The pursuit of happiness
Happiness is not dependent on circumstances. We think it is but it isn’t.
We think we will be happy when we pay off the mortgage. Or the kids get to school. Or we finally make the leap to a job that is in line with our passion. Or our behind is in the size 10 jeans.
All those things are good things to want. And we should move towards them. Confidently. Boldly. Bravely. But we should never forget they are circumstantial determinants of happiness. They make our happiness dependent on a thing outside ourselves, something that is future tense when, of course, what we want is to be happy NOW. And all happiness really actually is, is a series of tiny individual moments of happiness in the NOW, threaded together, like a string of pearls.
There is much more happiness accessible right now if we look hard. It’s accessible on the way to the mortgage being paid off and the size 10 jeans. It’s there if you look up as you move towards the job that is your passion and the kids becoming more independent. It’s to be found in the teeny tiny moments that can pass us by if we are so focused on the getting to where we want to be that we miss the little bounces of joy in the now.
Happiness is not a destination. Happiness is being happy on the way to the various destinations we want. Happiness is choosing to be happy for any reason you can find as you work towards your goals. Being grateful for what you have now as you progress towards the more that is coming.
Happiness is about choosing to be happy before you have the thing you think will make you happy. Remember how you felt as a kid on Christmas Eve? When you knew something good was coming your way. You didn’t have it yet, but you knew it was coming so you enjoyed every bit of the lead-up to Christmas. The advent calendar — they didn’t even have chocolates in back then, but it was still so exciting counting down from the first all the way to the 25th. The making of the decorations and the tinsel and getting a stocking ready weeks in advance of Santa’s arrival.
The lead-up to Christmas, the anticipation, was just as good, if not better, than Christmas Day itself. Filling each day with small moments of joy and gleeful expectation. Enjoying the journey to happiness, before the new bike or whatever was in our hot little hands.
The getting of the thing that was to make us happy was only a very small part of the happiness we experienced. We had a whole month of happiness on the way to getting there. We were actually super-happy before we got the bike under the tree, as we extracted so much happiness from the anticipation of it coming.
And so it is in life. Stringing together small, seemingly inconsequential, moments of happiness as we strive towards our goals. Soaking up the happiness in the now as we move towards the thing we think will deliver us the happiness we seek.
What if happiness is not a pursuit at all? What if happiness is not dependent on our future circumstances? What is happiness is right here, right now. On the way. Woven throughout the journey. What if we commit to enjoying the journey more? Happiness is only available in the now. Grab it with both hands.
Through her online Happiness programme “Wellbeing Warriors”, life coach Louise Thompson helps peopleunlock their happiest and healthiest life. Sign up at louisethompson.com and find more from Louise at bite.co.nz/wellbeing