External referencing and suffering

When we are born, we are pure and perfect, unconditioned by society, our reference points all found inwards. At a very young age, we learn that we own things and that we have to care for them, yet at the same time, we are told that we have to share our toys with others. You may agree with me there that this can get a bit confusing.

And so we grow up being told how to behave, learning to please others, making sure that what we are doing is acceptable for the rest of society. I think we can really see this conflict between the internal Self and the external references during the teenage years. While searching for who we are, we also want to distinguish ourselves from others. Is that so wrong?

I think there might be something here to explore, something here to learn. Let’s imagine this for example; you are at a party and someone asks who you are. What is the most common answer? I am so and so and I am a doctor, a school teacher, etc. But what if you were to lose your job the very next day, how would you identify yourself then?

We have become so accustomed to identifying ourselves by our titles, the things we own and the relationships we have, that we have lost touch with who we really are. My boyfriend, my house, my car, my job, these are not who you are, they do not define you, yet we let these define us. We hold on so tightly to these external references as if they were a part of us that when we lose them, we are ourselves lost.

Other than these things and relationship, and here is where it becomes more subtle, are our “wants” and our expectations. For example, if you are someone who’s received external gratification each time something was accomplished, later in life, when you find yourself in a situation where your accomplishments are not necessarily praised, you may start to blame others. The truth is, only you can truly be proud of your accomplishments, and you being proud should satisfy this “want”.

And so, by looking outside of us for encouragement, for gratification, for a “good job” pat on the back, we are only deceived and momentarily satisfied. By seeking others’ opinions and blessings about personal decisions we should make for ourselves, we are taking away our responsibility towards our own happiness, blaming others when things don’t work out.

Happiness is found inside us. There is great work, hard work to be done to face who we really are, but once we start doing so, there is no turning back. It may turn your world upside down, but it will have been worthwhile, because in the end, you will achieve such inner peace and you will make decision linking the heart to the mind and to the body, becoming whole again.

Take the time to recognize how you look to others to make you happy, how you expect certain things will be done or given to you. Notice how your material possessions seem to define you and start making steps towards releasing some of these external references. Redefine who you are by looking inside and be content, happy and satisfied by what you find for that is the only truth, the only reality. Beauty will shine from inside you and inspire others.



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