One of the things I see repeatedly in the self-improvement literature is that if you can have the life you want, you will be happy. This is the entire angle of the online business marketing world. If you start an online business, you can fire your boss, work from home, have tons of free time for yourself and your family, and, most importantly, be happy.
My Own Happiness Temptations
I can’t lie and say that I don’t fantasize that my life would be better if I were my own boss. But then I realized that the more I thought this, the more dissatisfied I became with my job. This made me think about the expectations that we place on ourselves for happiness. Rather than freeing us, these expectations create conditions for happiness and lead to disappointment.
What Are Your Happiness Musts?
What do you think you need to be happy? That is a happiness must. A big one for a lot of people is quitting their job. According to an Indeed.com study, 44% of millennials will leave their employer in the next two years.
Is wanting to leave your job a happiness must? No, not by itself. In fact, any action or goal by itself isn’t necessarily a happiness must. Leaving your job could be a very logical and wise decision, especially if there are better job opportunities or your job could be eliminated. But the question is do you see that job change as a condition to happiness. Do you tell yourself that once you’re out of here things will really start to be better? Do you wish for the future instead of living in the now?
Just because we are in negative circumstances doesn’t mean we can’t find happiness in our lives. In fact, life will always serve up some challenge or obstacles to being a peace. The challenge for us is not to make the quality of our life contingent upon having these things.
On the other hand, we can work to change our circumstances and still be happy with where we are right now. As much as possible, we need to disconnect happiness from the conditions in our life. If you can do this, then you can pursue your goals for the right reasons rather than seeing them as a guarantee to a better life. If we remove the happiness motive, we may discover that the thing we’re strive for isn’t that important after all.
Subtle Happiness Musts
Sometimes, our happiness musts are obvious: once I lose 30 lbs I’ll feel great or my life feels empty without a relationship. At other times, our musts are subtler: my wardrobe sucks, I need to get a house so I can get away from these noisy neighbors, I can’t stand the traffic, Donald Trump is ruining our country, I need a vehicle that doesn’t have rust on it.
We may not make think “I can start being happy when . . .” but we feel that certain things are unbearable. I think the subtle happiness musts are important to recognize because they are an easier place for us to make changes. It’s easier to stop complaining about how long your commute to work is than to learn how to be happy with your weight.
Make A Must Inventory?
- What must change for you to feel happy?
- What are the things that bother you in life?
- What do you complain about?
- What changes do you wish for or dream about?
Try to give up at least one happiness must, even it if it a small one and see how you feel.
Something Amazing Happens When You Give Up A Must
When we learn to let go of one of our expectations for happiness, we begin to feel greater happiness. Letting go of these expectations frees up our energies to live life. Chasing after happiness takes a lot of energy. On top of this, our happiness musts keep us focused on what we are lacking rather than on what we have. Letting them go, helps us to live a more peaceful life. Why not start downsizing the demands you put on your happiness?