When you grew up and even as an adult, how many times have you been told “your shirt is inside out”?
Well, I’m here to tell you that that’s exactly how you want to live your life… from the Inside Out!
And I’m going to show you how.
As the Buddha said: “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
The Problem with Outside In
Living from the outside in, you’re prone to feeling like you’re not enough and you’re not worthy to deserve anything. You lack a sense of security and control because you’re not the master of your own destiny. Life is happening to you rather than with you and for you!
You lack a sense of purpose, not knowing what step to take next, not believing in yourself, but rather seeking validation, approval and guidance from others and your outside world. You’re at the mercy of your situations and circumstances. Like a cork floating on the ocean waves, getting constantly bounced around!
So you look to others to save or define you, to tell you what to do, say and act, but you also resent it and feel like they’re your rival and competition. You end up relating to the world and others through an orientation of fear, doubt, jealousy, and confusion. You lose touch with your own innate wisdom and emotions to guide you.
If you take a minute to think about it, living from the outside in entails getting all your joy and happiness from outside yourself. As I’ve mentioned before in other posts, it’s like being a feather in the wind... being blown about according to the whims of the wind.
Living Inside Out
Of course, being in the world, you’re going to get knocked about by outside circumstances... misplacing your phone, losing your wallet or car keys, running late to pick up the kids, realizing you have less than enough money to pay the bills, and so on.
At some point in life, you’ll experience these kinds of things — they’re part of the human experience. I’m not saying these things won’t affect you, but I’m here to tell you that you have the power to allow them to affect you less... A whole lot less!
By harnessing an inside out mindset in the face of challenging situations, doors open for you to find peace, joy, ease, grace, power, freedom, and full self-expression, because now you’re the creator of your Universe. You’re no longer living at the mercy of other people and situations.
Now that you recognize the power and benefits of living an inside-out life... How do you do it?!
Recognizing a Dependency on Outside Forces
How triggered are you by situations and people all day long, and the conversations in your head about them? You’ve had days ruined by relatively insubstantial factors. Perhaps someone cut you off in traffic, or made a comment that touched off a very sensitive feeling for you. And you carry this upset within your body, and the endless negative conversation with yourself about it in your head, for days on end!
We’re all familiar with being triggered!
You allow outside circumstances to take over your psyche and body. You become the anger, the embarrassment, and the hurt feelings rather than holding your ground of equanimity and
letting go of the incident, like water off a duck’s back...
But letting go of the incident doesn’t mean making believe it doesn’t bother you.
Do Not suppress your feelings! I’m advocating welcoming them all in. Sit with them. Get to know them. Understand why they arise and where they come from and you’ll see how quickly they lose their charge and power over you, in the situation you’re in and in future situations. It then becomes easier and easier to let them go!
Flip the Switch
The good news is that you can “flip the switch” to live from the inside-out by making conscious change…
Stop being a servant to your mind. Start to realize nothing will be missed by not attending to the endless chatter that goes on incessantly all day long in your head! Give up your attachment to it. See it for what it is...mindless chatter, so you can slow down, be present for your life, and make conscious choices of what you’d like to experience!
Start holding your thoughts and feelings more loosely. Understand the thoughts and feelings you have are totally your choice. You are not your thoughts...You are the thinker of your thoughts! You can choose the ones you want to have.
The only meanings things have are the meanings you give them. Nothing comes to you with a meaning already assigned to it. Everything just is! There really isn’t any need to keep assigning meanings to everything. I know that’s a tough one to accept because we’re just natural meaning- making machines, so it’s hard to give it up! But when you do, it will change your life!
To make positive changes in your daily life and help you live from the inside out, you need to make a deliberate effort, and practice staying conscious in the present moment. Don’t get swept away by unconscious knee jerk reactions.
Slow down a bit to see things more clearly and get some leverage on your own thinking, feelings, and actions. Take time to pause before responding, instead of reacting! You’ll feel more relaxed, calm, and engaged in taking the next step.
I remember one of my spiritual teachers saying to me,”It’s Just a Feeling...It Can’t Kill You!”
Things like meditation, conscious breathing, gratitude, mindfulness, time with nature, and
exercise are incredibly effective in helping you stay present. (Please add links to our other posts on meditation and gratitude. The meditation one is “You don’t have to be a Buddhist Monk…” The gratitude one is one of the newest ones “Accepting What Is…”)
Another golden nugget...being non-judgmental will go a long way to help you live an inside out life! When you stop constantly judging the outside world, other people, your life, and yourself, you’ve taken the first step. Letting people and things be just the way they are, and still welcoming them in, will drastically change your happiness, peace of mind, and ease from which you experience the world!
A beautiful quote from the Zen Shin says: “A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it, it just blooms.”
By not judging yourself, you encourage compassion, kindness, and respect towards yourself, and then are much more apt to extend that love toward others.
When you begin to lessen judgment, both outwards and inwards, you have more space for the present moment, for being present in your place in life.
A Conscious Life
When you begin living from the inside out, you’ll notice that outside events or circumstances don’t carry so much weight. You’re not at the behest of their whims.
You are now the Conscious Creator of the life you really want!
Meditation helps settle you into your own skin, thereby assisting you in finding a place within that is grounded and aware. By practicing meditation for about 10 minutes a day, within a couple months time, you’ll see a noticeable difference.
By connecting to your awakened awareness and expanded consciousness, you can now access choice and create a life of your own choosing.
Practicing Gratitude will keep you in the present moment. Giving thanks and love to those simple things around you will bring about experiences of joy.
Hanging out with nature and becoming more in tune with your senses anchors you to something bigger than yourself.
That wonderful feeling of living from a sense of your own chosen purpose is what I mean when I say living from the inside out. It’s owning your own conviction and clarity, your own confidence and self worth. These feelings become you and you radiate them outward, which attracts the life you desire.
If you’d like to read more about how to practice choosing and how to choose wisely, have a look at this post: Are You Looking in All the Wrong Places for the Life You Really Want?
To learn more, download my Free Ebook “3 Steps to Feel Great Right Now Regardless of Your Circumstances.” Get started mastering your mind and transforming your thinking.