Living From The Inside Out

Our theme and Focus for 2024

We often begin the year by scrutinizing our lives, our relationships, and most importantly our bodies and ourselves for all the things that we want, need to fix, or finally need to get a handle on. And we write resolutions that are forgotten by the end of January.   

Why do we repeatedly make these resolutions? Because we think that improving, fixing, or changing something about our lives or our bodies will make us happy. This leads to what is commonly known as “when I, then I” thinking.  When I exercise, lose weight, get organized, get a better job, get a person, lose the person I have, etc…then I’ll be happy.  Another version we torture ourselves with is “ if only…then I’d be happy.”  If only I was thinner, cooler, cuter, had a nicer house, more friends, more money, more time, etc, etc….then I’d be happy.” 

Of course, as we all know, often getting something only makes us happy for a short period of time. And then we want something else. Or we are on to the next self-improvement regime. Rinse and repeat, year after year. 

The challenge is that in the “when I, then I” and “if only” game, everything is focused on something on the outside. Even the way our body looks is for what we think other people think, not how we feel inside of this amazing body that is our home for the duration. To make our outer lives fulfilling, we must start on the inside. Here are 3 ways to live more from the inside out.  

The first way  – Find your inner why. 

So, I admit, I’ve started more exercise programs and donated more money to gyms than I care to count. But now I’m finding myself completely motivated in an amazing online exercise program with a wonderful personal trainer. I am doggedly committed to it. What’s changed? I am absolutely committed to being able to cart my own suitcase around, in Europe, on and off trains, and up and down cool boutique hotels, until I’m well into my 80s. Travel fills me up and shakes me out of my comfort zone like nothing else. It’s one of my passions. I refuse to stop until I don’t want to travel, and for no other reason. So now my exercise program is for me. For my strength and health. Not for anyone else. I am surprised, every week, how much I love it.  

This is rue for resolutions, manifesting newness, and releasing old patterns. Believing that something is wrong and needs to be fixed is not nearly as motivating as what you are working toward.  Most often, what you desire isn’t actually a form – like a job or a car – but rather an experience or quality of life that is in alignment with your truest, most essential self.  

Find your inner why, and you will find a motivation that will empower you to achieve what you set out to accomplish. 

The second way – What lights you up? 

Spending time comparing yourself to others or wondering if you are living the right kind of life is called “comparing your insides with someone else’s outsides.”  This curse, built on family shame, advertising, and TV/Movies has now been catapulted into the stratosphere, thanks to social media.  The antidote is to ask yourself what lights YOU up? Not what makes you happy or what you want, but what interests you, what do you lose yourself doing (in a good way, not as a distraction)? This isn’t just hobbies, its work, career, relationships, and your kind of lifestyle. Reflect on the times when you really passionately cared about something, lost yourself in a project at work, savored an experience, or just reveled in a moment at home. Each one is a clue. When you make decisions for more of those kinds of things in your life, the things you need to learn, do, improve, or release will become obvious and easier to deal with. 

The third, and most important – Find your center and have compassion for yourself. 

When you take some time to accept your strengths, you begin to know yourself. When you take time to be honest about, not your weaknesses so much as, the things you just aren’t good at or really care about, you start realizing that you are a unique set of ideas, beliefs, interests, and talents that is precious and perfectly you. The more you can own all of you, good, bad, and indifferent, you will notice a decrease in the desire to fix yourself and an increase in joy and compassion. Take joy in the things you’re great at, even if no one else does. Have compassion for the ways you are different, not “perfect”, and unskilled. Joy and compassion will open more doors and provide more motivation than harsh words or competitive goals.  

Be yourself, there’s no one quite like you. Let your soul, your inner flame, be your guide, and your life will be infinitely more fulfilling and less outer directed. A sure-fire way to get happy!