Looking for Success in All the Wrong Places

We have all heard of the song  “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places.” This is great advice that most of us need. I give Waylon Jennings a lot of credit for coming up with a very powerful truth nugget. It’s too bad the lyrics to the full song aren’t as accurate.

I’ve recently been through intense emotional trauma, coming off the heels of a divorce. I don’t state this for pity as I believe it was one of the greatest gifts in my life and am grateful for every moment of the experience. One of the best lessons I learned is that I had been looking for love in all the wrong places. I was confusing the vehicle with the feeling.

What do I mean? Everything that we want in life ultimately comes down to wanting to feel a certain way. We want romantic love so we can feel special, loved, adored and have an object on which to shine our love. We want financial prosperity so we can feel certain, secure, and free. We want physical well-being so we can feel healthy, vibrant, alive, beautiful, attractive, and free to be active. We want a loving family and friends so we can feel deeply connected to others.   Most of us don’t realize WHY we want what we want. We focus on the what. This is what I mean when I say we confuse the vehicle with the need.

Human beings differ from every other species because we have 6 human needs beyond basic needs like food, water and shelter. These 6 needs are as important to the human species as the basic needs and we will die without fulfilling them. They are:

  • Certainty/Security
  • Uncertainty/Variety
  • Significance
  • Love/Connection
  • Growth
  • Contribution

If you think about everything you want to bring into your life – whether it’s as general as financial prosperity, a loving, life partner, health and well-being, or as specific as a 4-BR mountain home in your favorite ski resort … ultimately, the reason you want that is because you will feel better in the having of it. The manifestation is just a vehicle to the feeling. The manifestation is a vehicle for fulfilling one or more of those 6 needs I just listed.

For example, financial prosperity is a vehicle for fulfilling at least one of your human needs of certainty/security. It can also serve as a vehicle for filling your human needs of uncertainty/variety (i.e. freedom), possibly significance and certainly growth.  In another example, having a successful business that you created on your own may likely fulfill your human need for significance. It may also fulfill your need for contribution and uncertainty/variety.

Every person is different in how he or she fulfills these needs. A stay at home mom may get her need for significance fulfilled through her children, while the father of those kids gets his need for significance fulfilled through his successful career. The children and career are each vehicles for fulfilling the needs.

Vehicles for fulfilling your human needs are endless. Finding healthy vehicles for fulfilling your human needs is where your power lies. Vehicles can be external or internal. Getting to the status of Chairman’s Royal Club with Sandals is an external vehicle that likely fulfills the need for significance and possibly others. The ritual of running every morning is an internal vehicle that fulfills my need for Certainty and Growth. Internal vehicles are the healthiest vehicles IF they are good for you.

So getting back to Waylon Jennings’ song title, “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places” what I think he should have meant is that when we confuse the external vehicle of a romantic partner with the human need for love/connection, we cause ourselves undue pain. We think we need to find or keep the partner to feel love and connection. We become dependent upon (and maybe even addicted to) the vehicle to fill the need. I can wholeheartedly admit that I felt completely distraught when I lost the vehicle (my husband) to my human needs of certainty, significance and love/connection.

My healing began when I realized I have the ability to fill my human needs with other vehicles. My life changed when I found healthy, internal vehicles to fill my human needs. It’s when I took my power back.

So my point to you is that you can fulfill your need for love/connection in other ways with other vehicles. Stop looking for love in all the wrong places because it might fill your need temporarily, but it will also cause you undue pain in the end. To take this one step further, you can fulfill your needs for certainty, uncertainty, significance, growth and contribution with other, more healthy vehicles. So yet again, stop looking for certainty, uncertainty, significance, growth and contribution in all the wrong places. Where should you look to fill all these needs? NOT your intimate relationship…NOT your career or business….NOT your children … NOT your position in your local community. The best place to look to fill your human needs is inward. The best/ideal vehicle to fulfill ALL needs is the internal vehicle of self-love.

And when you have found your ability to love yourself, unconditionally, external vehicles to fulfill your needs will flock to you. The loving, romantic partner you’ve always wanted will just show up. The financial prosperity will fall from the sky. The healthy, fit and trim physical body will appear out of nowhere.   The River Cruise groups you’ve wanted to fill and book will walk into your office one day. The internal vehicle of self love is the key to everything. Learn to exercise it, and you will stop looking for love and success and everything else in all the wrong places.

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