I was always the kid who wanted change. I always wanted “more” of “something else”, even though I didn’t have a clear vision of what that “more” was. Whenever I started developing any sort of routine, or felt stuck about where I was at, I was easily bored and annoyed by everything around me.
I just wanted things to be different: all – the – time.
I was determined that I needed to meet different people, even though my friends were beyond amazing. I was determined I needed new influence, a different stimulus, something like a new hobby, even though my hobbies fulfilled me. Because I thought there was “more” that I needed to discover to be fully happy.
I thought “different” = better.
My idea was that the “more” lied in “away”. I thought I needed to move away to find all of this. Because different = better, right? I thought somewhere was that influence, those people, that passion, those impressions – somewhere, where things were “right” 365 days a year.
I always saw the status quo as too flawed to be satisfied with it. While it’s great to want to improve, looking back, I just wasn’t grateful for what I had and additionally blamed everyone but myself for my dissatisfaction.
My parents gladly always offered me the possibilities to go after things I wanted. Carmen wants change. So, Carmen moves. Twice, actually. But the second time I sort of really fell on my ass – maybe because it felt more like real life than when I was 15 and took a break from life to be in South Wales. It was as great as it sounds.
So, I was somewhere new, with different people, in a different environment, with different influence, a different routine and different challenges. Why was I not suddenly fulfilled, happy and satisfied?
Well, happiness doesn’t depend on where you are.
Problems that start with you are problems you need to sort out with yourself. And you can’t escape them. I always wanted to change my environment, when in fact I was just unhappy about myself.
But happiness always starts with you.
Think about it: Whenever you’re unhappy and unfulfilled – is it because your environment is toxic or because you are toxic for yourself?
Once I started realizing that in 98% of the cases, I was simply unhappy with how I (re)acted, how I thought and what I did and aimed for, my mindset flipped.
Change starts from within. You’re responsible for surrounding myself with people who lift you up, support you and who are good for you. But personally, whenever I was truly unhappy, I was actually unhappy with myself. I needed to go through a lot of pain to learn that, and that’s okay. Through pain we grow, and I’m glad I realized this sooner than later. I had to learn that the “moving away” and “changing my environment” was just a coping mechanism through which I thought life would get better and easier.
Maybe you have a different (and less expensive) coping mechanism than I me. Maybe you let others feel your dissatisfaction with yourself a lot more. Maybe you cope more through food or through developing a strong sense of inferiority – or anything else.
Every time you find yourself wanting to change or escape what’s around you, when you feel stuck, or as if things are “just not right” and you start questioning your position in life, ask yourself: Is your environment bad for you, or are you bad for yourself? Are you dissatisfied with your environment, or with yourself?
And when you catch yourself blaming others and your circumstances: instead, blame yourself. Make an active decision to be happier about where you’re at, who you are and the road you’re choosing to travel every day. When things don’t seem to align in your life, start with gaining clarity about yourself. Start with changing your mindset. Happiness starts with you. Change starts with you.
Have a great week,
(P.S.: Next time I move, don’t be too worried that I’m unhappy with myself. I hope there will be a bigger, better reason 😉 !)