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Change Yourself as Many Times as You Need To In Order To Be Happy

On the way to happiness we often need to let go of parts of ourselves, in order to find our true selves

Sometimes we need to lose ourselves, in order to find our true selves.

To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. – Thich Nhat Hanh

Maybe you always wanted to become a doctor, were studying hard at school and your parents payed a lot of money to send you to the best collage to become a doctor and you gave everything for this dream. Now you are one. A few years in, you question whether this is what you really want or not. It is not bad, you might even be very successful but for some reason it just doesn’t feel the way you always expected it to feel like. Or maybe it did, in the beginning but the feeling faded. Maybe you even have another dream already. Something that crosses your mind from time to time but that doesn’t go together with you being a doctor. Technically you could also quit your job and work on the new idea, or at least start it in your free time. But something is holding you back.

You can substitute being a doctor with anything else in your life that feels similar. Maybe you always wanted to work towards a certain amount of money, your own house, a certain car, a relationship, another job. Just think of something that you spent a lot of time working for and it was the one thing you were sure you wanted to have, to do or to achieve. Maybe you have it or are sure to have it soon but at this point in your life, you are not sure that you want it that much anymore. Maybe you are even sure that you don’t want it anymore. What do you do now? You know the other idea would bring you a lot of joy and it would contribute to your personal growth. It might be hard, but you don’t shy away from a challenge. This is not what’s holding you back, so what is it?

I have been there before. I had these first doubts as well, but I decided that I would choose happiness over the plan I had created for years. I knew the only thing holding me back, had been myself. This was what I always did, I followed the things that felt right to me, so I decided to do it again, even though looking at it from a logical point of view it seemed counterintuitive. And there I was, a completely new career, starting over. I was excited, it was challenging, and I loved it! But something felt still a little off. After a year of pursuing my new job and dream, I ended up doubting if that was really the one thing that made me happy. One single year after I started over. One year. This time it really scared me, because again, it was just one year after starting with that after haven thrown away something I had been working all my prior life on. I had just started over, working on something completely different than ever before and things were finally going pretty smooth. But this feeling came up again, telling me I needed to change directions a little more than I already had. I didn’t even know what to do. The only thing I always knew how to do, was following those kinds of feelings. But this time I really doubted my feelings and then I asked myself why I was so afraid of changing something again?

Soon after, I knew what it was that I wanted to start additionally to what I was doing back then. I could still work in my job, while working on the new projects. This endeavor was much less risky than the one just a year ago. But I still wasn’t sure why I hesitated so much this time until I understood what really scared me that much. Changing who I was because I made my job a part of my identity, even though I didn’t recognize it. I knew that no matter how I would look like or what I would do, I would still be me and I knew that I would be more than all the things surrounding me and yet I caught myself, defining myself through my job. So, who am I when I am not doing this job anymore? What do I say, when people ask me what I do? It is so different from what I did and from what people knew me for. How will people react to what I do? Is it authentic to change directions again? Those where the thoughts I wasn’t even thinking consciously but the ones that were somewhere hidden deep inside of myself.

I was scared to lose myself. Scared to not know who I really am. But then I remembered, that I am still myself. I am shedding layers off myself, in order to become my truest self. We are constantly evolving and changing. Even on a cellular level, we are changing all the time. It is ok to change everything in our lives, whenever we want to, if that is what it takes to be happy and to be our truest self. It might change the way some people look at you, yes. But the people who really love you, will support you no matter what. Or even if they don’t in the beginning, they will eventually be happy that you followed your dreams and made yourself happy, just give them time.

Just because you are no doctor anymore, you are not less or more important on this planet. You are still you, maybe a little more you than ever before. And it is authentic to change your entire life and do things neither you nor the people around you could have ever expected of you. Not only is it authentic it is bold, strong, open-minded, and a sign that you go with the flow of life. You grow out of your comfort zone. All great things were just invented by people who did things no one expected them to do.

What matters in the end, is that you are happy. That you love what you do. And some things are only meant to be in our lives for some chapters. But we are free to write new chapters at any time. If you did all you could to work on your dreams or if you have the things you were always dreaming of, but now you feel like it’s time for a new chapter, this is great! Follow this calling. You have those thoughts for a reason. Listen to them. Find out if it is what you want now and then do it, own it. To the people surrounding you, it might feel like a new you, but to yourself it feels true, honest and like it has always been part of you, because it has, trust this feeling.

It is the same in a relationship or really anything in life. You loved this person so very much and couldn’t ever imagine loving someone else until it changed? You loved to eat meat until the day that you couldn’t eat it anymore and were confused by your own decision? This is ok. Try it out. You know how to make reasonable decisions and evaluate the risks. And most times you can go back. But don’t just keep going in the hamster wheel because some time ago it was what you wanted. 

You live now, today. It matters what you want today, how you feel today, what makes you happy today. You live today. 

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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