Have you ever thought about the difference between willpower and true strength of conviction? It's the difference between trying to lose weight or quit smoking because you think you should and doing so because you truly are ready and willing and have deep, meaningful reasons for doing so.
With this in mind, when we want to make a change it makes sense for us to plumb our inner depths to uncover our true reasons for acting the way we do. Only by doing this can we move past surface attempts at changing and create real, lasting difference in our lives.
You may have heard this before in different ways, but since 'repetition is the mother of skill,' and also because sometimes reading something put in a slightly different way makes things 'click,' we will cover a little of what this means here in this article.
We have all heard that we need to have our own, personal reasons for doing things. This, we are told, leads to true happiness. How many of us, however, really follow this advice? If you are unhappy in your current relationship, give some deep thought to how much of that dissatisfaction is based on your impression of the way things 'should' be, and how the relationship falls short. Are you living with subtle opinions in your head about what a good relationship is supposed to look like? Have the songs all told you that true love is meant to look a certain way, and did you learn from Disney about how a man and a woman should feel about each other? You may scoff at first, but a good way to find out if this 'outside opinion' phenomenon is affecting you is to make a list of shoulds. You can do this with any situation in your life you are unhappy about and wish to change:
What is a 'proper' woman supposed to look and behave like?
What should a 'good' partner do to show he or she loves me?
What do I believe is necessary for me to be happy?
How does a good daughter/son/brother/sister behave?
How should my boss and my company treat me?
These are just examples, but notice as you question yourself whose voice it is that answers.
When you hear an answer, think about where you got that from. Was it a teacher, a parent or a magazine article or book you once read? They are likely a mix of things and even if you can't specifically trace a thought to its origin, it isn't highly likely it's an original thought which came from YOU. Additionally, what you may not realize is that your own version of how things should be differs greatly from another's - it is not 'how it is.' This is a cause of much internal and external conflict. Perhaps you don't even need a change, but a change in how you see things.
We are bombarded with opinions and advice from almost the day we are born, and one skill we are not taught, sadly, is to look inside and determine what is right for us. How often have you made yourself still, asked yourself a question and listened to the answer? Is it possible that what you think you want is not in alignment with what is really right for you? Is it further possible that you already have much of what you really want, but that dreamy 'shoulds' are holding you back from realizing it.
Spend some time with yourself. Get to know what really makes you happy and only do that. Do this long enough, and you will be the happiest person you know, by using your own inner conviction to give you strength and purpose.
Shauna Arthurs is an author and founder of a network of websites dedicated to helping readers define, refine and achieve their dreams. Visit BreathingProsperity.com and Live-With-Power.com for a wealth of inspiring information!