The best part about being an adult is the freedom to make choices. This is what I envied as a kid.
It took me a while to realize that the grown-up freedom to choose also includes deciding when I’m tired of blaming my circumstances, focusing on stuff that makes me upset, and treating myself in ways that don’t feel good.
Being an adult means that I have power over myself. With great power comes great responsibility. Taking responsibility for how I choose to think, feel, and behave is emotional adulthood.
Emotional childhood is when we want everyone and everything to take care of our emotional needs for us.
We are full of “shoulds” and requirements:
Believing that someone else should make us happy. Making excuses for our poor behavior. Escaping from our emotions by indulging in distractions. Depending upon immediate gratification. Complaining about things being unfair. Blaming other people or circumstances for how we feel.
When we’re being an emotional child, we are constantly depending on external sources to charge us up and make us feel alive. We show up to the world uncharged, and try to plug into people and things that we believe will give us validation, success, and love. And even when we do manage to get a good charge out of something and are happy for a while, we eventually become afraid that we will lose that thing that we so depend on.
We become bent on manipulating the external to keep supplying our expanding needs.
And therein lies the problem.
The truth is: events will unfold as they will, people are not responsible for how you feel, and the world will be unfair. This is the reality of our world.
When we try to control that which we have no control over, we get neurotic and nutty. We blame and get into victim mentality. We wait for things to change instead of changing how we approach things. When we fight against reality, we always lose. It’s very disempowering.
But we really must be compassionate with ourselves first and understand why we’ve fallen into the external trap. Society makes it so easy and acceptable to chase after the external in the name of fulfillment. The world is telling us that we will find happiness in a product, a lifestyle, an ideal.
And that’s ok. It is what it is.
But we have minds of our own. When we learn to take responsibility for ourselves, we are no longer so dependent on external things. We can still wish for objects and prefer things to go a certain way, but it’s no longer out of desperation and believing that the external is our only source of happiness.
When we learn that our minds create how we feel, we discover that we don’t need to rely purely on the world outside of us. We can start to see why it is that we want something external, and how we can create that feeling on our own. When the world does comply to our wishes, we can then feel extra amazing. But when things start to fall apart, we don’t have to fall apart with it.
Realizing that we have our own power, is akin to remembering that we have an inner battery that we ourselves can recharge over and over again. This is our true power source. When we use our own inner charge, anything we get from the outside is simply an extra power-up, but not required in order to feel good.
When I feel as though I’m relying mostly on the external, I stop, close my eyes, and visualize pulling all the plugs back in. In this external-centric world, our genuine happiness depends on how well I can stay balanced internally.
The charge we get from the outside will only be as powerful and beneficial as we already provide for ourselves on the inside.
First we must understand that we are always responsible for how we feel. This doesn’t mean that we should never hurt or struggle with our circumstances. It simply means that we understand that it is up to us to make genuine inner shifts towards what feels better.