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A recent question was posed about how our immediate environment affects our emotional state. What works best to create a sense of calm? Obviously, this is going to vary widely from person to person, and from day to day. I have found, on a purely personal level, that where I am emotionally is what strikes the tone for experiencing solid happiness and contentment. That sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it?! You're thinking, of course your emotions dictate your level of happiness. Yes, they do, but what I'm talking about is delving deeper.
For a good part of my life, I based a lot of my personal happiness on outward labels. The most important label was what I did for work - what I did to pay the bills, where I occupied 80% of my time in the business week. Given that I also spent a good number of years searching and trying on various careers to find the right fit (Low Boredom Threshold, remember?), I kept thinking that it was me....something I was doing was the problem. In a way, that was the truth, because I was identifying my dissatisfaction with each job I held. That dissatisfaction boiled down to the fact that I wasn't recognizing who and what I really was.
I wasn't any of those jobs. I just hadn't come to that state of conscious realization yet. I did identify myself as what I was doing at any given time - be it office management, retail management, real estate, medical research, holistic health provider, and a whole slew of other industries. Underlying the success that I experienced in each endeavor, there was always this nagging sense of dissatisfaction. Some of it came from various corporate rules, and I'm the first to admit that I'm not a fan of a lot of those rules. The majority of it came from the fact that I was putting so much weight and demand into the label I carried. Those various job titles never felt "right" to me.
Fast forward to the last four to five years and the whole global economy changing so drastically. Like everyone else in the world, my cozy little existence got turned upside down and I was forced to revamp and reinvent myself, more than once....more than twice, to be honest. In a curious manner, the ups and downs that I experienced forced me to be much more present and practical about what worked best for me in all areas of life. When things get pared down to bare essentials and you're starting from zero more than once, you quickly develop the ability to identify key elements that make the most sense.
For me, this translated into creating a freelancing business and being my own boss, per se. It's not always the easiest existence, as you're dependent upon the vagaries of the job market and economy in a slightly different manner, but it is a satisfying one. I am able to choose the clients and industries where I want to work, and I am able to focus my career in directions that I choose. I no longer depend on any sort of corporate entity to be the sole source of income, and I don't know that I ever want to go back to that way of life. I am much happier knowing that I have multiple streams of income, and multiple opportunities in a much wider pool of clients and industries. When bad things happen - as Life has a way of handing us those challenges in that out of the blue delivery mode - knowing that I have alternative options immediately available gives me a stronger peace of mind.
While this is my own specific experience, the deeper message that I am conveying is that it took me almost half my life to learn to stop identifying and qualifying who I am with any job that I do. I now identify myself as a writer, plain and simple. And an entrepreneur. Whatever I do in an ancillary manner to pay the bills is simply that....a means to an end. I no longer invest my whole identity into someone else's vision, unless it is in a support application with my freelancing business. I now invest my heart and soul into what gives me joy, and that is being a creative person. The emotional freedom and sense of wellness that comes along with this new approach cannot be underestimated. The fascinating thing is that by freeing up myself in this manner, I have noticed that prosperity seems to flow more efficiently. Connections flourish more easily and timing seems to click more readily.
Does this mean that I no longer have difficult moments? Absolutely not. In fact, a bad moment hit me today that I wasn't quite prepared for. I had had an intuition that things with this specific situation might not be all they appeared on the surface, but I wasn't prepared for the hitting the brick wall at maximum velocity delivery manner that occurred. Ten or fifteen years ago, this type of bad news would have been devastating to me, as I would have internalized and beaten myself up as the sole source and reason for things going wrong. I no longer do that these days. Instead, as many dear friends pointed out upon hearing this news, this type of abrupt closure is always a clear indication of better things being prepared to come into that newly vacated space.
What I am appreciative of at this point in my life is how I react to seemingly bad news. I look much deeper than I used to. I delve into the message and lessons being conveyed and I take the obvious opportunity for growth very seriously. I recognize where I have impacted any given situation in a positive or negative manner, and I learn from it. But the most important realization, for me, is that I am at a point in my life where I do not predicate my self worth on outside sources. My emotional health definitely comes from within, and from there springs my complete happiness. Even in the midst of admittedly bad news, such as that which I received today, I can honestly say I'm not broken hearted, dismayed or even too terribly upset. I'm at an emotional and mental stage where I see balance and logic in every occurrence. I won't lie and say I'm not frustrated with this temporary snag, because we never like to weather bad news, but all in all, I see Divine Order in everything around me. This newly vacated space is waiting for new and different energy to set up housekeeping and provide new experiences.
So, from the perspective of how our environment affects our emotional well being, I guess the stronger message would be to first look inward and see how reactive each of us may be to a given situation. I'm choosing to view my own recent experience of this newly vacated space as an opportunity.