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Many years ago, my measure of happiness was determined by ‘outside’ things. You know, like how much I earned. The work I was doing. The size of my butt. The latest designer handbag and the cute boyfriend. I truly believed that I needed those things in order to feel good about myself and my life.

But after some much needed inner work and self exploration, I realized that this way of thinking was keeping me stuck and unhappy. As I dug deeper and peeled back the layers, the truth became clear: happiness comes from within, not from external things. I realized that as you choose your words, you choose your life. Happiness is not found in a pair of Jimmy Choo’s, a hot boyfriend, a paycheck or a toned butt. In fact, we don’t need anything outside ourselves; we are whole and perfect just as we are.

Of course, when you’ve spent a whole lifetime focusing on those external things, it can be quite confronting to let them go. But when you realize you’re whole exactly as you are — that you possess the entire universe within yourself — you actually get to a place where you no longer have external ‘needs’; instead they’re simply desires or preferences.

Let me give you an example — I would prefer if the sun was out tomorrow, because then I can go for a walk in the park. But if I wake up and it’s raining, I’m not going to be affected or attached. It doesn’t rattle me, let alone ruin my day. It just is what it is.

Likewise, if I’m going after one of my business goals, I’d prefer if all the pieces fell into place and everything worked out. But if that doesn’t happen, it doesn’t send me spiraling down a pathway of self-destruction and self-doubt. It simply is what it is…

This shift in thinking can have an incredible impact on your life, yet loads of people still find themselves shackled to a list of ‘needs’. They’re trapped by Mean Girl chatter like:

  • I need this meeting to go well.
  • I need my husband/partner to help around the house.
  • I need to lose 5kgs to fit into those skinny jeans.
  • I need my kids to behave.
  • I need my friends to be there for me.
  • I need more money so I feel safe and secure.
  • I need to eat well because I over-ate on the weekend.
  • I need to exercise because I shouldn’t have eaten that chocolate cake.
  • I need it to be sunny on the weekend because I have planned a day at the beach.

It’s not that it’s ‘bad’ to want to lose weight (or to have more money, or to spend a day in picture-perfect sunshine); the problem arises when we get attached to these needs that if they don’t get met, we get completely thrown and the shit hits the fan.

Your words are potent. Be careful of the dialogue you use.

But you know what? A simple switch-up in the language you use can change everything…

Instead of using the word ‘need’, I invite you to choose the word ‘love’ or ‘desire’ instead. With this one tiny swap, you can re-frame your ‘needs’ so that they become statements of empowerment and self-love. Think:

  • I would love this meeting to go well because I am so passionate about this job.
  • I would love my husband/partner to help around the house, so that I can take 5 minutes for myself to have a cuppa.
  • I would love to nourish my body because I love the way it makes me feel.
  • I am going to be there for my friends, just because I want to.
  • I prefer to eat well, because I like to cherish my temple.
  • I love to move my body because I enjoy the energy it gives me.
  • I would love it to be sunny on the weekend so I can get out into nature and spend time at the beach.

When you’re conscious about the words you use, you change your entire perspective and experience of life. You find yourself releasing attachments and expectations, opening yourself up to new possibilities, and allowing yourself to be present with what is.

And let me tell you, re-framing my thoughts in this way has made such a difference in my life. These days, I’m always on the look-out for little opportunities to tweak my thinking and practice releasing, opening and allowing. Like each morning at the start of my yoga routine: I begin my sessions by sitting on my mat and surrendering all my needs over to Ganesh — the remover of obstacles. This simple ritual allows me to tap in and see the areas in my life where I have attachments. Surrendering them and handing them over to Ganesh allows me to move into my day with an open heart freed from expectations. I also like to use a mantra throughout the ritual to deepen the experience — Om Gum Gana Patayei Namaha.

So over the next few days, be mindful of the dialogue you are choosing, and see what a difference in can make in your own life. Look for opportunities to tweak your thinking, to catch yourself when you go to say, “I need [XYZ]”, and re-frame it in a way that helps you release, open up, and allow…

Now I want to hear from you, beautiful — do you find yourself saying, “I need this and I need that?” Share away in the comments below, and tell me all the needs you want to let go of.

Thank you so much for sharing from your heart. You are helping so many people with your words and comments.

Forever grateful for you,

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  1. Mel – this is such a beautiful post! Thank you so much for sharing this. I am also on this journey too – releasing attachment to external things. Recently I have noticed a real shift in my perspective around this.

    For a long time, I was so focused on releasing attachment to the extent that I was trying to remove a lot of these things from my life; friends, connection with family, hang ups on money etc. I was approaching detachment from a space of force, control and fear. I thought that to have no attachment meant that I “needed” to feel happy without any of these things in my life at all – but of course that is not very sustainable and I ended up feeling so lonely.

    It was only recently that I realised that I could allow myself these things into my life without attachment to them. Instead, I show my gratitude and revel in being in the present moment to truly experience it. It has been such a big turn around and a massive AHA for me!

    Much Love X


  2. Samantha Mooney says:

    HI Melissa,

    I totally do this!! This is me to a ‘T’ and am in the process of working through tweaking my thoughts for a more positive outlook. Thank-you for your help, I have to say since listening to you at Utopia and following your blog and getting your emails my health journey has had a good kick start. I have struggled for year with my ‘mean girl’ and looking at things on the outside to make me happy on the inside. I realise how quick those 10 years have flown by and I cannot get them back….but have realised what I can do to move forward and how I would love to feel, look at things and to have inner peace would be amazing.

    Thank-you Melissa, you are a true inspiration and woman of much wisdom, and have a beautiful soul:)

    Sam x

  3. Caroline says:

    This article is so beautiful Melissa, and I believe the universe sent it to me. What you said deeply resonated with me, and I’m the person you describe, always using the word “need” for well, everything. From tonight, I will try my best to phrase my desires in another form. Merci for your amazing advices and insights. Love xx

  4. Mel says:

    Hi Mel,
    Such a gorgeous post and so beautifully written.
    Thanks for being so generous and sharing all the things that have changed your life.
    Mel xx

  5. Katie says:

    Lovely article Melissa! Yes I find when I manage to reframe my thoughts like that it takes the pressure off – bye bye mean girl 😉 – I can relax and not take it so personally when things don’t go my way.

    My boyfriend always says “it is what it is” (like your article) and it used to drive me crazy, especially if something ‘bad’ had just happened. Learning to let go of needs and expectations has really made me appreciate truth in that phrase!

  6. TK says:

    Hi Melissa,
    This is a lovely article and really sings to me ATM. I’ve just started my journey of self love and mindfulness after years of filling my cup with things and stuff..and letting my self worth come from the external..what others thought, the job I had, money, things and stuff..etc.
    Letting go of my mean girl is getting easier every day and I’m starting to feel the shift.
    I’ve let her pick on me for two many years and she’s got to go!

  7. Hayley Craig says:

    Hi Mel,

    Thank you for your latest blog post. I must admit I get incredibly excited when I find your emails in my inbox.

    I’ve been following you for some time and you always inspire and motivate me. So thank you!

    I started on my health journey a few years ago when I was living in Brisbane. I had been reading about being present and changing your perspective and part of that comes through the words and thoughts you choose every day.

    At that stage I was still very ‘fresh’ into my journey and even though I understood what I needed to do, I still hadn’t managed to put it into practice.

    One afternoon on my way home from work I was stuck in traffic and it just wasn’t going anywhere. I really didn’t have anywhere I needed to be but I have always lived my life in one big rush, trying to get here there and everywhere in one giant hurry.
    Usually, I’d be frustrated and feeling angry and thinking ‘what the hell is going on up ahead? Why isn’t the traffic moving?? Arghhh” and so on. Plus “I need to get home to put the washing on, and I need to do this and that” (you get the point)…

    Instead I decided to stop thinking about all that. Stop feeling like I need to be doing anything. Instead I admired the boats on the river (that ran parallel to the road), I noticed how bright blue the sky was, I observed the noises around me, I focused on my breath and my hands on the steering wheel and I just thought about love and gratitude. I thought “I’d love to get home so I can spend more time tonight with my partner ” and “I’d love to get home so I can go for a run” but if it takes longer, that’s okay.

    In no time the traffic was moving again, and I had a silly grin on my face! And when I stopped in the get petrol, I realised the thoughts you choice and the words you say have a big impact on others too. After paying for my fuel, the service station attendant said to me “why are you so happy?”, I said “Well, I, I just am” and giggled, and he laughed and said “wow how great is that, you’re just happy for no reason!”. Oh boy, that was awesome! Now I just need to do this all the time and I could really change my life and the way I affect others.

    So yes, reading your blog made me think of that time, and even though I’ve come along way. You’re little reminders are so perfect in bringing me back to the things that truly resonate with me.

    Thank you again xx

  8. Tegan says:

    Hi Mel,
    Thanks for this post, exactly what I need. At the moment I’m feeling like I’ve hit rock bottom, and am suffering anxiety and depression, my body has broken down from all the stress and I feel I’m at a crossroad in my life where I feel everything is just too hard and faced with a tough decision to return to work, or work on myself and set out on a journey to find a new fulfilling job once I’ve found myself again. Your kind words and inspiring stories help me through this tough time and I’m truely grateful.

    • Beck says:

      For you Tegan … I read this quote today and thought you might appreciate it as much as I did “Life isn’t about finding yourself it’s about creating yourself” sending you love and light for your journey Beck x

  9. Sophie says:

    I’ve been incredibly mindful of this lately. I always am to an extent but the last few weeks I’ve been paying attention to everything and guiding myself to realise I’m happy and motivated. I really believe this is a big part of the reason why I recently got an amazing job, because your thoughts really are reflected on your face x

  10. Tanya says:

    What an inspiring post – choosing how you think about things really makes the difference. Thanks so much for sharing Melissa :o)

  11. Nadia Felsch says:

    This is wonderful advice Melissa and thank you for sharing it!

    Simple simple change to make for each of us!
    This sam inspiration is seen in this awesome You Tube clip that I found last week too https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hzgzim5m7oU

  12. Rhi says:

    As always Mel, you brighten my day!!!
    Thank you


  13. Katrin says:

    Hi Mel
    Thanks for this beautiful article that gives such practical advice to change our thinking.
    I have found of late that your quote ‘Love over fear in every moment’ reminds me to make all my choices (including how I think to myself) from love.
    Love of self and love of others.
    The other thing that constantly keeps me in a good mindset is writing my ‘gratitude’ journal morning and night. It helps me focus on what is really important to me in life. This is something I have used more and more since Step it Up!
    Thanks for all you do – you are an awesome chick honey!

  14. Bella says:

    I tend to always be trying to loose weight or change myself as a person. My inner dialogue tends to be “I need to skip lunch to ensure I don’t gain weight” ” I need to do well at everything” I’m always comparing myself…

  15. carmen says:

    So so funny to read this article – I have just finished nutting a few thigs out (what I ‘need’ to change in my life) and part of what I was writing was, of course, full of ‘need to get rid of this’, ‘need to do more of that’….changed it up and tweeked it to using ‘would love’ and the change just felt so good! it just felt like it resonated with me on a whole different level!! I posted a few months ago when I started my journey of wellness as I felt i was so far removed from love and wow, what a ride it’s been so far!! I’m really getting back to my core-self and it’s great! Melissa, thank you!
    Melissa, thank you….

  16. Debra Gibbons says:

    Hi Mel,

    Thank you for sharing another wonderful post. I’m currently on a journey to let go of fear & my mean girl both of which have been with me for most of my 52 years. If I look back I can here myself “needing” on so many levels & can see how damaging this has been for me & to me. I really love being part of this wonderful awakening you are sharing & I’m going to make such an effort to put your good advise into action from this moment on.
    Thank you for being such a loving inspiration to us all xx

  17. Sandra says:

    The sad thing is I don’t even say the word “need”anymore. I have given up hope of getting anything. Living in the “what is”…..
    I often feel detached.

    • Melissa Ambrosini says:

      Hi Sandra,

      Start by connecting with your heart and what your truly love. Place all your attention on that and let go of the ‘what is’ in your mind. Stay in your heart and every time you go in to your mind simply return back to your heart.


      • Sandra says:

        DeAr Melissa, thx you for your response. I am new to your tribe. To understandmore I read your earlier blog and listened to the bhava ram video. I get it. Time to take baby steps reach into Mother Earth and live a life from the heart. No judgement. More breathing – I am into my yoga. Wake up & ask how can I express loving kindness. Have lived my life from my head. My reason – my two boys and loving husband. X x

  18. Blog Shelf - says:

    […] how powerful your words truly are? I suggest you take a look at Melissa Ambrosini’s post on ‘Choose your Words, Choose Your Life.’ Pretty powerful […]

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