It is human nature to seek satisfaction outside of ourselves. No matter where you look to find your answers, your questions will remain unanswered until you look within. There are a few things that people search for all the time. They are affirmation, satisfaction, permission, meaning and love.
A multi-billion dollar self-help industry confirms that people are looking for answers. It is important to know that one person can look for answers by reading a book, another – by writing. A surprising number of relationship gurus have never had a successful relationship. I encourage people to seek out mediators of goodness when seeking guidance. True agents of good are more concerned with doing good than acquiring wealth. To determine if someone is an agent of good, look at their offer monetization structure and look at their claims. If they use fear as a sales tactic and are more interested in making money than helping people, they are charlatans. We have limited space in our minds and lives. I choose to fill mine with positive thoughts, not negative ones. Thus, if someone uses negative marketing to promote their product, concept, or themselves, that’s hard for me. If anyone tries to make fun of the audience’s fear of missing out, they will lose my support and business. I wish I could say that I am a 100% positive person. I can say that I strive to be 100% positive.
Viktor Frankel in “Man’s Search for Meaning” says that the main motivating force in a person’s life is to find the meaning of life. He said that identifying a goal gives us something to feel positive about. When I was younger, I was troubled by the thought that I didn’t know my purpose. When I was in high school, I was troubled by the thought that I might not be here for a great purpose. I wanted to cure cancer or solve hunger crises. Later I realized that we are not all one earth to be famous or to solve the big problems of the world. Some of us are here to be a light in the lives of those we touch. As we stand in awe looking at our world and beyond, it is important to accept our place in the cosmos.
Why doesn’t anyone teach us where to look for fulfillment? Because they don’t know where to find fulfillment. We are looking for answers, but finding the answers is not always easy. Finding happiness is counterintuitive. We look all around us, but the answers are within us. If you are confused as to how we can be oblivious to something we have, it may be within us. That’s where happiness lies. Looking outside of ourselves for love, satisfaction, validation, and permission can give others the power to control us.
It is unlikely that we will be able to meet these needs by choosing to do so, but it is a good start. The world is finally starting to support us in meeting our own needs. Information is more accessible and support is available. Our access to things is more important than ever. Etsy empowers hobbyists to share their products with the world. There is more information available to us than ever before. Online lessons provide the opportunity to learn under the guidance of famous chefs, scientists, performers and artists. Coursera and Master Class are two online sources for this training. Free and low-cost courses can help you overcome your ideas that you are too old, too busy or too tired to learn new things. If you struggle with negativity, spend 30 minutes each day listening to motivational speakers. There are hundreds of positive things that can help you stay positive. Some of my favorites are Jim Rohn, Tony Robbins and Les Brown
Seeking permission is a common way we sabotage happiness. As children we learn that we must ask permission to do and have certain things. We may or may not continue to feel that we need to ask permission from others. Many adults continue to seek permission from their parents, bosses, government, spouses, and believe it or not, their children. I am not advocating anarchy, nor am I suggesting that we disregard the needs and wants of others. We must continue to be good members of our families and communities. There comes a point when we must become our own authority. We can still consult others when we are unsure, but we must own the strength of our convictions.
The thing we seek most outside of ourselves is love. If you don’t love yourself, what do you have to give to another? It may seem strange to think of looking for love within ourselves until we consider the law of attraction. The Law of Attraction believes that thoughts are energy. Positive thoughts bring positive experiences into a person’s life. Negative thoughts bring negative experiences into a person’s life. And what is more positive than love? People have told me that there is no such thing as the law of attraction. I trust myself much more than anyone else, so I prefer to be the one to choose which thoughts fill my mind.
When people talk about their “first relationship” I know why they struggle. How can you love someone without loving yourself first? Famous motivational speaker Jim Rohn said, “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” Our primary relationship should be with ourselves. The love we give stays with us. My father passed away in 1995, but he is still very much present with me today. Same with my mom. I’m not sure if it’s the love I gave in those relationships or the love I received that keeps this person alive in my heart. I know their presence in my life continues.
In the book Love Languages, author Gary Chapman explains that different people give and receive love in different ways. When we recognize our preferences and learn the likes of those we love, we can eliminate conflict, connect more deeply, and grow closer. We all have different ways of expressing love. The five love languages are words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, receiving gifts, and acts of service. Learning to “speak” the love language of the person you love changes your relationship.
Those whose love language is words of affirmation take pleasure in hearing that they have done an excellent job. When you thank them for yard work, cooking a nice meal, or even making a sandwich, you’re saying, “I love you.” Complimenting them for a job well done is a gift to them. For the person whose love language is physical touch, nothing says “I love you” like giving and receiving affection through physical closeness. It could be cuddling, holding hands, or putting your head on your shoulder. Sometimes quiet time snuggled up on the couch can be powerful medicine after a hard day. Spending quality time can mean doing an activity together or doing nothing together. Dinner, a movie, brunch or a walk together can be an act of love for the person who values quality time. Imagine someone starting a business whose partner is hungry for quality time. Both will feel misunderstood and unloved. Committing to a date night can help the relationship by ensuring that the partner who values love by quality time gets the love they need. Gift giving is a magical way to say I love you to someone whose love language is receiving gifts. Your gift doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be thoughtful. Note that the saying “it’s the thought that counts” is not true for this person. The gift is important. If your partner measures love by acts of service, doing a task or chore that he wants or needs done will win his heart. Everyone wants to give and receive love. Knowing our love language and our partner’s can help us meet their needs and our own. Don’t expect your partner to know what your love language is. Take the time to help them understand you. The time and effort you invest will pay off significantly.
We are seekers by nature. There is an old parable about the gods debating where to hide the greatest power in the universe. One suggests hiding it on the highest mountain. The others disagreed. They said, “A man will one day climb to the top of the highest mountain and find her.” Another suggested they hide at the bottom of the deepest ocean. The others disagreed, saying it wouldn’t be safe there. “Man will one day explore the deepest ocean and discover the greatest power in the universe,” they said. Finally, one of them offered to hide it in the soul of the person. They all agreed, knowing that one would never think to look for it in the depths of one’s own soul. The search for meaning is what defines us. I hope that the information in this article will help you in your search to find yourself. Let’s find the answers you want.
Cami Miller is a business coach and partners with leaders at all levels to develop strategies for success. Contact her at [email protected] or text 225-432-0454.