Our passion, purpose, soulmate – whatever it is. That thing we’re searching for the hardest because we think it’ll be the answer to everything – our problems in life, business and love.
We work hard to find it because we’ve been told and subconsciously sold on the idea time and time again that without it, we can’t possibly be happy and complete. Without it, we’re spinning our wheels and living an empty existence. Without it, we’re wasting our time.
Well, I call bullshit.
We get disappointed when our dream job or business turns out to be not so dreamy. Long hours, personal differences and conflicts arise and we suddenly see that things aren’t all they were cracked up to be in our squeaky clean vision of life.
We get disappointed when our significant other, best friends or family members let us down. Missed birthdays and anniversaries, differences of opinion and contrasting priorities. All of a sudden, the people we counted on the most are nowhere to be found. (Or so we tell ourselves because really – in the big scheme of things – I’d love to know I’m supported when I really need it and not only to celebrate a single day of the year).
The problem with searching for happiness in other people, places or things is that we’ll always be searching. When we look for something outside of us to keep us fulfilled, we’ll always be dissatisfied.
Nothing will ever be perfect. We can try to find the ideal job, marry the ideal partner and make the ideal friends but inevitably, in some way, something will arise to taint that vision of perfection and the ideal. The question is how much imperfection we’re willing to put up with in any given scenario. Or as Mark Manson so eloquently puts it:
“WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE FLAVOUR OF SHIT SANDWICH AND DOES IT COME WITH AN OLIVE?”
You can read more about his brilliant insights but he’s pointing to a very true fact that often gets overlooked:
“…here’s the sticky little truth about life that they don’t tell you at high school pep rallies: Everything sucks, some of the time… Everything involves sacrifice. Everything includes some sort of cost. Nothing is pleasurable or uplifting all of the time. So the question becomes: what struggle or sacrifice are you willing to tolerate? Ultimately, what determines our ability to stick with something we care about is our ability to handle the rough patches and ride out the inevitable rotten days.”
When we’re relying on something or someone to make things better for us, we often forget that we’re all out for our own agendas. So that person we’re looking for to complete our lives – he or she also has their own dreams, goals and opinions, which may not always be aligned with ours. Those coworkers, bosses, employees and clients we hope will always do and say the right thing? They may have a different idea altogether of what ‘right’ means.
So as you contemplate your shit sandwiches and which ones come with an olive (and I hope that most of them do!) also consider the following.
Since it’s inevitable that everyone and everything will at some point in time mire your idea of perfection or what you think you truly want and need in this life – find your own happiness, fulfillment and support FIRST.
Back up and figure out what lights you up and go do more of that stuff.
Find the hobbies and interests that fill your soul with adventure and creativity rather than assuming that your job and others around you will always be around to fill in the gaps.
Take the time to take care of yourself so when issues and problems arise, you’re in a better emotional, physical and mental space to deal with them.
When we’re constantly searching for things outside of ourselves to make everything better, we’ll be constantly searching in vain. Because really, true happiness starts within.