2 In Inspiration

Why Happiness And Purpose Cannot Be Found In A Bucket List

finding true happiness

There is no need to reach high for the stars. They are already within you. Just reach deep into yourself!

Bucket lists. 100 things to do before you die. 25-before-25. 30-before-30. New Years Resolutions.

You name a goal-setting list, I’ve written it.

In fact, I can remember writing a list of yearly goals in my journal as young as 9-years-old (I can even remember what some of them were – but that’s a secret between me and my younger self.)

Universal wisdom teaches that one of the keys to a beautiful life is to set and reach goals.

And setting goals is what I did, year after year.

I learned to sew my own dresses. Took up photography. Mastered the art of cooking. Travelled across Europe. Read the classics. Started yoga classes. And documented every bit of it on social media (reaffirming my ‘success’.)

So why did the cup of my soul feel so empty? Why did my life feel so uncomfortable and constraining, like an ill-fitting itchy sweater? Why did the grey days merge into one long blur, until another year was over with little improvement in my overall happiness?

Because I was taking my lead from the status quo, my peers and the media as to what constituted happiness and success…

…instead of following my intuition and inner guide.

Because I was making my way through a random and disjointed collection of activities and achievements…

…rather than stepping back and looking at the overall picture of who I wanted to be and how I wanted to create my life.

Because I was putting my happiness off until a day in the future where I had ticked off a suitable number of goals in my life…

… rather than realising that the present day was already filled with so much magic, excitement, beauty, simply joys and goodness that I had absolutely every reason and means to be happy and content right here and now.

But above all, I always ended up feeling empty, despite my ambition and goal-kicking, because of one major misunderstanding about the nature of life:

I was looking to external sources for happiness and a sense of fulfillment, instead of anchoring my happiness and meaning within.

It’s not that goals and achievements are bad to have or even unnecessary – I am a big believer in creating your dreams – but that they are the icing on the cake of life. And so while they can be beautiful, fulfilling and exciting, your self-worth and happiness should not be dependant on them.

Your value as a person shouldn’t fluctuate up and down based on whether you have a relationship, a house, an esteemed career, a slim figure or a Facebook list full of friends.

You are an inherently worthwhile and enough, and you win at life simply by being here. By being you in this very moment, a once-in-a-humankind combination of natural aptitudes, interests, passions and quirks.

With this kind of thinking, it dawned on me that while goals and dreams are incredibly positive and worthwhile, maybe they should be seen as secondary to your higher purpose in life.

To be you.

To get in touch with your soul through life experience, meditation, movement, being in nature, service, and being lost in the flow of doing things you love.

To fall deeply in love with who you are.

To grow into the highest embodiment of you.

To love and accept and give to and forgive everyone you encounter.

To pick yourself back up and try again whenever you fall short of that highest version of you.

To eat your favorite foods, dance to your favorite music, laugh to your favorite jokes, wear your favourite clothing, read your favorite books, and work, date, live, create, indulge and adventure in ways that feel good to you.

To become fully alive, and bless the world with your gifts.

The most surprising thing was, the more I let go of waiting impatiently for external goals to come to fruition, and focused on the present moment, joy and the field of diamonds within me, the more external success and goal-kicking seemed to come naturally.

As a kind of by-product of taking care of my internal world, my external world has continually transformed in beautiful and amazing ways.

So we need not fear that by giving up part of our ‘busy busy busy’ goal-chasing time for self-discovery, time alone and soul-nourisihing activities, we’ll end up living a lesser life.

My experience has shown me that the exact opposite is true.

Take a moment today to turn your focus away from reaching for the stars, to the stars already within you. Feel them. Breathe them. Embrace them. Thank them. And remember them as you go about the art of creating your latest desires.

This post was originally published on Tiny Buddha.

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Alicia
    January 19, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    This resonated with me so very well. Great post!

    • Reply
      bernie
      April 29, 2015 at 8:47 am

      Because the bucket lies on the outside whilst our internal flame resides within, thanx for your posts, love & light x

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