I recently read your book and did the exercise, "Getting to the Core of What You Want" and I discovered that the only thing I really want is to be happy, self confident and surrounded by people I love. My question is, what about all the dreams I have about tangible things like my career, travel, marriage and so on? Do we have to give that up and only focus on what really matters at the end? Or are we supposed to try to get it but not be affected if we can't make it? I have to say I feel naked without all those goals I had in mind. I'm lost, what am I supposed to do now?
Getting to the Core, 22, France
Dear Getting to the Core,
You have presented a conflict many individuals on a personal growth path encounter. I acknowledge you for realizing at a young age that at the core of what we all really want is to feel joy, inner peace and love. And achieving those things is an inside job - nothing external can fulfill our internal requirements.
But we can still have dreams and goals! Holding a vision for what we'd like to create in life is not a problem, becoming attached to the outcome we think goals will provide is what gets us off course. If we chase goals with expectations, we will consistently be running through life looking for something or someone outside of ourselves to fulfill some need or desire.
A trap many of us fall into is allowing our roles and achievements to define who we are. Consequently our focus becomes extremely goal-orientated and all of a sudden we are human "doings" rather than human "beings." But you do not have to give up the doing in order to be. We can begin to create harmony between the two by realizing that our external life is a reflection of who we are rather than an identification of who we are.
How do you do this? Begin by adopting an "in-out" rather than an "out-in" approach to life. Most of us have this backwards. Continue to focus on generating internal happiness, self-confidence and love based on no one and nothing outside of you. Then take those qualities "out- in"to the world and use them to create the life you want. Youre dreams then are a natural extension of who you are and a way to utilize and share your unique gifts, talents and experiences.
Still lost? Allow me to give you an example. When I was in my early twenties, I chased after the goal of becoming a successful agent in Hollywood. And I achieved that goal by the age of 25 because I thought it was what I really wanted. Everyday as I sat in my office in Beverly Hills, I tried to talk myself into my job. But the truth was that I was insecure and bought into the belief that achieving great success in a tough industry would make me feel better about myself. Wrong. I thought what I wanted was external success, but what I really wanted was to feel accepted and at peace. As soon as I realized that no job could bring me that, I resigned and began my own journey of excavation and investigation.
I began to learn how to create acceptance and peace within by healing unresolved issues and embarking on a path of growth and learning. As I got clearer about who I was, what I wanted naturally became an extension of that and I was able to focus on goals that were more in alignment with the core of what I want.
Know that cultivating internal awareness sometimes does leave us feeling a bit lost because we are conditioned to embark on a very linear, goal-orientated approach to life. When we move within where we don't always know what's next, it's natural to feel "naked", but know your awareness of "what really matters" says to me that you're more on track than you actually think. Allow that awareness to be your compass.
Allow the process (notice I said process, not result) of manifesting your dreams and goals to be fueled and infused with the happiness, confidence and love you want. Follow your joy. You will never feel lost if you do that. There is nothing you are "supposed to do." And remember that the key to opening the door to "what really matters" is stepping into the awareness that you are actually achieving all your dreams and goals right now in this very moment.
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