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I’ll Be Happy When…
Have you ever found yourself saying, “I will be so happy when…?” Perhaps you finished that sentence with:
- When I get my dream job.
- When I reach my goal weight.
- When I finally get to go on vacation.
- When I move into my dream house.
- When I find my true love.
- When I feel better.
Many of us think that we “will be happy when” we get our dream job, car, house, lover, etc. We work diligently to achieve these things that seem so far away, believing that once they come into our lives, we will finally feel happy and we will finally be able to accept ourselves.
I used to firmly believe that my happiness was determined by my weight (and maybe a few other external things as well). I thought that I’d be happy when I met a certain goal weight, and thus spent a lot of time and energy trying to make it to that goal. I spent years yo-yo dieting and feeling hangry while starving myself to meet my ideal weight, and it felt gross. I hated dieting, but forced myself to do it, firmly believing it was the only way to feel good about myself.
I remember distinctly the morning that I finally made it to the ideal goal weight. I felt such relief and joy when I stepped on the scale to see the fruits of my labor. I celebrated for an entire minute, feeling absolutely fabulous. Then I made the mistake of looking in the mirror and it was mortifying. I saw the fat rolls I’d been trying so hard to eliminate taunting me and showing me that they weren’t going away just because I met my goal. I heard the voices in my head telling me I was a failure and ripping me apart, which made me feel worthless. I was shocked. Here I had lost at least 30 pounds and still felt unhappy and disgusted with myself. I was so sad to find that I still hated my body and still couldn’t accept myself. It was then that I had an epiphany. For the first time ever, I thought:
Maybe happiness wasn’t something that could be found on the scale? This single thought started a massive movement in my life to discover what happiness really was and how to achieve it. Perhaps there was something deeper to explore? If you feel similarly, take this quiz to find out what could be holding you back from true happiness and love of your body…
What is Happiness?
Since that day, I have done a lot of research and studying about what happiness really is. We all want to be happy, yet we go about it in so many different ways it can be hard to pinpoint what it truly is. Dictionary.com defines it as “good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy; the quality or state of being happy (delighted, pleased, or glad).” What brings one person happiness or joy may or may not do the same thing for another person. My ideal goal weight would seem ridiculous to another (some might find it way too high and some would find it way too low). What one person would think is the perfect job, would be terrifying and horrible to another. The same thing goes for a dream house or car. We all want different things and prefer certain styles, relationships, etc. Happiness, therefore is not found in things, possessions, or even relationships.
If you notice, the dictionary definition does not mention anything about a possession or thing that makes us happy, but rather refers to it as a “state of being.” This is exactly what I have discovered since that day on the scale. I have learned that happiness is an internal job, and nothing in our external world or environment can produce the inside feeling of happiness if we do not let it. Happiness, is therefore, a choice and a feeling. We get the option to decide at any given moment if we are happy or not. We are the only ones that can control how we feel. Have you ever noticed that some people can be perfectly content with very little, while others are never happy even when they seem to have everything? This is because happiness is a state of mind, a feeling not a thing. It cannot be purchased and cannot be taken away from us.
Don’t Believe Everything You See and Hear
We have all been programmed by advertisements, social media, magazines, commercials, movies, tv shows, our friends and neighbors, and even our family, to think that happiness can be achieved by having something that others have, or looking a certain way. We hear, see, and watch other people enjoying things that we want, and often succumb to the belief that if we could just have “what they have” we could finally be happy. But it is just not true. Most of the models and pictures that we see are air brushed, fake and phony. We have been programmed to believe so many lies. The companies trying to sell us their products have to make us feel unhappy in order to create a lack or need inside us, in order to get us to buy. They show scenes of joy and exquisite perfection, with promises that their product will make you feel the same. But just buying their perfume will not make you look like the model advertising it. Just driving the car will not make you as financially free as the man in the commercial (many times it will actually make your more miserable since it will bring you further into debt). Just buying the outfit or house or watch or whatever IT is, will not guarantee us any lasting happiness. Sure, sometimes things can bring a feeling of elation and joy- I have felt joy upon many of my purchases. But the feeling never lasts, it is always temporary.
Many of us use social media to keep connected to friends and family, yet it has been proven that too much time on any social outlet these days actually causes depression and extreme feelings of lack and worthlessness. We have been lied too so many times and yet so many of us are buying into the lies. We see pictures of families and friends that appear to “have it all” or seem so “perfect” only to find out that they are up to their eyeballs in debt, getting a divorce, fighting serious depression, etc. We see one little snapshot and believe all that we think we see from it. We perceive perfection, when more often than not, there are serious problems, huge messes, and bad vibes behind the scenes. We, as a culture, need to stop comparing our lives to the little pictures and snapshots of others lives in our feeds and in the things that we see around us. Comparing does not bring happiness, just like buying things. See this article for more: Do You Play the Body Comparison Game?
Happiness does not come from things. It is a choice and it comes from within- You can CHOOSE to be HAPPY NOW
In the book, Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl, we learn that man can feel happy even under the most strenuous and terrible of circumstances. Viktor, a survivor of the holocaust, tells that even when they had everything taken from them, some of the fellow inmates were selfless enough to give away their tiny portion of food to help another person survive. He said that some people turned into monsters, while others turned into saints. Their attitudes were determined from how they felt on the inside. They had to decide whether or not they would let Hitler and his regime make them miserable or if they’d survive with their morals and integrity still in tact. Each individual was in charge of their own feelings. They ultimately determined whether or not they were happy. I HIGHLY suggest this book!
What are We Waiting For?
The same goes for you and me. Are we going to continue waiting for the day we achieve or buy or become something that we dream of to be happy? Is there a better way? There absolutely is. We can choose right here and now to put a smile on our face and move forward with joy in our hearts, no matter our circumstances. I know that for some of you, this simple shift seems impossible. I get it!
Just last week I was experiencing so much back pain that it was all that I could do was make it to my room and lie down. My husband kept saying, “Just smile the pain away.” I wanted to punch him. However, after a short nap, my pain was still there but I was in a much better state of mind. I decided to smile through the pain, and oddly enough, the pain dissipated and didn’t bother me half as much. I already knew that I could choose to be happy in spite of my pain, but putting it into action was a lot harder than just knowing. However hard it may be, if we can learn to choose to feel happy and recognize that all things happen for our growth and ultimately for our good, we can be happy anywhere at any time.Here are a few more articles to help you out with this:
If we continue to look forward to a certain event, time, achievement, or goal to feel happy, we will be wasting our lives away. We don’t have time to waste in hoping for happiness. Just choose right now that you are going to be happy no matter what. It is possible, and doing so will drastically improve your life!
I don’t know about you, but I sure want that! What do you think? How do you choose to feel happy when the going gets hard? Post your comments below- I’d love to hear your tips and tricks!