doesn’t provide it to us on a silver platter!  It is a choice and it takes work and conscious decision. 

The second idea within this article that I LOVE and that I think so many people fail to recognise or fully comprehend is this:

The most potent predictor of being happily married is being happy before you marry. Marriage does not make you happy, although the prospect of sharing life with a loved one can provide motivation to make yourself happy.

Of course, this doesn’t just have to be about the institution of marriage – it is about our relationships with people in general.  As Dr Stosny says, we run around believing we have ‘holes’ within us and desperately seeking someone else to fill them, when in fact all we need to do is realise that they aren’t even there to begin with.  We believe there are defects within us, holes that need filling, whereas actually we are all whole and complete as we are.  We don’t need fixing or something external to fill us.  Everything we need we already have within us. 

We think we want someone else to love and validate us, whereas actually, if we can’t accept love and validation from ourselves, what makes us think we are going to be able to accept it from anyone else?  And then we just end up getting frustrated with the other person because we *still* don’t feel loved and validated, as if that is the other person’s fault!!  When, actually, it is just that we cannot accept from someone else what we have no ability already to believe about ourselves.

So often, in modern society, this leads to us feeling dissatisfied with our partner for not inducing within us all the feelings of adequacy we are unable to give ourselves.  And so we assume our partner is not good enough, not loving enough, not ‘right’ for us, and we discard that person and look for someone else – the ‘one’, the Mr or Mrs Right who is going to finally make us feel worthy, fulfilled and lovable.  And so we go through this string of relationships, wondering why we can’t just find a decent partner who will incite all these cosy feelings within us.

It is a simple, often repeated idea but one that far too few people are able to really take in the truth of: If you can’t love yourself, you will never be able to accept love from someone else.  I have brown hair.  I believe strongly that I have brown hair.  If I started going out with a guy who told me every day that I have blonde hair, I wouldn’t start to feel happy and excited about my gorgeous blonde hair.  I would think he was talking a load of bollocks and go right on believing I have brown hair. 

It’s the same with love and feelings of worthiness etc.  If I have a deep, underlying belief that I am unlovable and unworthy of love, even if one hundred people appeared on my doorstep telling me they loved me and I was an amazing, lovable person, I would go right on believing that I was unlovable until I was able to shift my own inner belief about my lovability.  Hell, you just need to look at celebrities for evidence of that.  Being adored by millions doesn’t seem to make many of them any better able to treat themselves with love and respect.

So the moral is: don’t expect anyone else – family, friends, lovers – to fill the holes you perceive in yourself, or to make you feel things about yourself that you can’t feel in their absence.  You only, and you alone, can come to the understanding that there are no holes there to begin with.  Until you understand that, you will forever be searching for the way – or the person – to fill them.


May 9, 2009

Mad Season

Filed under: Life Updates — Tags: , , , , , , — Emily @ 7:11 pm

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.


What an amazing, amazing summer I have had in wonderful Wellington with wonderful people.  I have had the best time of my life with the best friends I’ve ever had.  I’ve felt carefree and cared for.  It makes you realise what is really important in life.  Living it!  I have worked as a Medical Typist, felt lost and confused and searching for my meaning – and yet, all along, I was already living life, surrounded by amazing people in the best city in the world.

Can you believe I spent so much of my summer with this as the view I woke up to every morning out my window:Wellington Harbour

There was always a sense of peace knowing that, whatever else was going on, I could retreat to that gorgeous room and that gorgeous view.

But of course the summer wouldn’t have beenwhat it was without the awesome people I met and was lucky enough to spend my time with.  My girls – you know who you are – I love you all like sisters.  Well, some of you are my sisters – so that’s lucky.  But you know what I mean 😛  You are all awesome.

girls at earth hour

Now it seems that the summer is coming to an end and those cold cold Wellington winds are blowing us separate ways.  I sincerely hope that this wonderful summer has forged friendships and memories that will outlast any distance of time or geography.

But now, as the season turns, I am leaving these blustery shores of the city I love and heading out into the world to see what may come my way and what adventures I may discover.  I leave in 3 days on a one-way ticket to Australia – and beyond. 

How do I feel?  I know how I should feel – I should feel excited right?  Ready to embark – finally – on my adventure.

I don’t, really.  I feel lost.  I have lost – and am trying to let go of – everything I thought defined me… everything I used to define me to avoid the quest of discovering who I really am.  So I embark on this adventure, really because there is just nothing left for me to do.  As much as I love my friends and my family and my city here – somehow I have to leave to see what what there is in this life for me.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

~ the Bible, Ecclesiastes III, 3:1-3:8

October 31, 2008

What’s Really Important?

Filed under: Philosophising — Tags: , , , , , , — Emily @ 4:01 pm

Think about this:

What is really important in life? The job you do?  Or the people you love?

Or in the words of Morrie Schwartz (and he was dying, man – dying people have this whole other perspective.  I think maybe all our lives would be better if we realised that we are all dying):

So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.
~ Morrie Schwartz

Maybe life is more about who we are than what we do.  About who we spend it with and how we share ourselves.

I had a life, elsewhere, that sounded successful and meaningful.  I got good grades and was doing something society reveres as altruistic and significant.  I hated it.

I’m am happier right now – jobless and directionless in my Mum’s lounge in my favourite city with the people I love and who love me – than I have been in a long, long time.  If I could spend my life here, in the city I love with the people I love, it really barely even matters what I do with my day.

Or finally, in the words of one of my favourite pieces of writing:

What if you could be more present and open-hearted with each person you encounter working as a cashier in the corner store, a parking lot attendant or filing clerk than you could if you were striving to do something you think is more important?

How would this change how you want to spend your precious time on this earth?

~ Oriah

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