How often do we hear ourselves say start a sentence with “I’ll be happy when..”?
“I’ll be happy when I get a promotion.”
“I’ll be happy when I can buy my own place.”
“I’ll be happy when I get a more reliable car.”
“I’ll be happy when I finish my studies.”
“I’ll be happy when meet the love of my life, get married and have lots of babies.”
The list is endless.
Don’t worry. I’m not about to suggest you take a vow of poverty and stop aspiring for things. There’s nothing wrong with wanting things. More things. Nice things. Bigger things. Dare I say it…? There’s nothing wrong with wanting money! It’s a tool that allows us to have wonderful experiences.
So, if there’s nothing wrong with having ambitions, what’s wrong with this mindset of “I’ll be happy when…” then?
Simple. It places our happiness in the future. Sometimes way off in the future. I’m not saying that to bum you out; I’m saying it to be realistic. What’s also realistic is that when you reach any of these milestones, because you’re a human being, you’ll probably set a new target. When you graduate, your next goal is to get a job. Once you’ve got the job you might have your sights set on a promotion. That promotion might be what gives you the cash to buy a flashy car. But now you’re sick of paying rent/living with your parents so you want another promotion so you can buy a house. Now you want a partner and/or a puppy to share the house with. Once you’ve got the partner, maybe you want to put a ring on it. Maybe buy a new place together? Reproduce?
See what I mean? Each goal leads to another goal, because each one is a stepping stone towards the big picture that we have for our dream life. So if we attach our happiness to our future goals, not only does it stop us from being happy here and now (which, by the way, you totally deserve to be), it blocks us from being happy ever! Because the next goal is never the final goal!
So what if, instead of attaching our happiness to these goals, we find our happiness within ourselves? Being content right here, right now?
Sure, we’ll still experience that giddy wave of excitement and elation that comes with achieving those dreams each time we smash a goal; who wouldn’t want that? But in between, as we work towards those dreams, we can let go of any frustration, anger or negativity because we’re not there yet, allowing ourselves to be content with what we do have and where we are.
Content with ourselves.
Because how fricking disempowering is it to hand the power over our happiness to something outside of ourselves?
So change the narrative. Never mind “I’ll be happy when…”, how about simply “I allow myself to be happy”?