Right now, someone halfway across the world is searching for happiness.

Like most people, they’re not happy. They believe something is missing that makes them feel incomplete on a fundamental level.

Maybe you’re one of those people.


Photo Credit: Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

And so, to become truly happy, the general assumption is to acquire that one thing that will fix the problem. Once you get it, all things will be good and right in the world and you may ride off into the sunset. Well, maybe life won’t be perfect, but you’ll certainly be more at peace.

The only problem with this is that you’re looking for peace and happiness outside of yourself– somewhere where it just doesn’t exist. So, you move from fixation to fixation, each one appearing more and more promising.

You feel as though you’re getting closer. But it’s all smoke and mirrors. You’re searching for wholeness when you were never incomplete to begin with.

You are all things. Denying, rejecting, judging or hiding from any aspect of your total being creates pain and results in a lack of wholeness.

– Joy Page

That never-ending quest for wholeness tends to revolve around three things:

  1. The one: The search for the one partner who will complete us is something that occupies a huge portion of many people’s lives. They’re so convinced that finding that special person will make them happy that they’ll experience heartache after heartache just for a chance at finding the one.
  2. Material items: Money and material items are a legitimate desire for those who grow up without much. Plus, there are studies that show those who have enough to pay for basic living expenses are happier than those living in poverty. However, that’s not what I’m talking about here. By material items, I’m referring to the desire for a mansion and an army of sports cars. It’s a vision of wealth that we become obsessed with over time. This, we believe, is all we’re missing to find happiness and complete ourselves.
  3. Achievements: Sometimes we seek achievements and fame because we don’t feel worthy. We look for the recognition of our work and status by others offers to validate ourselves. So, we strive to achieve things to confirm we were “whole” all along.

What the three things we chase have in commonThe happy solitude of the lone wolf: The power of standing strong as one

Each of these things lead us to live our life in the same way: Constantly striving to obtain the one elusive thing that will help us feel complete.

But the problem is, this is our way of realizing a sense of self-worth. Feelings of unworthiness are driving us to look for external validation.

How this keeps us from happiness

As I mentioned earlier, these various efforts we make to find wholeness are all smoke and mirrors.We were already whole to begin with, we just think we are missing a piece.

Almost all of us experience some form of self-judgment. We tell ourselves we’re not good enough, tall enough, handsome or pretty enough, smart enough, young enough, or one of several thousand other harmful narratives that only seeks to destroy our confidence and self-worth. It’s because of this that we mistake our complete selves as incomplete ones. This is the delusion.

And this keeps you from happiness because you’re completely preoccupied trying to find an answer to your lack of self-worth outside of yourself when in reality, it was within you all along. So long as you’re searching outside yourself, you’ll never find your answer.

What to do about it

Throughout life, we become conditioned by our experiences. Someone constantly tells us we are stupid, we are bullied at school, we grow up a bit awkward and take that as our own inadequacy, we make a mistake that we never forgive ourselves for, or something else altogether.

From this, our subconscious creates the narrative that we’re screwed up. And, from that, the “if I only had…” idea is created.

But if happiness is only found from within, and all our efforts to find it outside of ourselves are fruitless, what should you do? Turn inward. Take the time to get to know yourself on a very deep level.

Talk to others who are going through similar things as you, meditate to develop self-awareness, and change the way you live to include more nourishing activities built around personal growth and helping others.

You don’t have to stop working towards your goals and it doesn’t mean that wanting to find that special someone, generate wealth, or achieve great things are misguided efforts.

Just don’t do those things with the delusion that you’ll find some missing piece of yourself and realize eternal happiness or peace as a result. There are valuable reasons for all three efforts, but finding your own self-worth isn’t one of them.