Goals-Our Masks to Finding Happiness

 

 

 A lot of money

Everyone is longing for something in life. We all have goals; some short term, some long term. Goals to be somewhere other than where we are today, to be someone other than who we are, to have more money so we have a bigger house or an even nicer car, to have a life partner because we want to be loved, etc…

When we have a goal, we wake up in the morning and are excited to start our day. We think about our goal and work hard toward achieving it because we think if we get there, we will feel alive and happy.

And then after all the struggle, and overcoming obstacles, we will finally reach our goal if we are good achievers. And that feels wonderful; we feel proud, confident, happy and hopeful that we can almost do anything we want in life.

We feel a sense of accomplishment. We feel ecstatic. Our boss praises us for our achievements, our partner is proud of us and our children look up to us and want to follow in our footsteps.

 

Why Does It Feel Good to Achieve Goals?


What are we feeling at this moment that feels so great? If we look deep within for the answer, we will realize that the driving force behind these achievements is an emptiness; a lack of something meaningful and crucial that we have experienced before but have lost.

Of course, this may be difficult to see initially, especially since we have a feeling of pleasure that comes from achieving success. But if we look deeper, we will see that it is actually something a lot more profound than that.

 

Our Ultimate Desire


Our ultimate desire has been to feel that at least for the time being, we put an end to our struggles; we gain a sense of not needing to do anything else but to just be; we gain a feeling of being whole and complete.  What we crave is peace.

We have our boss’s approval, we have our partner’s love and our children’s attention and admiration; we have accomplished what we wanted; we are done. Peace is really what we have been trying to achieve all along;

 

The Catch


After we reach this state of “peacefulness” and a few days pass, we realize that our boss seems to have forgotten about our achievement, our partner criticizes us for doing something, and our kids seem to have a mind of their own and don’t follow our orders any longer.

Suddenly we feel that sense of “peace” in us fading. Now we need to do it again, except this time we need to work harder at it, do it better, bigger and more noticeable.

 

What Are We Saying to Ourselves When We Set These Goals?


What we are saying to ourselves is that we have a need and don’t have what we need but one day we will have that and then all will be good.

We are telling ourselves that we “need” to be with a life partner to be happy, we “need” to drive a nice car to feel good about ourselves, we “need” our kids to admire us; otherwise, we are not good parents.

Unconsciously, what we are saying with all that, is that we want our partner, our boss or our kids to fill our emptiness. To heal our injured, fearful and inadequate selves.

 

When We set Goals, We Have Hopes and Vice Versa


Setting goals makes us hope for a better something. When we hope, we are saying to ourselves, that even though at the moment we feel inadequate, we will one day be complete.

So we keep seeking a better future by setting new goals because we are not where we want to be yet. And when we think we are not where we want to be, we will be restless. That’s why we depend on hope. That’s why we have a “need’ for it in our lives. That’s why some of us die without it.

We become attached to this “hope” and constantly set goals and make plans because it gives us a sense of liveliness and activeness; and peace of mind.

But What If We Never Reach Our Goals? What If We Reach Them But We Feel We Want More?


The problem is that the peace of mind or the sense of positive energy that we achieve from reaching our goals is not derived from our soul or real being. It may calm the mind; but only temporarily.

It is not real; it doesn’t serve the soul in any way. It is a mask that helps us survive for as long as we can hold on to it. It helps us survive by hiding our flaws. it helps us hide our weaknesses, loneliness, and insecurities.

What Happens When the Hope Goes Away?


Hope is only a mask to hide our needs and emptiness. So when it’s gone, the mask will disappear, and we come face to face with our fears and insecurities. Therefore, since we have no control over everything that happens to us in life, the positive energy that we get from hoping is very temporary. The liveliness and the peace unexpectedly turn into anxiety, depression, and feeling of inadequacy. Suddenly, we become restless and paralyzed.

To avoid feeling depressed, we constantly search for ways of feeling good about ourselves. We find it absolutely necessary to go from one goal to the next because it gives us hope; our happiness and peace depend on it.

If we don’t, depression kicks in and we abandon ourselves. We stop having fun and enjoying our lives. We are attached to our goals because they give us hope to live. Without them, we feel lonely, bored, scared and unworthy.

So many have committed suicide due to this exact dilemma. When they lost hope, they faced their emptiness which is part of the process of reaching inner peace. Where they went wrong though, was when they abandoned themselves at the first experience of emptiness.

At that point, they relied on alcohol and drugs or they ended their lives when they felt vulnerable. If they had more patience and knowledge that peace is just around the corner, they could have practiced being without their masks; they could have reached acceptance. Through tolerating the pain, they could have found ultimate peace.

Basically, they lost hope, depression kicked in and they felt paralyzed. Couldn’t see a way out! Because in their knowledge, peace only resulted from feeling no pain;

The Solution-End the Struggle


Now, what if we knew that everything we want and need, we already have right now, here in this moment?

What if everything that we want to feel as a result of these achievements already exists in us?

The confidence and security, the courage, the love, the compassion and the peace which are parts of our soul, parts of our existence, are already within us.

These qualities are our real wealth; our being and our truth. They don’t depend on the outside forces. They are independent of what goes on in the external world. Once we have access to them, they grow big within us.

What if we could find a way to be in touch with this wealth within us and discover our truth?

What if we ended our struggles and our suffering by discovering this path to our inner peace?

Is it possible to achieve what billions of people are struggling to have in their lives with just accepting the fact that what we want already exists in us? By surrendering to the fact that we are already complete, whole and adequate? That we don’t need to do anything to measure up? That we don’t need anything or anyone outside us to give us that harmony and contentment?

What if we eliminate the feeling of pleasure to feel at peace with reality?

I’m not saying at all that we need to give up on our hobbies, jobs, homes, boats, and partners. If we enjoy being with these things, that’s all great. But our peace must not depend on external factors that we have no control over or things that we must own to be happy.

All of these goals are the result of an emptiness deep within us that we try to patch up with falsehood.

We hold on so tightly to these goals and dreams as masks to help us hide from our deficiencies. Without these masks, we feel anxious, lost, hopeless and empty.

 

rain dripping from leaf

When We Accept Hopelessness, We Reach the Ultimate Peace


The solution to this feeling of despair is actually simple: When we accept reality not as part of our journey to finding our inner peace but as accepting it for what it is regardless of its effect on us, we reach our ultimate peace.

“What does that mean exactly,” You may ask…It means that we are aware and know that reality is not always fun and in fact sometimes very painful and difficult to tolerate but we are at peace with it. And more importantly, we don’t accept it so we can benefit from it. We accept it because we understand it.

It means that we stop trying to be somewhere other than where we are, we stop expecting ourselves to be a certain way to measure up in society and we allow our feelings to be there. When we are at peace with our feelings; we are at peace with reality.

Our real peace, inner confidence, and inner strength are part of our essence which is our true nature; our true being and real wealth which is only within us. This “wealth” is not money, fame, or pride; it’s not even our family.

Having said that, having access to this inner wealth, will help us bond deeper with others and create richer and more meaningful relationships, become productive and enjoy the simple things in life. However, we will be completely unattached to the results and at peace with reality.

When we choose to stay depressed it means that we are unaware of this valuable asset and the divine being within us.

 

If you have anything to share, I’d love to hear your comments below.

Sierra

To find more reflections, please read my other blogs and to receive my future posts, please Like My Page

Don’t forget to check out my book, Cherish Your Inner Porcupine which is an introduction to a general range of topics.

 

 

10 comments

  1. Sierra,
    Great article! I found your explanation very interesting and extremely helpful for people struggling with finding that “thing” that fulfills us. I found the goals leading to hopes (and then needing to alter our paradigm to “hopelessness” ) very fascinating. I sure that technique will suit many people out there perfectly and will truly lead to a happier life.

    I’m curious as to what your thoughts on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs are and how this fits into what you’re speaking on! When I took my psychology class in college we talked about how later in life Abraham Maslow determined that man’s highest level of fulfillment was self-transcendence ( giving yourself to a purpose higher than yourself – ex. altruism ).

    Sorry for this being so long! Any thoughts?

    1. Hi Thomas, thanks for your feedback. In my article, I am mostly referring to people who have a scarcity attitude about life, who are greedy and who chase short-lived pleasure. I disagree with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I believe that self-actualization should be the second on the list (after physiological needs) and everything else should be less important than those two. As I said in my book, Cherish Your Inner Porcupine, the reason for this is that when we are at a good place spiritually, we have the power and strength to fulfill our needs (i.e. health, love/sense of connection and self-esteem).

  2. The human mind amazes me with it’s techniques and adaptions. We have tools within us that help us to get through each day, through the days we don’t want to wake up – let alone striving to show any signs of life. Denial. A very useful tool for any Post Modern American who lives in the 21st Century. Denial is an easy way to warp your perception. To ease the pain. To gain acceptance for the unhappy fate bestowed to you.

    I guess, what I am trying to say is the fine line between acceptance and a mindfuck lies within the persons ability to morph their reality to get on with their life.

    1. Sophia, I appreciate the feedback. To accept reality, you would need to be willing to grow and your soul needs to be ready for that as well. This is how you learn to accept things that are difficult to deal with. If you’re patient enough (to go through the pain) which comes with inquisitiveness and maturity, then you gain the ability to accept.

  3. Hi Sierra,

    Excellent read and I can see how our thinking can actually hold us back in life. Did you know it takes LOTS more energy to invest in negative thinking than it does to be peaceful and happy? It makes sense to me as I was miserable as hell for years and years of my life.

    The simple trick is to choose another thought that does not make you feel like you want to chuck yourself off of a bridge every day. Thinking like this only saps your energy and actually all things seem hopeless even when actually life is pretty good for most people.

    So, we see we have a ‘choice’. That may seem not real to some who feel trapped and suffocated by their own minds. I know the feeling, again, I have been there for years and years on end so these words are not something to fill digital white space. Here is what I did:- in my teenage years I noticed that a negative ‘thought’ would conjure itself up inside my mind. I also noticed that ‘thought’ would manifest a negative feeling in my body.

    Well, my mind, why not – my ‘thoughts’ – here is where YOUR CHOICE comes into play! Every time something crops up inside your mind that you don’t like simply think about the opposite of it. Practice that and that is all. The mind will continuously manifest what you give attention to – so, give your attention to something that is good and worthwhile to a healthier mind set.

    ~Philip.

    1. Hi Philip,
      Great thoughts! You are absolutely correct. It does take more energy to invest in negative thinking than to be peaceful. When you are peaceful, your mind is not doing anything; it’s completely silent. As soon as the mind starts to be active or reactive, it creates stories and judgments all based on beliefs and past experiences. Distractions can help to shift your energy but I find them ineffective long-term; same with meditations; if you meditate on a regular basis, it can quiet down the mind but that also can be temporary when you are under stress again. However, as I have mentioned in my book, Cherish Your Inner porcupine, to permanently remove negative thoughts, we need to allow those thoughts to take us to the childhood experience behind them; the experiences that formed our beliefs. However, that takes a lot of courage, maturity, willingness as well as trust in your ability to heal.

  4. Great post Sierra. I am a big fan when it comes to achieving goals. Setting goals keeps you motivated and the cool thing is how wonderful you feel once you achieve them.

    One of the rules that I have when it comes to setting goals is not to keep your hopes up so you won’t get disappointed. But not a lot of people do that so their happiness depends on achieving their goals which is wrong.

    BTW, I enjoyed reading your “at peace with truth” post as well.

    Thanks for the post.

    Kuu

    1. Hi Kuu,

      Thanks for your feedback. yes, that is the whole purpose of this article. When your peace and happiness depends on things that are outside you, that peace doesn’t last long and is not real.

      Thanks again,

      Sierra

  5. Interesting read. I firmly believe that our mind is very powerful. The kind of thoughts that we let out determine our outcome. If we have have depressing thoughts, we feel depressed. If good thoughts that elevate our energy levels, we feel good. All we need to do is change our thoughts and we can change how we feel.

    1. Rudolph, thanks for your comments. I believe that if you allow your thoughts to just be where they are (as in a deep meditative state), and not try to direct them, encourage them or stop them, you will eventually become more positive. Because your mind is not active, you are more in touch with your soul.

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