The above title is a sentence stem taken from Jamie Smart’s ‘The Little Book of Clarity’. Actually, I’ve been wanting to write about this since a few days and coincidently Jamie’s book came in the mail. Apparently, it is a gift for me which is very kind of him. So let’s start from my teen days, what I thought would make me happy as follows:
From Teens to Twenties
I’ll be happy when I have a girlfriend
I’ll be happy when I have a degree
I’ll be happy when I can study full time in a university
I’ll be happy when I’m good at English
I’ll be happy when I have the confidence like other people
I’ll be happy when I don’t need to work anymore
I’ll be happy when I can speak English using difficult or sophisticated words
I’ll be happy when I can write well
I’ll be happy when I’m as smart or intelligent as my friend/colleague/classmate
I’ll be happy when I’m confident as my friend/colleague/classmate
I’m not going to talk about each and every line above. However, would like to focus on the first one. One day, I was in my office working and I think I saw a photo in the local paper where a man was delivering a bouquet of flowers. Apparently, it was Valentine’s Day and immediately a few thoughts popped up in my head, I’m growing older and I still don’t have a girlfriend. I should have at least one before I’m married. Lo and behold, after a year or so, I did have one and guess what. Was I happy? No, I wasn’t. Was it all bad? Of course not, I had many good times and bad ones too. Me and my girlfriend would usually argue and worry about finances and our future together. Whether we would get married or not? Whether her parents would accept me? How I had to stand on my feet before asking her parents for her hand in marriage? Etc. etc. Before having a partner, I thought I would be happy only after I’ve had one. But after I had one, I wasn’t always happy. In fact, there was a time, I was so fed up with the relationship, I couldn’t take it anymore and had to eventually break it off. At the time, of course, she looked like the baddie. But what I know today, I don’t think she was the cause of my happiness or for that matter unhappiness.
If we think ‘I’ll be happy when…’, then Jamie says this is a life-damaging misunderstanding. In other words, we think happiness comes from outside. Some of you might say, why so serious. Why life-damaging? It’s normal to think this way. Yes, many of us do think like this and that’s why we are never happy. Always dissatisfied. We always think, okay now happiness will come. Very soon. It’s around the corner. But if we continue thinking in this way, even when we reach to the end of our lives, we will still remain unhappy and die unhappy. Wouldn’t it be sad, if at our deathbed, we still felt that way? Wouldn’t you consider that to be life-damaging misunderstanding? If happiness is somewhere out there, then why was I still unhappy when I had got what I wanted. You might say, oh because this girl wasn’t the right one, she was stupid, demanding, had high expectations or whatever. And what I’m trying to say is - happiness is within all of us and comes from inside and it isn’t dependent on any person, circumstance or thing. Even if I got another girl, I would still feel happy at times and not so happy at other times.
Now let’s go to the more recent list of things, I think will make me happy as follows:
From Twenties to Present day
I’ll be happy when I make video blogs / write blogs
I’ll be happy when I making enough money from this business
I’ll be happy when I have enough clients
I’ll be happy when I have enough time
I’ll be happy when I work 3 days a week
I’ll be happy when I quit my job
I’ll be happy when I have a thriving coaching business
I’ll be happy when I can easily enroll people
I have my website. I make videos. I write blogs. I work 3 days a week. I have enough time to myself. Then why am I not always happy? Because I’m coming to realize more and more happiness is not emitted from things I once thought or still think would/will make me happy. I’m happy at times and at times I’m not. And why? Because happiness is not in my video/written blogs, happiness is not in having more time to myself and happiness is certainly not in 3 days work. We are happiness, happiness is within us, the second we are born, we have this innate capacity. So if we are made up of happiness, it is obviously within us. And if we are not feeling happiness is because there’s something going on in our heads. Too much thinking. Oh, I’m unhappy with my job because my boss is stupid or he/she doesn’t understand me or I’m unhappy because I still haven’t got that promotion etc. etc. We think there’s a link, but believe me, there isn’t. If there was, then after getting a companion, I should have been happy. After making video blogs I should have been happy, after working thrice a week I should have been happy. But there have been times when I was a happy camper and there were times when I wasn’t. And it’s all because of what I was thinking in the moment. If you have unhappy thoughts you are unhappy and if u have happy thoughts you are happy. That’s how it works. Inside out. It may seem like bad news, but it’s not. Our happiness is not reliant on anything outside so whether we get it or not, it doesn’t matter. Isn’t that a relief? We all can now relax and enjoy wherever we are or whatever we are doing and don’t need to wait for someday when we have the desired situation, person or thing in our lives to be happy. Happiness is here and now and it’s within us. Isn’t it great? God has already bestowed us with this beautiful gift. Now, if we get anything out there in the world or not, it doesn’t matter. We can still be happy and at peace. Now if we all knew that happiness doesn’t come from anything outside of me. In fact, it is me, how much fun would it be to create whatever we want in our lives. Now imagine, you could create anything in the world and not worry about it making you happy. Whether you achieve it or not it doesn’t matter because your happiness is not dependent on that thing, person or situation. If that was the case, what would you like to have in your life? Think about it (not too hard, casually).
If you'd like you could share your thoughts with me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I would be more than happy to hear from you.
Take care and have fun!