If You Want To Be Happy, Stop Soul Searching And Do This Instead

I just wanted to let you know that you are closer to happiness than you think. You are closer to living your ideal life, closer to getting what you truly want, closer to joy than you realize. You are closer to your soul than you realize. Trust me on this.

I think we are all born as our true selves, fully aligned with our souls but as we grow up we encounter situations, experiences, beliefs, and people that add these layers upon layers of excess that obscure this true self. It gets harder and harder for us to connect with it the more we are influenced by the world around us. This limits our happiness and sense of fulfillment. I touch on this in this post on my blog about why you should spend time alone because one of the best ways to reconnect with your true self is to spend more time alone, away from the noises and distractions and influence of the external world.

We are constantly being bombarded by people, the news, the media, advertisements telling us what to like, what we should wear, what we should look like, and what we should care about. But what about what we truly care about? What about what brings us true happiness? When was the last time you took some time alone to reflect on the real you and how you truly feel about everything? Most people call this soul-searching, but what if instead it’s more of a soul-excavation?

I went to hear Marianne Williamson speak on Monday night here in Los Angeles and she brought up something that I want to share with you guys. She said,

“When Michaelangelo was asked how he created a piece of sculpture, he answered that the statue already existed within the marble. God himself had created the Pieta, David, Moses. Michaelangelo’s job, as he saw it, was to get rid of the excess marble that surrounded God’s creation.”

If you know anything about Marianne Williamson, you know that she’s not Christian – she’s actually Jewish – but anyway, to get the point across without any religious undertones, just replace the word God with Universe, unless you prefer to use God. Really, it’s totally your choice. We are all created by the universe so what this means is that you are already your true self. Your soul, your authentic self, already exits within you. You don’t have to find it. You don’t have to go soul searching. All you have to do is remove the excess marble that surrounds it.

Just think about that for a moment.

We are not tasked with having to define our true selves. We are not tasked with having to find our purpose or make up our true, authentic selves (ugh, thank you, because that sounds impossible!) We already are our true, authentic selves. Instead, all we need to do is figure out which pieces of ourselves that we’ve accumulated over the years aren’t truly us.

These pieces, or layers, are identities we hold on to that others have defined for us. They’re identities that we thought we needed or identities we were told we should have. They’re identities that protected us during painful past experiences but no longer serve us. That’s the key: they no longer serve us.

So get rid of them! These are the layers that are simply obscuring our true selves and the process of removing them is as simple as taking the time to look at each identity and asking yourself if you still want to identify with it.

And this process doesn’t take a lifetime, even though it often seems like it’s that far away. It can happen as soon as you start to consciously pay attention to yourself, your thoughts, and your true feelings. Take some time to get away from everything, or at the very least, spend a few minutes every day totally unplugged from the world, with no distractions to just be alone with your thoughts. Start asking yourself which parts of your identity you want to hold on to and which parts you want to release.

A little over a year ago I was feeling totally lost and confused. Stuck and stagnant in life. I had a good life and yet I felt like something was missing. Like there was more out there that I wasn’t experiencing. Like I was meant for something more, but I just didn’t know what that was or how to get there. I was lacking a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

Well, a few months after that the universe really gave me a kick in the ass and showed me the way. It wasn’t how I was expecting any of this to happen – getting stuck with a horrible skin condition was probably the least pleasant way of showing me how to get on the right path. But it worked.

I spent SO much time alone that I had no choice but to reconnect with my true self. I barely talked to friends, barely even talked to my boyfriend. I spent the majority of my time meditating, sleeping, and binge-watching Netflix (that was the only thing that would take my mind off the pain). Then, when I was finally out of the painful phase, I took a week-long solo trip to Lake Tahoe and just unplugged from the world.

I took the time to ask myself questions about who I was, what my values were, what I enjoyed, what I didn’t enjoy, and what parts of my identity I liked and didn’t like. It was truly amazing and just what I needed to get re-aligned with my true, authentic self. I was finally taking my happiness in my own hands.

Mind you, I didn’t wake up the last morning of the trip thinking “OMG I am in touch with my soul!! Woooo!” But when I got back to LA after my trip it was as if everything had changed. I had such a clear vision on what I wanted to do with my life and such utter confidence in my ability to get there, something within me had come alive. I honestly believe that was my soul mobilizing.

Pulling a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic here:

“Your soul will mobilize accordingly. It will mobilize ecstatically, in fact, because this is what your soul was born for. (Trust me, your soul has been waiting for you to wake up to your own existence for years.)”

If you’re feeling like I was a year ago, please, for the love of donuts (I really like donuts), don’t wait for the universe to kick you in the ass. Do it yourself. Stop being a passenger in your own life, start piloting that airplane like a boss. Stop waiting for stuff to happen to you and go after what you want. No one is going to give you permission to do what you want, to be what you want or to have what you want. You need to give yourself permission. You only live once, this life is so short and so unpredictable, you don’t know how long you have. Why not live your life on your terms?

Trust me, you really don’t want to have to wait for the universe to hand you some crap experience for you to get moving, because trust me, it will. Why do you think so many of us transform so drastically after painful experiences? Why do you think there are so many leaders, authors, speakers, out there who have gone through tragic or painful experiences first before becoming this new version of themselves? It was the kick in the ass they needed to truly change. But you don’t NEED a painful experience to change. You can do it yourself. So don’t wait for it, I’m begging you. And if you’ve already had that painful experience – it’s time to USE it. Let it transform you.

So you see, my lovely modern spiritualist friend, you are much closer than you realize to happiness and a fulfilling life. You just need to peel back the excess layers and reconnect with the real you. So stop soul-searching and just start removing the bits and pieces of yourself that don’t feel like you. Do you create drama in relationships because that’s what you see on TV or what was modeled for you by your parents? Is that part of your identity you want to keep? If not, release it.

Are you working a job you hate because you believe you “are” a marketer, engineer or any other job title? You’re identifying with your job title. You are so not your job. You are working your job. There’s a big difference. If that’s not an identity you want to keep, release it. And so on and so forth for every aspect of your life you can think of!

You will know when you’ve uncovered your soul. You’ll experience so much clarity, so much joy, so much confidence, your life will be turned upside down in the best possible way.

Happy excavating, friends!

P.S. Want a free workbook to help you define and release the identities that no longer serve you, paving the way to happiness and fulfillment? Download it here.

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