“Very often a change of self is needed more than a change of scene.” – AC Benson
When I first read this quote it resonated with me because I recalled several different periods of my life where I thought that a change of scenery was the only thing holding me back from attaining happiness. My freshman year of college I found myself unhappy and struggling to make friends. Thus I constructed a narrative in my head that if I transferred schools I would be happy, not realizing that what was holding me back was not where I was, but rather my internal issues, namely my fear of vulnerability, and general shyness. If I had transferred schools, even to someplace where I already knew people, I would have been plagued with the same problems and missed the opportunity to grow.
Another example from recent years was my belief that I would be happy if I moved to a foreign country, specifically one with more time for outdoor activities, beautiful scenery, and like minded people. What I was really unhappy about was the lack of any goals or meaning in my life, as I found myself constantly wasting my time indoors on social media or watching tv. There was nothing wrong with where I was, all of those things I wanted to do were right there in front of me. If I had moved to Europe or Australia I would have found myself every bit as lonely and depressed, perhaps even more.
The point is that often in life we believe some sort of external change is needed because something about our environment is holding us back. In reality, what is holding us back are our own issues and our inability to recognize that the only barrier we have to success and happiness is our own mind and perspective. Think about the life you want to live, and the person you want to be, and ask yourself why you can’t have exactly that wherever you are right now.