I think this disease is an epidemic. Nobody talks about it, but it’s everywhere.
So you’re on a path, the one you thought you should be on, the one that made most sense when you started your journey. You did all the “right” things, went to school, studied, tried to get good grades, went to university (even if it didn’t interest you), got the job, the 2.2 kids, stayed at home with them or went back to work. You got the house and then the bigger house, the car and then the bigger car (van or SUV) and then you realized...I have everything I am supposed to have...so why am I not happy?!
Has this happened to you? You may still be in the chasing phase, you may have just realized that you’re not super happy despite your best efforts, or you may be like me, in the process of figuring out a new way of living by ditching the chase.
I call it the I’ll be happen when disease. I’ll be happy when I have more money, I’ll be happy when my kids get good grades, I’ll be happy when my spouse does x and y, I’ll be happy when the weather is just right, I’ll be happy when there is no traffic on my way to work, I’ll be happy when I get that new job. And on and on and on we go.
Our environment doesn't help. Everywhere you turn there is a TV commercial, a billboard or magazine telling you that you need something else to be happy, that cosmetic, that car, that house, that boyfriend or girlfriend (so many on-line dating ads- btw they work, I found my boyfriend that way), that new drug (I mean who doesn’t have restless leg syndrome), that new furniture etc.. You’re one step or one product away from having the good life. You’re not there yet...but you’re almost there...keep going happiness is right. around. the. corner.
We are taught from a very young age to chase our way to happiness like the bunny with the carrot dangling right past his nose...just out of reach, but close.
I went along like most people.
In my own search for meaning and purpose in my life, I have looked into happiness and what is at the heart of true, authentic happiness. It turns out it’s nothing we are taught at all.
The I’ll Be Happy When CURE
Having a realization that:
- Happiness is not something you extract from outer circumstances, things or people.
- Happiness is something that comes from within you that you BRING to your life.
Happiness is more of an attitude, a way of thinking and seeing life. I give presentations to students (and soon to corporate clients) about the keys to true happiness. These are concepts that I have applied in my own life and they really do work. Here is part ONE of the 4 keys to happiness:
Want to get off the hamster wheel of spinning faster and faster to hopefully be happy in the future? Start being grateful for everything that you have right now. Stop focusing on everything that is missing and put a laser focus on everything that is great and going well right now.
Can’t think of anything...let me help...you woke up this morning, you have eyes to read this blog, your limbs work and you can walk, you have shelter, food to eat, clothes to wear (even if they’re not fancy brand names), you have a friend, family or great children. A simple way to get you started is to focus on your breath for a few breaths and be thankful for it (if you're reading this, I know you're breathing).
When you go outside, appreciate nature's beauty. Really look at the sky and the trees, notice the breeze. If you are in school, appreciate the fact that you get to go (many people don’t). If you have a job, appreciate all that is there for you (focus on the one good person there or a steady paycheque).
One of the the most effective prayers you can say is...Thank you!
You will notice that in order to be grateful you need to be present, right here and now. That alone can take you out of the future pull where you think you’re happiness will be. By noticing things that are great now and being thankful for them, you start to release yourself from the chains of the illusive ‘future happiness’. Joy is here, happiness is now (the only place it can ever be).
Stay tuned to the next 3 blogs where I will talk about 3 more easy remedies to get rid of the I’ll be happy when disease. Side effects may include delight, a more relaxed outlook, joy and giddiness.