Whenever you find yourself saying, “I’ll be happy when…”, you’re pulling the cord for a curtain-raiser, on your inner world. When a person thinks, or says, those words, it’s generally a pretty likely sign, that they are projecting their mind towards a future-desired state of being, while not feeling so happy, right now.
And here’s the thing… if you are a regular “I’ll be happy when…” kind of person, you’d be in good company, because there are legions of your fellow humans who get snared every day by the sneaky, “WHEN” trap of happiness.
We get tricked into believing, that somewhere “out there”, someone or something will make us happy in one way or another. So, we actually put the brake on happiness, because we’re holding out for “when” something external happens, hoping it causes us to be happy.
Having the “I’ll be happy when…” mindset, short-changes a fulfilled life.
We hang out for that promotion, buying that new car, meeting the perfect partner, getting a bigger house, going on that overseas holiday, or finally getting that motorhome and touring this big old country. In the meantime, we’re unfulfilled, feeling miserable, stressed and anxious.
Nobody is happy all the time. But being happy a lot of the time, is possible.
We spend a big part of our lives seeking and striving after happiness. Why do we crave and chase it? We get way too caught up with the idea of associating happiness, with pleasure, and gratification, and fleeting feel good feelings.
But a more enduring happiness, goes much deeper, flowing out of a state of being and vitality, and the embrace of richer, fuller and meaningful living. It is a life of fulfilment shaped by a mindset of gratitude, and anchored on values like openness, kindness, curiosity, flexibility and connectedness.
Of course, like it is for everyone, there’s setbacks, curveballs and disappointments that have to be faced. Throughout life there’ll be times when we get sick, and then we get better. But eventually, a day comes when we get sick, and don’t get better. Pain, separation and death, is common to humanity. So the idea that we can be happy, all the time, is simply a fallacy. But happiness, experienced in an enduring sense, is possible, not just fleetingly.
Let’s appreciate that life is a journey. It’s a process. It’s what happens in our ‘dash’, which one day will be etched, between the dates of born and died on our headstone.
By developing an optimistic, grateful and growth mindset, we can learn to limit the impacts of inevitable heartaches and distressing events. And, in spite of those things, carve out a happy life, satisfying and well-lived.
Are you ready to step out of the shadows of, “I’ll be happy when…” thinking? If you want to discover happiness isn’t some distant ever-shifting mirage, then here’s a tip that may help change your perspective. Instead of the “WHEN” of happiness, adjust your mindset to “WHILE”. Relish, enjoy and be grateful in the process, WHILE, you go about pursuing your goals, dreams and aspirations.
As you practice this kind of mindset daily, you just might find yourself becoming a lot happier a lot more often. You can choose to be happy now, WHILE edging towards, the envisioned future important to you.
ROHAN WATSON is a member of the Australian Counselling Association and a general member of the International Association of Applied Neuroscience. He holds qualifications in Psychology, Counselling and Education from Monash University and USQ. As a Psychotherapist, Counsellor and Mental Health Researcher, Rohan is dedicated to helping unlock the potential in people to live life happily and more purposefully.
Rohan provides specialist counselling and wellbeing coaching services to people from all walks and seasons of life by phone, video or face-to-face. He has facilitated and delivered mental health programs across rural and remote Australia and provides professional psychotherapy services to employees at all levels nationally through EAP based services. Rohan has a special interest in the online delivery of mental wellness programs and his current research is focusing on early intervention mental wellbeing in Australian SMEs. Learn more.
PS. Want to go deeper in your understanding of the path to lasting happiness? Check out this video review of Martin Seligman’s book “Authentic Happiness”.