I’ll be happy when…

Why not be happy now? Seriously, why not? Too many people fall into the trap of creating conditional happiness. ‘Only when the stars are aligned and I have 10 million dollars and a perfect spouse and 2.3 perfectly behaved children will I be happy.’

 

I’m sorry, but the dice don’t always land exactly the way you want them to.

 

Sure, it is important to set goals and have high standards. I agree that you shouldn’t have to settle for less than you deserve and yes, it’s fine to want to be, have and do more…

 

BUT NOT AT THE EXPENSE OF HAPPINESS!

 

Happiness does not mean you can not feel difficult emotions. Dissatisfaction, frustration and happiness can co-exist. The difference is that a happy person never forgets to be grateful right now no matter what challenges they may face.

 

How do you spot a conditional happiness sufferer?

 

Look out for the words ‘if and when’. Have you ever heard anyone say this…

 

When I have/achieve/own/become this, then I’ll be happy?

When I own my house, when I get that promotion, when I become fully qualified, then I’ll be happy.

 

Or what about pushing the responsibility onto others…

 

If you stop/start/maintain/learn to do X, then I’ll be happy?

If you stop making me angry, if you start being nicer to me, if you maintain your weight, then I’ll be happy.

 

The problem with this kind of mindset it twofold. One is that it is very disempowering. You are declaring that because there are circumstances in your life that you do not have full control over, you can not be happy. Secondly, you never actually learn how to be happy where you are right now. You never learn how to actually feel it! Therefore, if you do obtain the goal, you will not feel happy for very long if at all, and the common mistake is thinking that it was the goal and not you’re thinking that was too small.

 

Then what happens? Most people think they need to increase the goal. ‘When I have two houses, then surely, I’ll be happy.’ Of course whether they obtain it or not, the cycle continues.

 

What is the alternative? A decisive commitment to happiness regardless of current circumstances. ‘I am happy. I will continue to grow happier, and I will remain happy despite setbacks.’

 

Is it really possible to become someone who thinks this way? That depends. Why don’t you tell me if it is really possible to think this way?  It’s your choice.

 

Key Points

1. Happiness is a decision. Make it!

2. You are completely responsible for your happiness. Do not blame unhappiness on others.

The only possible exception to this rule is if you are literally trapped or imprisoned in a situation you can not escape from. However, there still is a way to find happiness even in such difficult circumstances. That’s a very large topic that I may look at another time.

3. You must practice being happy and grateful for what you have right now and regularly from this point forward. It is a conditionable feeling that is not reliant on material possessions. Study after study has shown that as long as your basic needs are met (that you have enough money to feel reasonably safe), money no longer factors into happiness.

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