This week, for the first time in ages, I heard someone mention the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s had me thinking a lot about the pots of gold in our lives (love a nice metaphor!) – we travel towards these pots, but the part where we are completely happy, satisfied and content (getting to the pots!) never seems to come!
In our world there is this sense of yearning for the next stage in order to be happy….we are waiting for that new job, and then we get the new job and we think “I’ll be happy if I just get the dog”. Then we get the dog and we think “I’ll definitely be happy when just get a house. We get the house....etc.
Getting to the next stage will not make you happy. The only thing that will really make you happy is YOU. Wherever you are in life, whatever is going on and whoever you are, your mindset is the only real factor in making yourself happy.
- Becoming happy in who you are
- Feeling grateful for what you have
- Appreciating there are good and bad bits of everything
- Be in the now and keep moving.
We all have insecurities, we all have things about ourselves we’d like to improve – and that’s cool! We’re human and we weren’t born to be perfect. It’s healthy to want to learn, improve yourself and grow (having a growth mindset is actually very on trend at the moment guys!!). What’s not helpful, however, are those voices in your head that like to bring you down or say mean things. So next time they start to pop up, put them in the sentence “my thoughts are telling me that….” – the detachment can help remind you that they’re not real and they have NO authority in your life. I also like to talk to these voices – “thanks, but I don’t need your opinion. I’m just fine.”
The old saying goes “Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.” It’s great that we are ambitious, and brave enough to aim for things we don’t have yet. But also….we already have a HUGE amount right now – in fact many of those things we have, are what we once yearned for! And yet those things now have become trivial because we have got used to them (aka Hedonic Adaptation). This seemingly obvious human trait can reduce our happiness levels soooo much! We can, however, combat it with GRATITUDE!
If I challenged you to write down 50 things you’re grateful for, you might get to 6 and wonder how you’re going to get the other 44. But keep going and you’ll get to things like fresh air, running water, electricity, being able to walk, having a coat when it's cold, being able to wash every day, having healthcare, living in a safe country etc….things we take for granted, that so many people in the world don’t have right now.
When we hope for these future things, we imagine them to be perfect…but when was anything ever perfect?!?!? Every single thing, opportunity, person, etc will have both good and bad points. You might have a new puppy which is cute and happy and fluffy and friendly, but maybe it poops in the house or whines at night. Maybe you got that new job and you love the work but it requires tiring, long hours. Nothing is perfect but there are always positives. Humans are programmed to look at the bad (it’s a survival technique) but we can reprogram our brains to focus on the positives. By constantly looking at the good things and reminding ourselves of what joy they bring to us, we will form a new habit of seeing the good!
Our present is the only thing we will ever really experience - we can worry about the future and fret about the past but that can bring about immense suffering. A vast percentage of the things we worry about never happen….soooo was it worth that anguish? Probably not. We also like to stress about things that happened in the past, but my theory is “can you change it? If yes, then do. If not, then don’t worry!”. We can be so tied up in those things that we forget to experience today, right now. The smells, the tastes, the music, the sounds, the people, the weather. It’s awesome that we want to keep looking ahead and aspiring to reach things but we must not forget what is happening here and now. Focus on what makes you happy right now and you will always live in a happy moment.
So choose to make these decisions. Keep your mindset healthy and appreciate today as it comes! Happiness only exists in the present (it doesn’t exist in the future) and only YOU have the power to seize that joy for yourself.