If fame, money and power made people happy we wouldn’t have examples like Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, or Robin Williams.
In fact, according to this Time article, suicide is more common in wealthier neighborhoods than in poor ones!
However… from a perspective outside of money, beauty, fame, or power they sure can look like the solution to everything.
Rich and beautiful people appear to be having more fun. They appear to be more loved and deserving. So we pursue what we think will make us happier, feel fulfilled, and feel valuable, not noticing it hasn’t actually worked for others, not noticing the collective delusion.
I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer. ~Jim Carrey
Anyone who has achieved a long held dream will tell you… getting there did not make them feel complete for all eternity. Quite the contrary, their journey continued, not as some new and whole person, but as themselves with more experience, and perhaps more understanding.
Wherever you go, there you are. ~Jon Kabat-Zinn
Changing our circumstances doesn’t work like a magic wand, where Poof! an explosion of magic, a cloud of smoke and we are different inside.
Growing up we develop a baseline of feeling and it takes conscious effort to adjust it. You can see our natural pull towards an established standard in lottery winners, where seventy percent return to their former financial circumstances within a few years of winning.
If we cannot achieve a resting place where we are loved, admired, accepted and secure forever and ever… if that strategy is not actually the way to lasting happiness… then how do we feel fulfilled, loved and valuable? How do we measure success?
Good question! Inside-out is the very short answer.
Rather than pursuing an outcome, we get good at showing up for today. In the early 2000’s I had a card taped to my dresser mirror. It was a young woman in a graceful dancing pose. Her dress, and the ballroom were draped with ribbons. It said:
Present yourself as though you are a gift.
The new paradigm is an invitation to accept your own value as a given. You exist, therefore you are wanted, needed and of great value.
We don’t have to squash, medicate, or violate ourselves to conform, because all those self-betrayals were done for the promise external value — love, fame, money, power, inclusion — whatever we believed lacking.
With value as a baseline, we move from competition to collaboration. From performing self to authentic self, from work and duty to creativity and love in action.
Can you get comfortable with this different mindset?
Life may have lovely surprises for you.