This is one of the biggest lies that we tell ourselves. Happiness cannot come from external milestones or material possessions. It must always come from within.
I once believed that being successful at work would make me happy. If I could just climb the corporate ladder and have that glorified title, I would surely be happy. Wouldn’t I?
What I didn’t know at the time is that…
Happiness cannot come from accolades, paychecks, or the amount of possessions you own. (tweet that)
Happiness is in the little moments each day that can easily be missed if you are only focused on achievement and not enjoying your life for what it is, but what you want it to be.
We all like to dream about the future and all of the possibilities and potential it holds. While setting goals and pushing forward to achieve them is a crucial component of creating the future you envision for yourself, it’s all too easy to become fixated on what can be, instead of what is.
Becoming so focused on the future that you can’t appreciate what you already have in the present is a dangerous mindset to be in. For tomorrow, next month, and next year are never promised. We must learn how to dream for tomorrow while still enjoying what today has to offer us, which is certainly easier said than done.
A few simple steps to walk through as you learn to embrace today’s happiness:
Step 1: Come to terms with what happiness is not
Happiness is not:
- a new car
- a trip to the Bahamas
- a six figure income
- a huge house with a wrap-around porch
While feelings of excitement and enjoyment may surely be experienced during these moments, those feelings are fleeting and not sustainable over an extended period of time.
For example, you come back from your trip to the Bahamas and within only a few days time that “refreshed” and “happy” feeling has left you as you enter back into the grind of everyday.
Feelings of excitement should be not be confused with true happiness. True happiness is something that cannot be purchased, but something that must be chosen, each and every day.
Step 2: Identify your happy moments
What IS happiness then?
Happiness is those little moments, the unassuming ones that you don’t think much of at the time but you catch yourself reminiscing about later on. Don’t get me wrong, while I would enjoy a trip to the Bahamas as much as anyone else would, happiness (fortunately) cannot be purchased.
This is what happiness may look like for me on any given day:
- Driving with my favorite country music playing
- Slowly sipping a piping hot cup of coffee
- When my baby girl smiles at me with her big gummy grin
- Trying out a new recipe that ends up being absolutely delicious
Enjoying these small moments is something I have to work at every. single. day. It’s so easy to allow yourself to get overwhelmed with how many directions you are being pulled in or with what you’d like to get done that you don’t take the time to just stop, breathe, and enjoy life as it is.
Step 3: Accept my challenge
Stop telling yourself you’ll be happy when something specific happens, or once you have acquired something that is material in nature.
Instead, try focusing on the happy moments that already exist in your day. There is joy to be found in those simple moments, they just need to be realized.