My son loves his teddy bear. Every time we put him in bed he needs his teddy bear. The teddy bear gives him a feeling of safety and comfort which makes it easy for him to go to sleep.
So he thinks.
As adults we know that inside of the teddy bear is just stuffing. Nothing else.
It’s impossible for the teddy bear stuffing to give my son feelings of comfort and safety. He just thinks it does.
The truth is that he creates 100% of those feelings himself. It just looks to him like the teddy bear did it, and that’s why he wants the teddy bear with him all the time. And the more he believes this, the more he needs his teddy bear!
If we don’t see that it works like this in reality, we tend to create adult versions of the teddy bear as we grow up. And so we tend to chase things, events and people that we think give us a certain feeling.
A certain job, a certain partner, money and status are obvious. We all look for them. On a more subtle level we also are suckers for attention, looking good, being perceived as special, smart, loyal, intelligent and belonging.
All of these, and many more, are teddy bear substitutes. And of course, chasing these creates all kinds of stress, need for control, lack of time, lack of listening to others (we need to hurry!), lack of connection and so on.
The simple truth is that external things, people and events can never gives us that feeling we are looking for because our feelings don’t come from external things, events or people. They always, and only, come from our thinking in the moment.
Seeing this creates an enormous freedom because you can now stop chasing teddy bears and do something great with all that time you found!