I was not a happy child. Despite the fact that the conditions I grew up with were in many ways good. I had my both parents… Siblings… Pets… My family was financially ok… We were all healthy… I was quite well taken care of…
But inside, I had this recurring sense of unhappiness… A nagging sense of emptiness and misery… Feeling alone… Not understood… Anxious… And this went on loooong into my adulthood.
Sure, there were many joyful, fulfilling moments in my childhood. But once they passed, I always went back to feeling miserable and anxious. This was the basic flavor of my emotional life.
As I grew up, I tried to fill my inner emptiness with all kinds of activities. I partied a lot. I worked like crazy and wanted to be successful. I dated women hoping they will make me happy.
I was living in the classic “when” trap: “When I become successful, I’ll be happy.” “When I have a wife and children, I’ll be happy”. “When I reach this and that, I’ll be happy”.
But it didn’t work. Because an internal problem cannot be fixed with outer circumstances.
As John Welwood, an American psychologist wrote:
Reading that one sentence hit me like a hammer in the head! I realized I was looking for answers in the wrong places. I would never find real fulfillment in outer circumstances. I have to look INSIDE myself. If I want to have a fulfilling life, it all stems from the way I feel about myself. And boy – I know I was harsh on myself. Critical. Always demanding more. Never satisfied with what I’ve accomplished. No wonder I wasn’t feeling good!
But how on earth do you build a good relationship with yourself? It’s easier said than done.
After long searching, it finally dawned upon me that it is our QUESTIONS that guide us in our life. Along our way, we ask different questions. And if you have a wrong question, you won’t find good answers. For example, for a long time I was asking myself: “Why am I not happy?” But it didn’t really lead me anywhere. Later on, I found much better questions.
Of course, there is no single RIGHT question for everybody and for every situation. Your questions change along the way as you progress. By looking at the central questions in your life, one can tell a lot about your situation and progress.
There are hundreds of great questions. For example:
The list goes on and on.
But every now and then, you come across a question that has a really big impact on you. A question that stays with you. A question that really talks to you. A question that starts to have an impact on your thinking, feeling, and behaving.
For me, there has lately been this one really powerful question. It’s actually a question that makes all other questions seem smaller. A question that has started to transform my life in unexpected ways.
So what is the question? Well, if you really want to live a full, happy life, it all boils down to this one simple question:
And I don’t mean, “Do you love your life in general?” but very specifically: do you love this very moment, this breath, this second?
This question is much, much deeper than what it seems at a first glance. It covers a lot of ground. Actually, it includes many of the other very common questions. Questions like:
- Are you living fully in the present moment?
- Are you aware of your emotions right now?
- Are you living your life the way you’d like to live it?
- Are you involved in meaningful activities?
- Do you like the present moment as it is or would you want it to be different?
Because in order to ask this question, you need to tune in with yourself, focus on the present moment, identify the way you feel right now. This question reveals to you whether you are in harmony with the current moment. It makes you think about your life deeply.
Loving this moment of your life is the root cause of your happiness or misery. Loving this moment means you see the value of this very moment. You understand this is a unique moment of your life that has never been here before and in a blink of an eye, it is gone and it will never come back.
Loving this moment means you embrace all the emotions that come along with it – no matter what your life circumstances are. Loving this moment means you fully accept and love yourself – just as you are in the present moment. Then you can love your circumstances and other people, too.
Learning to love yourself takes time. For me, it has been a journey for decades. But the good thing is that you can speed it up and enjoy progress every day. Do not think “When I learn to love this moment…” Instead, embrace it fully RIGHT NOW. Just as it is. Soon this moment is gone for good.
Life is short. The brutal, inconvenient truth is that your life can end anytime. That’s why it’s important to seize the moment. Live today, while you still can. Live in THIS MOMENT. Do not postpone your dreams. If you have goals, focus on loving every moment while you’re working towards them. Don’t waste your life in circumstances where you don’t want to be. Learn to see some beauty in every breath, whatever the circumstances. This is the foundation for true happiness.
By the way – now that you’ve finished reading this blog, do you love THIS moment?
P.S. So this has been the most powerful question for me lately. But tell me – what is the most powerful question for you right now?
Originally published at www.jarkkorantanen.com