Since being back from Burning Man I’ve had that familiar feeling of longing and angst. I wish I was still there. I wish that what I had here is what I had there. So I started to reflect. What is it that makes Burning Man so special? There’s the social component – the feeling of being surrounded by spiritually minded beings that care more about inner growth and evolution than about what the Kardashians had for lunch. There’s the workshops, the activities, the openness of most people you come across, and most importantly, the feeling that every day is a blank canvas that is yours to create. Beautiful. Well, what’s keeping that from being the case for me here? Or put in a more pro-active way, how can I recreate the reality experienced at Burning Man outside of Burning Man?
After some reflection, I came across this simple but elusive realization: no one is responsible for my happiness but me. No one is responsible for my happiness but me. I am both the actor and the playwright and life is the stage. Shakespeare knew this all too well. And although I think that I have a strong internal locus of control, I do have a tendency of falling into the trap of assigning control over my life to external events. Work is stressful and doesn’t give me the sense of meaning that I want. The people I date don’t seem to give me what I am looking for. I have all these ideas and passions, but the demands of life take too much of my energy to put them into play. Life makes me dissatisfied and restless. Really??? How can that be the case if no one is responsible for my happiness but me?
Any need of mine that is not being met resides within me. And when looking externally for someone else to fill that need, I am projecting onto the other person a way that I want them to be. But what I want is my karma, not theirs. My happiness is not their responsibility, just like their happiness is not my responsibility. So while it’s important to verbalize what I want or need, it’s also just as important to absolve the other person from any expectations that I have. They are just another person, going through their day-to-day and dealing with their own reality. So instead of wanting someone else to be something they’re not, it’s important to let live. Let live and open to those who, by just being themselves, have a reality that coincides with mine. No one is responsible for my happiness but me.
As far as day-to-day activities go, I think that a big part of any dissatisfaction I feel stems from always seeking. When I get this raise and have more money I’ll be happier. When I have more free time everything will be better. Once I don’t have to interact with this person on a daily basis, my stress level will decrease significantly. The thing though is, I am the only constant in my every day. Thinking back to every “milestone” that was going to make things “better” I’m not really sure if it did. Things became different, but new “obstacles” always popped up. And reflecting back, things were never really that bad in the first place. No one is responsible for my happiness but me. So until I change how I interact with and view the world, how can I expect that any new situation will be that much different? Happiness does stem from within. What is my happy? What is your happy? Repeat: no one is responsible for my happiness but me.