We are social beings. We are simply wired to look for connection and relationships. Most of the time, this is a wonderful thing that feeds our souls. Sometimes, though, we can lose ourselves a little (or a lot) by seeking approval from others. You may have heard the phrase “happiness is an inside job.” In my experience, it really is. We need to turn inward, to find ease and contentment within ourselves, not from the external world.
Interpersonal conflict is an inevitable part of life. I’m dealing with a doozy right now. My family of origin and I have recently had a break of sorts. I know they disapprove of me in some significant ways and are carrying around negative thoughts and feelings about me. And I’m not going to lie; it hurts. But through my yoga and meditation practice, I’m approaching this painful situation in a way I would not have even considered pre-yoga. I’m letting myself feel the sadness. I’m leaning into the discomfort of knowing they see me in ways I consider distorted and they consider real. I’m staying with the emotions instead of running away from them by eating, shopping, drinking, or otherwise finding creative ways to distract myself. I’m meditating a lot. Sometimes I cry when I do. But it’s ok. I truly believe that despite the emotional discomfort, I can survive it and become even more compassionate, towards myself and others.
So the one thing you should stop doing right now to find more contentment? Stop looking for approval from others. Turn your attention inward and plant, water, and nourish the garden of your interior landscape. Let’s see what blooms.