Wherever you go, there you are

Wherever you go, there you are

by Lindsay on June 7, 2012

in Attitude, Inspiration, Personal Growth

Photo credit: Peejay_93 on Flickr

A few weeks ago, I had lunch with a friend who was telling me how much she can’t stand Toronto and can’t wait to get out of this city. Hey – sometimes I feel the same way, can’t blame her. She was lamenting over her mediocre relationship, her crappy job & lack of expendable income and decided that moving would be the answer to all of her problems. After a few minutes of complaining, she had an epiphany of sorts: she’s moved around a fair bit in her adult life and realized the same “crappy” thing happens in each city. She then realized the only constant was her. I share this story because I think a lot of us can relate: if we could only change this, that or the other thing, we’d be happier. And while that may be true, it’s not always the case.

Wherever you go, there you are.

I used to think that saying was so stupid and pointless. It’s like saying “It is what it is.” Well, duh. It’s only been in the past several months that I’ve really understood what that means. I think I wasn’t fully ready to embrace the concept – that no matter where I am, who I’m with or where I’m working I am responsible for my happiness.  No person, place or thing can – or should – responsible for my happiness. Happiness is an inside job.

So, what does “Wherever you go, there you are” mean? It means that it doesn’t matter if you change jobs, cities, relationships or the style of underwear you wear. If haven’t made peace with yourself, if you haven’t found happiness within yourself, then it doesn’t matter if you land the “perfect job” in your ideal city after marrying your dream-come-true soul mate. You’ll still be you – and if you’re not happy inside, then you will find fault with your outer life.

Sometimes we are so wrapped up in the things we’re doing and that which we want that we forget to enjoy the process. We think we will relax when we “get there”, when we “arrive”. Then and only then will we finally be happy – we’ll do fun things and think happy thoughts and live a happy life. Now isn’t a good time for it b/c we don’t have this, that or the other thing.

Let’s give a different perspective a try: Tell yourself you’ve already arrived. You’re exactly where you should be. Everything that’s in your life is exactly what you need at this juncture in your journey.  Wherever you go, there you are. So take a deep breath…and then let yourself feel some peace.

Just for today, be happy in the place you are now.

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Michael June 7, 2012 at 7:56 am

Good one.

Funny how these sayings seem trivial until the light bulb goes on. Cliche’s got that way for a reason.

I know an older man who spent his whole life in the military. He told me that no matter where he was stationed, he was picked on and treated badly.

Duh, indeed.

OTOH, sometimes a change in environment is extremely helpful. Not necessarily moving, but adjusting what’s already there to suit the different vision.

Lindsay June 7, 2012 at 1:08 pm

You’re right about a change in environment sometimes being helpful. No change = no growth, right? I think it’s important to be making those changes while being happy on the inside. No easy feat, I’d say. This being a human gig is pretty challenging.

Julie | A Clear Sign June 7, 2012 at 9:45 am

My husband has a t-shirt that says,”It is what it is.” I can’t tell you how many times I was babbling on, railing about something, lost in my lawyerly-like arguments, when he’d use that phrase on me and it stopped me dead in my tracks. We don’t need to run in circles, justify ourselves, or complain about others. We just need to be with who we are right now, and learn to enjoy it. That takes major self-transformation. It also takes a lot of hard work and asking for the next lesson.

BTW Clint Black is now stuck in my head! Good thing I like it 🙂

Once you’ve been bitten it’s like crossing a line

It’s a part of the plan all that’s on your mind

Think that it’ll help you find somebody to be

But the man in the mirror is all you’ll see

Wherever you go there you are

You can run from yourself but you won’t get far

You can dive to the bottom of your medicine jar

But wherever you go there you are

Lindsay June 7, 2012 at 1:10 pm

I’m going to go ahead and take a guess that it’s the Libra in your chart that makes you very lawyerly-like when arguing. I have another one of those in my life. Love her to death, but I can totally relate to your husband. haha

I’ve never heard that Clint Black song – until now. Love it. But especially love the lyrics. Thank you!

Heather June 7, 2012 at 10:52 am

I’ve already arrived. I’m exactly where I should be. Everything that’s in my life is exactly what I need at this juncture in my journey!

When I say that out loud it feels true. I like it. This could be a new affirmation, thanks.

One of the sayings I used to say a lot while growing up was, “Life is what you make it.”

Lindsay June 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm

I’d never even thought of using those sentences as an affirmation ’til you posted it that way. Thank you, Heather! And it is indeed true – life IS what you make it. Sometimes I don’t wanna believe that, particularly when I’m in a funk!

Karly June 7, 2012 at 11:24 am

What an awesome post today, Lindsay. Over the past year of being single, I’ve learned that I am responsible for my own happiness. It was a very tough lesson to learn, because I always depended on the other person to make me happy. My soul was not used to being alone (I was in a relationship for about 1/3 of my 23 years), and it hurt- not only emotionally, because I could physically feel it as well. But I truly believe that I ended up single for a reason- my soul and spirit needed to grow, and going through the break-up process with my soul mate was the only way! I feel like every day I learn something new about myself. I’ve come to the conclusion that the people I have a relationship with can compliment me, but no one actually *completes* me except, well, me. I trust in the universe that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be in every aspect of my life right now.

Thank you for writing to us weekly and sharing your thoughts and stories. Somehow, you’re always able to quell my worries that I’m not going crazy!

Lindsay June 7, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Karly, I can so relate to that. When I was in my 20’s…I broke up with a long-term partner. And after that, I went from girlfriend to girlfriend to girlfriend to girlfriend. I just COULD NOT be alone. It wasn’t until I got a little older & dare I say, more mature, that I another person wasn’t responsible for making my happy. That was MY job, and then love would follow. Makes sense, right? It’s just hard to get used to when we’re so used to being in relationship-mode.

I like what you said: “I’ve come to the conclusion that the people I have a relationship with can compliment me, but no one actually *completes* me except, well, me. I trust in the universe that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be in every aspect of my life right now.” So damn true.

And thank you for always being so supportive and reading! I’m so glad what I write is what you need to hear/read. 🙂

Anne McCarroll June 7, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Great post – and I have to say, someone told me ‘it is what it is’ about turning 40….and in this particular case it seemed hollow. Very ‘duh’!! That’s another story for another time…

I agree that the phrase you picked today did not ring true to me either until happiness actually meant something to me. How true that we make our own happiness – and what a great feeling when we quit churning our gears going in circles! You made me aware of one Circle I’m going in now!! Yay for your wake up call to me!

Thanks for the weekly email. I look forward to the posts every Thurs.!

Great food for thought, Lindsay!

Lindsay June 8, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Hi Anne

I still hate the saying “it is what it is”. And I sure would hate it if someone said that while I was hitting a milestone birthday! LOL

I’m so glad you look forward to the posts! Can I tell you that just makes me beam? Thank you so much!

Lois Hughes June 7, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Lindsay – I love these words and they are just what I needed to hear this week:

“Everything that’s in your life is exactly what you need at this juncture in your journey…So take a deep breath…and then let yourself feel some peace.”

I focus so much on pushing myself towards the future. I often feel that what I’m doing or being just isn’t enough right now…but will be if I can only accomplish a, b and c. In doing this, I create angst for myself that is so unnecessary. Thanks for the reminder that all I am right now is just right. I took a sigh of relief after reading “then let yourself feel some peace.”


Lindsay June 8, 2012 at 11:45 am

Hi Lois,

Ahhh I love it when I write something on the blog and it’s perfect timing for someone!

I can totally relate to “pushing yourself towards the future”. I think that’s human nature. Or, at least it’s BECOME human nature because of our “go go go” society. I need to let myself feel some peace today in particular. Thanks for your comment!

Leah June 8, 2012 at 12:26 am

Well written Lindsay. I loved reading that. Even though I already know that about being happy, it was a good reminder.

Lindsay June 8, 2012 at 9:46 am

Leah I miss you! How have you been?

Aunt Susan June 15, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Gulp! Wow, did you hit a cord in my life. All that you say is so true. And….. I still say, only if ……. and I know that is not what to do. Keep up the great posts.

Lindsay June 17, 2012 at 6:29 am

Thanks, Aunt Sue! I’m so glad this article did something for you. It hit me where it counts, too. Most of the time, I swear I’m writing for myself – what I need to hear at the moment!

DB Cooper February 11, 2015 at 2:13 pm

I’m sorry but I absolutely disagree with you. Many share your sentiments, but I regret it’s to mask the nasty reality, a tragic reality, that there are two kinds of people in this world: those who are lucky (i.e. loving family, nurturing upbringing, happy childhood, great life and career), and well, those who are unlucky (dysfunctional family, abuse from parents, mental illness like depression, despair, pain, agony).

Those are unlucky are *NOT* responsible for their suffering or happiness. It’s the most absurd and irresponsible form of “blaming the victim.” If you grew up in a house where your mom, or the mom’s abusive boyfriend, burned you with cigarette lighters when you were a child, I hardly think any reasonable person would concur that that child who is now a miserable 30yr old or depressed 40yr old is responsible for his or her happiness. Come on. Let’s get serious, and discard such juvenile ideas of “personal responsibility” when we do NOT CHOOSE where we are born, who our parents are, whether someone viciously beats us up when we’re 5 or 7, etc etc.

What you quote is a Buddhist saying, and F**k I hate Buddhism. It’s the most repugnant philosophy out there: justifying gross suffering and abuse.

Lindsay February 11, 2015 at 2:31 pm

You’re right – people who are abused are NOT responsible for their suffering. But that miserable 40-year-old certainly HAS the power to change his or her outlook on life. I know this, because I did.

Some of life depends on what you’re born into, of course. But regardless of the “luck” you have when you’re born, you have the power to change your attitude. People who use the past as an excuse to stay mired in misery aren’t doing themselves any favours. We can’t use our past as chains that keep us bogged down in misery.

We can just agree to disagree on this topic, and that’s okay. It takes all types of folks and beliefs to make the world the place it is!

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