The Tale of Inside-Out Land


Posted by Jill Whalen | Posted in Relationships, Thought | Posted on 05-23-2018

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[Jill’s Note: If you prefer to listen rather than read, please scroll to the bottom of this post for the audio version.]

Happy Inside-OutersOnce upon a time there was a world called, “Inside-Out Land.” There, it was impossible for anyone to upset a fellow “Inside-Outer.” It wasn’t that they couldn’t become upset–they could. It was that their society as a whole understood where their feelings came from.

They knew when they were upset (or happy, or scared or sad), it was always and only because their thoughts naturally created those feelings within them. Just as they were designed to do.

Because of this knowledge, they lived in relative peace.

When anyone in this land was upset, it was never a big deal. Often, they’d sit alone for a little while or maybe take a walk, and soon they’d feel better. Sometimes they asked for, and appreciated a hug from a family member or a friend. And at other times, they felt like talking about how they were feeling.

Regardless of how they handled their bad feeling moments, they always knew they’d feel better again soon.

Because of this knowledge…

They never blamed anyone or anything for their moods.

Inside-Outers knew where all their feelings came from–random thoughts that happened to pop into their head at the moment. It made no sense to ascribe those feelings to anything someone may have done or said.

This didn’t mean they blamed themselves for their feelings or situations in which they found themselves.

They understood that life simply happens.

And in life, there are ups and downs, as well as good and bad. Because of this, they dearly cherished, and were grateful for the good times.

But, they also valued the seemingly bad times that inevitably happened.

They knew that every cloud had a silver-lining, which enabled them to gracefully navigate through whatever life had in store for them. It was obvious, in retrospect, how the hard times brought them closer to each other.

When someone was upset or things weren’t going their way, their friends and family were always happy to help however they could. They didn’t get scared or worried about their loved one or the situation, because they knew at the core of their being that “this too shall pass.”

Life was pretty good, and fairly easy for Inside-Outers.

One day, a stranger from another land appeared.

He was walking down the street, having a look around, when he accidentally collided with an Inside-Outer named Iona. She apologized to the stranger, and asked if he was okay. The stranger gruffly replied, “I can’t believe you just ran straight into me! Watch where you’re going, you clumsy idiot!

Iona, shrugged her shoulders, and thought to herself, “Wow…he must be having really a bad day!” She looked at him with a great big smile on her face and said, “Can I buy you a cup of coffee or tea for the trouble I seemed to have caused you?

The stranger was somewhat taken aback by Iona’s cheerful response. At the same time, he noticed the other Insider-Outers around the town had big smiles on their faces too.

What’s up with this place?” he asked Iona.

What do you mean?” she replied.

Why is everyone, so, um, so, smiley and happy?” he asked.

Why not?” she replied.

He didn’t expect that response, and it made him even more curious. “You know what, I think I will have that coffee with you!

As luck would have it, there was a little cafe directly across the street. The stranger tensed up when Iona took his arm to lead the way. He just met this woman (and under such strange circumstances) and here she was treating him as if he were an old friend she had known her entire life. He was tempted to remove his arm from hers, but there was something comforting and natural about it, so he let it be.

The cafe was owned by a young man who greeted them both with a big smile and a hug. The stranger was confused at this level of intimacy from a stranger. “Is that your boyfriend?” he asked Iona.

No, I’ve never met him.” she replied.

The man was hit with a combination of curiosity, confusion and suspicion.

They sat down at a small table in the corner and each ordered a cup of coffee. The stranger noticed that everyone in the cafe was also “unnaturally” happy.

So what’s really up with this place?” he asked Iona. “Surely something wonderful and amazing must have recently happened here to make everyone so happy.

Something wonderful and amazing happens here all the time!” Iona replied cheerfully. “But nothing particularly special has happened recently. I really don’t understand your questions about us all being happy. As I said before, why wouldn’t we be?

Life is difficult.” the man replied. “How can you be happy when so much bad stuff is happening?

Iona thought for a moment before responding to the man.

What’s happening, is what’s happening. Sometimes it’s good, and sometimes it’s not so good. As far as I can tell, we don’t have a choice in which it will be. Where we do have a choice, however, is in how we navigate our life. We can go through the good times and the bad gracefully, or we can go through them and suffer. It simply doesn’t make any sense to me to suffer needlessly.

When she finished speaking, Iona looked up at the man and noticed something different in his appearance. His whole face had softened.

The two of them sat in silence for a few minutes.

Finally, the man was able to speak. “What you just said…it made so much sense and it touched me somehow. Suffering IS optional. Wow! I never thought of it that way before. It always looked as if I had to react to everything that was happening to me. But something in what you said, has helped me to see that it’s not personal. And therefore, I don’t have to be so scared of the world. Thank you, Iona! I think I’m going to like it here in Inside-Out Land!

The man paid for their coffee, and lived happily, ever, after.

The End


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Jill is the author of Victim of Thought: Seeing Through the Illusion of Anxiety

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For the past 20 years, Jill has consulted with companies big and small, and spoken at conferences all over the world. She is currently a transformational speaker and mentor to businesses, individuals, coaches, leaders, groups and organizations. She helps them uncover their natural well-being and happiness so that they can operate from a clearer state of mind and take their lives and businesses to a higher level.

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Hi Jill this is Margo from Arizona just wanted to give you a shout out hope you’re having a good time in London. I love your story “ tale of the inside out land“
I also watched several of your recent YouTube video . In the case that you are feeling homesick or if you have some family concerns I want to remind you of your own words “this too shall pass”!

Be well and thank you for all your wonderful words of wisdom I find everything you say to be very helpful and I have sent all your information to several of my clients who could definitely use your wisdom and disclosure.
Safe travels, Margo

Thanks, Margo! I’m actually back home now. Glad you enjoyed the blog post!

That was great story!@

Thanks. Glad you liked it! Feel free to share it with anyone you think might appreciate it.

This was a wonderful story Jill! Thank you for posting. I really enjoyed it =) what a wonderful place this inside-out land would be . I guess it’s up to each of us to decide where and how we’d rather live!


The joke is really on us as we already live in inside-out land!


This is a wonderful article, that is how perfect world would function. I have a question, what if the man who came decided to take advantage of others being so nice, keep on complaining so they invite him for coffee and give him things, and wouldn’t they be enabling his behavior this way which in the end is not helpful to him?

Glad you liked the article!

As to your “what if” scenario, who knows? We can only live moment to moment and there are infinite possibilities of how things might play out.

Thank you for posting this story. I’m using it to help my children recognize their own thoughts.

That’s wonderful! Thanks for letting me know.