“I’ll be happy when…” is a dangerous statement that often leads to disappointment.
I’ll be happy when I get in shape… I’ll be happy when I graduate college… I’ll be happy when I am financially secure… I’ll be happy when I start my own business… I’ll be happy when (insert your criteria here).
And then what?
You lose some weight, which is nice at first, but then you start to feel insecure again.
You graduate with honors, which boosts your ego, but then it’s a struggle to find work in your field.
You build an emergency savings account, which makes life easier, but then it stops feeling like “enough.”
You start a biz, which gives you purpose, but then you don’t have any time or energy leftover for anything else.
Humans are terrible at predicting the future. Pinning your happiness to an external outcome is a critical mistake, because there’s no guarantee the rewards will be as bountiful (or long lasting) as you imagined.
The Constant Whisper of Discontent
I have a hungry, hungry ego. It’s like a perfectionist mother who will never be satisfied by her kid’s accomplishments, no matter how impressive they might be.
My ego is the driving force that led me to pursue fitness, get in shape, and become a stay-at-home writer. Have any of these things made me happy? Not really. They improved my quality of life, but that’s not “happiness.”
I lost 50+ pounds and felt okay about my body for a while (but then I started to feel insecure about a lack of muscle). I loved every second of working from home at first (but then I started to get lonely, because there’s no one to talk to).
Do the pros outweigh the cons? Certainly! But it’s far from the world of perfection that I had originally imagined. Keep your expectations in check. Achieving a goal is rarely as glamorous or life-changing as you predicted. Do the work with no regard to the outcome. Embrace the process, because that’s where the magic really happens.
“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” -Abraham Lincoln
Happiness does not come from external goals or circumstances. Happiness is a product of your internal thoughts. Never say, “I’ll be happy when…” again. Replace it with: “I am happy now, because…”
I’m happy now, because I have friends and family who love me. I’m happy now, because I get to chill with my dog while I work. I’m happy now, because every day presents an opportunity to learn and grow. I’m happy now, because I have the freedom to express myself. I’m happy now, because you chose to read this blog (Thank you!). 🙂
I challenge you to make a list of 5-10 things you are happy about now at the beginning or end of every day. If you sustain a gratitude practice for several weeks or months, I bet it will make you feel better about life.
(Prove me wrong. I dare you.)