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The Perfect Recipe for Unhappiness.

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I called in sick to work this morning because I was putting in far too many hours and, to be honest, it was stomping all over the fire inside of me.

I’m not an overly-sensitive hipster type that believes in the importance of taking my inner child out on a play date, but sometimes I’m not sure if that’s actually such a bad idea.

As a matter of fact, lately I’ve been cautious any time I catch myself making decisions that are based primarily on appearing cool or manly. While this may net me less dates, it is helping me to return to a more honest version of myself.

It’s often humorous when something sounds so cliché to us that we are afraid to live it, or even put it into words, until we reach a point where we realize it is a cliché in language only. To say that we will finally attract what is right for us only when we learn to be our most authentic selves seems so pat and facile, yet what man can honestly say that he has reached this point in reality?

Even this week, I was trying to ingratiate myself with a woman that I just did not belong with, and it would’ve been like pouring a foundation on a bed of quicksand.

This is what I believe is referred to as living from the outside in. It is the perfect recipe for unhappiness because we wind up trying to manipulate our insides to match what we imagine is happening outside of ourselves. Everything that sounds like “I hope she likes me,” or “I hope I’m able to make rent this month,” or “I think the boss likes Jimmy better than me,” comes from this place.

The only way to create happiness is to do the opposite: to allow what is truly happening inside of ourselves to come out and exist without fear of reprisal. Which is, by the way, the reason I stopped going after the person I knew in my heart was all wrong for me. I even printed out a sign with a 100-point font that says, “Stop Looking!” and hung it where I will see it as soon as I open my eyes every morning.

I am confident that almost everyone has, at least accidentally, experienced the freedom of living from the inside out. If you’ve ever sung along to the car radio as loudly as you could, or did anything creative where time flew by and two o’clock became five o’clock without explanation, you’ve been there.

Children do it instinctively. When I watch my two toddlers playing on weekend mornings, I am reminded that before our culture has a chance to turn us into miserable and unsatisfied consumers with endless appetites for the impossible, we are innocent beings who are here just to play and create.

I tear up as I watch the two of them living from inside to out. When they make me a hamburger out of Play-doh, they are not thinking about how their Play-doh hamburger compares with the Play-doh hamburger that Madison next door made for her father. They just want me to smile and pretend to eat it.

This is the place I need to be originating from. The greatest songs I have ever written in my life came when I accepted my limitations as a musician and just tried to emote exactly what I was feeling using my words and whatever three chords I knew.

I understood inherently that I was never going to be able to create something as well produced and pristine as say, Billy Joel, but it doesn’t matter. If you have ever heard the earliest recordings of Bob Dylan, it becomes apparent that the deepest emotions are evoked from simplicity and authenticity.

In other words, from the inside out.

 

Author: Billy Manas
Image: Pixabay
Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Copy Editor: Sara Kärpänen

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About Billy Manas

Billy Manas is a poet, singer-songwriter, and truck driver from the Hudson Valley in New York, where you can catch his act at wine tastings and breweries. His distinct voice in both song and poetry is likely the result of his degree in literature and his teenage years spent outside of CBGB’s on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Catch up with Billy on his website.

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