Are you a happiness delayer?
I was a happiness delayer my whole life. You know what I mean. I know I'll be happy when I lose ten pounds, find a boyfriend, get a better job, make more money, move back to the shore. The list was endless. Because here is the thing that took me so long to figure out. It's never things that make you happy. It's inside of you. If you can't find happiness now with where you are and what you've already got, getting those other things won't make you happy either.
My mindset was so warped that I never saw the good in everyday. And there is so much good if you just take the time to look around you and take stock of all that you have. The number one tool to help you do this is the gratitude journal. Writing down little things that you are grateful for everyday makes those things stand out and you start to really appreciate them. It's hard to switch when you have been focusing on what you don't have all your life. But once you make the switch you will never go back.
I think we all tend to do this when we are young. We finish school and hope that first big job will bring us what we've been waiting for. And when it doesn't we become depressed or we set another goal that we think will bring us happiness.
The best example of this I can think of for me personally is when I got married. I didn't get married until I was 41 so for many years I thought it was the end all, be all of happiness. I knew once I finally got married my true happiness would finally be found. Turns out, it didn't work that way. Not only didn't I find the happiness I had always dreamed of, I was more depressed than ever my first year of marriage. I can look back now and realize it was because I had come to the end of my goal list and I still wasn't happy. I didn't know what goal to set next to finally get my happiness. It wasn't until I realized that I had to make my own happiness before I finally started to find it.
The worst part is I didn't realize this was what was happening in the moment. At the time I thought it meant I wasn't meant to be married. That I was so unhappy because of my marriage. I did have a hard time adjusting to marriage in the fact that it was really hard for me to live with someone else after living alone for 11 years but it was so much more than that. I blamed myself for not being marriage material. I blamed my husband for not really being the one. I started to nick pick everything about my marriage in order to convince myself it the marriage that was making me unhappy, not myself.
But I hung in there. I truly loved my husband and wanted to spend my life with him but I just couldn't find a way to be happy. And I just couldn't figure out what the problem was. It wasn't until I read that book. You know the one!!! You are a Badass by Jen Sincero that things started to change. It was when I started to consistently keep a gratitude journal. It was also when I asked myself the questions of how I wanted to see the rest of my life unfold. I took the time to figure out the things I wanted to spend my time on and attempted to make that happen. The results were amazing!
We moved to the shore. That was huge in my happiness factor. I've always been more alive by the water. I had lived at the shore before and knew it was where I thrived. I touched base with some old friends and made new ones. My life at the shore did indeed bring me the type of happiness I so deeply searched for. And it was honestly an easy switch to make in our lives. There were and still are sacrifices we made to get here and stay here but we are making it work and it's all worth it to us.
Once I started feeling some happiness everyday it finally dawned on me that my marriage was never the problem. It was me. I had gotten to a point where my goals had run out. I couldn't reasonably delay my happiness any longer. Since I had run out of goals and still wasn't happy I guess I just wasn't ever going to be happy. No wonder I was so depressed!
Unfortunately, it took me to finally come to the end of my list to realize it was up to make to be happy. That it always had been. But luckily for me, marriage was my end all, be all. That is the goal that made me stop in my tracks. That is the goal I convinced myself would finally make me happy once and for all. And when it didn't I knew something was seriously wrong with my system. Others may continue to set other goals though. Making more money or a bigger house or losing weight. There are a million things we convince ourselves will finally make us happy once we achieve them. But they won't. They never will until you can find it in yourself to be happy with or without it. Because I am the glowing example of still not being happy once I attained everything I thought it would take to make me happy. And it makes me sad to think I could have been so much happier years ago if it didn't take me so long to figure out I was the one standing in my way.
But I hope you can use my example and stop setting happiness goals for yourself. Whether they be when the kids are out of college or when you get that house in Florida or when you finally get to retire. NO! Stop waiting. Don't delay your happiness one more day. Start appreciating what you have right now. Delve into the what brings you the most joy and focus on that. Be grateful. Don't take all that you have for granted. Be yourself. Have fun! Laugh, laugh and laugh some more.
If there is one single thing that made a huge difference in my happiness factor it was the use of a gratitude journal that truly showed me the way. This is why I harp on it so much. Once I started appreciating what all that I had I realized I already had all I needed to be happy right now.
It is grateful Monday so if you aren't already keeping a gratitude journal, try it for one week. Three to five things a day you are grateful for in your life. The benefits of doing it are three fold in my opinion. First, you get to relive the best moments of your day. Second, it helps you to search out more to be grateful for each day. And finally, it literally does change your thinking. When you can start to see the good in any situation your power is limitless! Now go forth and be happy!
If you like today's episode please leave me a review and share it with your friends. We need more Hopefulists in the world!
I'm also offering one on one mentoring if you feel some personal guidance will help your journey to happiness along faster. Just reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or through Facebook or Instagram and we can schedule a call to see if we can work together to get you to your ultimate happiness.
Have a great week. Now go on out there and be Badass! I know you can do it and you know I'm right here, cheering you on!