Many of us are waiting for that one big break before we’ll be happy! We tell ourselves, “I’ll be happy when I’ve finished constructing that house;” “I’ll be happy as soon as I get that promotion, or win that contract;” or “I’ll be complete as soon as I meet that amazing man or woman;” – the list is endless!
In fact, having one more thing, no matter how big or important it seems right now, is not going to make us happy! You must’ve noticed this with other things in your life, that you’ve wanted for a long time and eventually obtained. They satisfy you for a brief period, until they too become part of the routine.
When you buy your first car, you’re so excited that you could sleep in it, but that euphoria wears off. Same thing with career advancement – a few weeks after that big promotion, our lives revert to the mundane. In fact, soon after attaining any desired position, we start looking for the next mountain to conquer, because we become accustomed to any change in our lives, no matter how spectacular.
In the 1970s, people who’d won up to one million dollars in the lottery were interviewed to examine their levels of happiness. Less than a year after winning the money, they reported being no happier than people who’d never received that kind of financial windfall. Why? Because after attaining more money, they had even bigger aspirations. They were now comparing themselves to people who had as much, if not more, money.
We’re constantly looking for grander things to create in our lives. Because of this, many of us live in a perpetual state of wanting.
Realise this truth: everything we want, it’s because we believe we’ll be happier once we have it. Yet we don’t have to wait to acquire anything in order to be happy. The best way is to feel happy right now. Whatever feeling you’re after, don’t wait to experience it.
If you want to feel appreciated, consider all the evidence that you’re appreciated right now. Think about your family, that loves and supports you.
Don’t wait for a significant other to enter your life to make you feel attractive ÔÇô find things to love about yourself right now.
Don’t wait to be promoted to a high profile position to feel powerful – look at everything you’ve created in your life and feel powerful right now. Bask in those feelings.
Never postpone your happiness until a future date when you’ve attained ‘more.’ There’s nothing wrong with improvement, but don’t use it as an excuse to be dissatisfied right now.
Choose to be happy now! When you do this, it actually hastens the arrival of the very things you want into your life.
Whatever you’re seeking, be happy while it’s coming to you. Remember, life isn’t just about arriving at our chosen destination; it’s about enjoying the journey.
I’m reminded of this story of two men, Thero and Thapelo, who were both seriously ill. They shared a hospital room. Thero was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour a day to drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window.
Thapelo, on the other hand, had to spend all his time flat on his back.
The men would talk for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, and their jobs.
Every afternoon, when Thero could sit up, he would describe to Thapelo all the things he could see outside the window. Thapelo lived for those one-hour periods, when his world would be transformed by all the activity and colour of the outside world.
Thero said the window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. He described flowers of every color and grand trees that graced the landscape. As he described this in exquisite detail, Thapelo would close his eyes and revel in the idyllic scene.
One afternoon, Thero described a parade passing by. Suddenly, an unexpected thought entered Thapelo’s mind: “why should Thero have all the pleasure of seeing everything, while I never get to see anything?” It didn’t seem fair.
As the thought fermented, Thapelo’s envy grew into resentment and soon, he turned sour. He should be by that window. The thought took over his life.
Late one night, Thero began to cough. He was choking on the fluid in his lungs. Thapelo watched silently as he struggled, and never moved to help. In less than five minutes, the coughing and choking stopped; and a deathly silence fell over the room.
The following morning, the nurse arrived to find Thero’s lifeless body. Saddened, she took him away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, Thapelo asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse happily made the switch and she left him alone.
“Finally,” Thapelo thought to himself, “I’ll have the joy of seeing all the beautiful sights myself!” Slowly, painfully, Thapelo propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look. He strained to look out the window beside the bed, only to discover that it faced a blank wall! All the glorious sights that he’d heard about, that had made him so happy, had come from Thero’s imagination!
Many of us are like Thapelo; we chase and become consumed by things we imagine will bring us pleasure; and then become very bitter and disappointed when we discover they don’t; that we are, in effect, staring at walls; and that life is what you make it.
We need to become more like Thero, and choose to be happy. Life is always good; what matters is our perspective.
When we choose to recognise the blessings in our lives; to see everything as good, we can be happy right now, and that’s our ultimate goal. No person, or circumstance, can prevent our happiness.
Joy is always an inside job!