“To attract something that you want, become as joyful as you think that thing would make you. The joy, not the thing, is the point.” — Martha Beck
How would you finish this sentence? I’ll be totally happy once I ___________________.
There are a million ways people tend to fill in the blank. I’ll be totally happy once I:
…get a new job
…find a man
…move to another city
…get a promotion
…earn more money
…win the lottery
…take a vacation
Everyone has their own set of goals. But if we’re really honest with ourselves, happiness is always the ultimate goal, we just hope the accomplishments we get along the way will make us so.
Think about it.
Why do you want to earn more money? Because you think it will make you happy.
Why do you want to lose weight? So you can look better, feel better…and be happy.
Why do you want to be married? So you can have someone to share your life with and be happy.
Many of the things we say we want are simply items, relationships or accomplishments that we think will bring about happiness in our lives. At least, we hope they will.
But I’m sure you know people who have all these things and are still miserable.
Why? Because they focus so much on getting to the next thing or on what’s still jacked up in their lives that they never focus on appreciating what they already have. They never focus on actually being happy.
It’s like this weird game of delayed gratification we play with ourselves. It’s like we won’t allow ourselves to be completely happy until we reach certain milestones, and even then whatever contentment we derive from that is quickly overshadowed by the race to the next goal or the fact that someone else has a better life than we do.
One problem is that the way we view happiness is in relation to others. Grama used to always warn me and my sister about trying to “keep up with the Joneses,” which just meant that instead of worrying about what the next person has, we should be grateful for what we had been blessed with.
In my own life, I’ve been thinking a lot about why I quit my job to work for myself as a consultant. I didn’t do it to make more money, but sometimes it seems like that’s all I worry about. If I get one more new client, I’ll make more money and then I’ll be happy. While I’m doing pretty well for myself so far, the money certainly isn’t guaranteed like that direct deposit I was getting in my account from my full-time job every month.
But the freedom I have now is priceless. It’s what I really wanted the whole time. Happiness for me right now is having the time and the energy to do what I want to do, when I want to do it. It’s not about getting to the next level. This IS the next level. And I’m reminding myself to enjoy every moment of it. Because the joy, not the thing, is the point.