Sometimes we believe that things outside of us have to change, before we will be happy. For example, we may think, I will be happy; when I lose weight, or when I get a boyfriend, or when I buy a house, or when my husband stops drinking etc, etc. We put off being happy until some future date, and we make our happiness dependant on getting, or achieving, something, or on other people changing.
Research shows that we can be temporarily happy if we buy something new, or achieve something, but that happiness is short lived. The feeling does not last long. And then we have to start looking for the next new thing that will make us happy. Meanwhile, waiting for someone else to change before we can be happy, is just soul destroying. This is because we don’t get to control other people. They get to do, think and feel whatever they want to do, think or feel. We cannot make them change.
This suggests that we need to do something different if we want to have more happiness in our lives.
The interesting thing is, that it is not actually the weight loss, or the new boyfriend, or our husband drinking, or anything else that makes us happy or unhappy. It is the THOUGHTS we have ABOUT the boyfriend or the weight loss, or whatever, that makes us happy or unhappy.
This is often hard to get our head around. But a good example is to remember how often a friend/family member got a new boyfriend and thought he was amazing. We, on the other hand, thought he was a drop kick or creepy. Or what about that flat or house, that we can’t even imagine living in because it is so dirty and awful. To a person who is homeless, it would seem fantastic.
The things that we think are terrible, will often be loved and appreciated, by someone else and visa versa. And the reason for this is the THOUGHTS that we have. The car, the boyfriend, the new job, our husband drinking, are all neutral events. They don’t have any meaning, until we give them meaning, by the thoughts that we think.
Therefore, we need to look inside ourselves, if we want to feel more happiness in our lives. We should not rely on something external like buying a new gadget, or starting a new relationship, or anything else, to make us happy. Instead we need to learn to manage our thoughts and feelings, so that we can create joy and happiness in our lives right now.
Written by Lynda Timperley Btch, Dip Psych, Cert Life Coaching