Recently I was sharing a reflection with a friend on the change I went through at the end of 2009. The beginning of a personal transformation. Realising the life I had on the outside was great, but my own inner experience was fragmented and hard to navigate. It led me to study psychology and do a fair amount (read: a lot) of naval gazing, in a concerted attempt to align my inner world with my outer one.
Here's what I mean by that:
The idea is that everyone has a rich internal life. It may present in all sorts of ways. Through feelings and emotions, memory, current life moments, body-type sensations. It is a descriptor of what others may glimpse or come to know well, and something that is really only known to you. We also have an external life, of course. This is the life we inhabit daily. It is our physical body in space; going to work, parenting, being a friend or neighbour etc. It's the side of ourselves we put forward for public consumption. And like all things, we are perceived by our community then judged with the verdict usually being handed down through acceptance/rejection/ambivalence.
So what happens when their is a mis-match between your internal world and your external one.
One very disjointed, confused, emotional person. That's (very likely) what. Speaking from experience. Ahem.
The secrets to a happy and contented life are many. This is one of them. Your internal experience must match your external one. If you have a rich internal life, where you are at peace with yourself, and your decisions, your external life will likely reflect this. And if it doesn't, which lets be real here, it might not as life can throw curve balls when you least expect them, then at least you can fall back on your internal compass and self compassion.
If you have a rich external life, but your internal experience doesn't match up or isn't well aligned, well that just feels (mostly) unstable. It's confusing at best, terribly sad/isolating/lonely/stricken at worst.
How well do your internal and external worlds align?