One thing you can be sure of in life is change and that is IT! Full stop. Period. The end. OK, not quite the end, as I want to write this article, but you get what I’m saying! Regardless of our situation, whether we are in a relationship or single, many of us feel that we have an emptiness inside that something outside of ourselves has the incredible power to fill up. We find ourselves thinking, “When I have a job, a relationship, a child (whatever it is for you) well, then I’ll really be happy”. We think a lot about external ways of filling the hole inside.  

But no job, no relationship, no child, will ever make us feel whole. It may add to the quality of our lives, but it will never, ever, ever fill us up. Only we can fill us up.

So what would happen if we made the controversial decision to be happy regardless and start with that? You know, wake up in the morning and choose to be happy all day, regardless of how frustrating our day is or any external circumstances that we encounter? We just make the decision to take that state of being happy into everything that we do that day and then do it the next day, and the next, and the next. 

A friend of mine, who is an 80-year-old doctor, (he looks 60) had just had his second hip operation. When I called him, I expected him to be really miserable. He answered the phone full of the joys of spring.

‘Why are you so happy? You’ve just had an operation. You must be on the best drugs!’, I said.

‘Oh no, I’m not on any drugs, I’m going to heal so much quicker in good spirits.’, he said. He was right. Not only did he heal in record time, but also his attitude is probably a large part of the reason why he looks twenty years younger than what he is. 

All my life, I imagined being married. But it was only when I got to a place in my life when I really didn’t care about it, because I felt so whole and filled up that Bam! There he was, on an unexpected and unplanned day in the park. Which brings me to one of my favorite things that I have said since my early teens. Be who you are fully and completely and you can do and have whatever you want. (After all, we are human beings, not human ‘doings’ or ‘havings’.) The 5 tips this week for filling the hole inside are designed to give you ways in which you can feel more whole, and no doubt will make you much easier to live with! 

TIP 1: No one and nothing outside of you is ever going to change, which means that you must change. If you come from that perspective, you are onto a winner. If you are waiting for your partner to change, your living situation to change, a new job or a child to fill you up inside, you will be sorely disappointed, as all these things are transient.  

TIP 2: Stop being so hard on yourself and ruminating on past mistakes and what you ‘could have’ or ‘should have’ done. What’s done is done and it’s over. Forgive yourself for anything you might have done that didn’t work for you, see it as feedback to do something different next time and move on. No doubt, you are your harshest critic.

TIP 3: It is really important to make sure that you have an outlet for emotions. Going to a therapist to talk about things is a start, however, unexpressed anger, resentment, sadness and loss can lead to dis-ease in the physical body. So these negative emotions have to be released from the physical body, as well as talked about and cleared out of the mental body. Maybe that means hitting your bed with a pillow, going on a 10 mile run, doing a self-development training that deals with releasing anger, or even getting bodywork. The mind, body and spirit are inextricably linked. 

TIP 4: Rediscover what you are good at and what’s most important to you. What are your real gifts and abilities? Whatever they are, make sure that you’re using them. 

TIP 5: Dare to leave your self open to being criticized. Those who try to put on a mask and pretend that nothing hurts or affects them, are actually going to be hurt more in the long run and we know how unhealthy that is!

For some reason, we often really care what others think of us and that can be a real impediment to finding out who we really are and how to best express that. But in order to go about filling the hole inside, we have to find out what works for each of us individually, which will not be the same as anyone else.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find that life can really be a tough obstacle course, but the more we can keep an innocent and unjaded perspective, as hard it may be sometimes, the better. Making the decision to remain open and be happy really can just start with that: a decision.