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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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. His new book “Rockstar Recovery” will be available everywhere Fall 2019. Catch up with Billy on his website.

Leontien Reedijk Feb 5, 2018 2:58am

"Happiness is an inside job." ~ William Arthur Ward

Billy Manas Jan 31, 2018 1:27am

Thank you Subhash!

Subhash Chandra Sawhney Jan 30, 2018 10:02am

We have only two options, how to be not unhappy and how to be happy. Manas has preferred the first option. Thought provoking!

Billy Manas Jan 29, 2018 4:47pm

Thank you Paul

Paul McLoughlin Jan 29, 2018 7:07am

Authenticity..........I needed this today thankyou Billy Manas 🙏

Billy Manas Jan 29, 2018 1:48am

Thank you so much Prema

Prema Lynn Felder Jan 29, 2018 1:20am

Really sweet and clear writing about being true to you. Do it now. It's the only authentic way to live.

Lauretta Zucchetti Jan 29, 2018 12:16am

Billy Manas Welcome! In case you are interested, I wrote an article for elephant journal too. feel free to read it!

Billy Manas Jan 28, 2018 5:42pm

Awww thank you Lauretta

Billy Manas Jan 28, 2018 5:40pm

Thank you Danielle

Billy Manas Jan 28, 2018 5:40pm

Thank you Terry

Danielle Trauth-Jurman Jan 28, 2018 4:56pm

Beautiful ❤️

Lauretta Zucchetti Jan 28, 2018 3:31pm

Excellent article. I have at last found the Inside/Out paradigm myself at the ripe age of 60. I now stay home on weekends for the sake of it and love it, (whereas before I felt compelled to do something, anything because for god's sake it is Sunday and you are a loser if you don't.) I no longer feel the need to appear glamorous or funny or anything that my surroundings inspired me before to do in order to be liked. I now live in the moment and realize that, by accepting who I am and who I was when I was born (many years of contrived transformations in between), my deepest creativity emerges without effort. Ah! What a joy to be alone and to do whatever I (not the world around me), I want to do and to be. If there is a God (I believe there is), he/she played quite a trick by sending us our in search of ourselves when our own self is right here where we are at any given moment, always. So thank you for the great reminder and the poetry with which your article is infused. I love it!

Terry Patrick Jan 28, 2018 3:26pm

Ah yes, such an authentic piece; thank you for sharing your thoughts here.