To be happy, we often have checklists that read like this:
I will be happy when
- I find my dream job
- my life partner turns into the person I want her to be
- I write and publish my own novel
- I enjoy perfect health
- my children fulfil my expectations
This list is potentially endless. And much like a kidnapper’s list, if only one or two of those conditions are not fulfilled, my happiness would be murdered.
However, here’s something we need to ask ourselves more often:
Despite not having those things above, am I not happy in the moment when I
- hear a toddler’s playful laughter?
- bask in the sun on a warm day?
- sit beside a gurgling stream?
- look up at the sky and smile?
- take a breath of fresh air on a cold morning?
- finish reading a difficult book?
It is interesting how this list is endless as well.
We aren’t happy precisely because of framing happiness as a conditional state. The statment ‘I will be happy when’ holds us hostage to everything that follows it.
The key to resolve this hostage situation is to choose to be happy. Right here. Right now. Just as we are.