How Being Happy When… Becomes Being Happy While…

“The future is always beginning now.” — Mark Strand

Do you experience a nagging feeling that something is missing from your life? Are you looking for something to happen at the right time, in just the right way? Or, are you waiting for someone to be who you want them to be? Do you want the future, whatever it is, to come now because you feel it’s better there?

For many people, this is how they live their lives — wishing for something to change and holding off happiness with an iron fist until it does. We need to know something, however. Perfection, the future, and depending on others to produce our happiness are all illusions. They are merely ideas in our minds. These concepts don’t exist in reality at all. 

What if the career you so badly want never comes? What if the spouse you are fighting so hard with to change his or her habits stays the way they are? What then? You are still not happy. You have focused all your time and energy into fostering built-up frustration and anger, all the while pushing happiness further to some indefinite and unpromised time in the future. You spend days, months, and years stewing and steaming about why things shouldn’t be the way they are.

When you wait to be happy when… or to be happy if… you are refusing to make the most of your life now and you are automatically closing the door to the possibility of the very thing you want. Living this way produces anxiety — waiting until things come together a certain, perfect way in a certain, perfect time.

Imagine what would happen if you quit waiting for happiness to come from people and things. What if your “when” turned to “while”?

Being happy WHILE you wait for that career change.
Being happy WHILE you anticipate your spouse or friend changing their habits.
Being happy WHILE you wait to be accepted into your dream school.
Being happy WHILE you are where you are right now.
Being happy WHILE you’re doing what you’re doing right now.
Being happy WHILE you’re in whatever situation you’re in or going through whatever you’re going through right now.

Not WHEN… Not IF… But WHILE…

This is how you get things. This is when situations and people change. Not by your pushing and prodding and ruining your own life in the process. But by choosing to be happy while…

Anticipation is a killjoy. Being happy while you wait for things to get better or for people to do better ensures two things: that you’ll still be happy when they do get better and you’ll still have your happiness even if they don’t change a bit.

The best years of your life are the ones in which you make good decisions. You do not blame others. You face reality and you live in reality. The future will be good so long as you make it good. It’s your responsibility not to control things or people but to choose happiness not for them, but for YOU.

“Men spend their lives in anticipations, in determining to be vastly happy at some period when they have time. But the present time has one advantage over every other – it is our own. Past opportunities are gone, future have not come. We may lay in a stock of pleasures, as we would lay in a stock of wine; but if we defer the tasting of them too long, we shall find that both are soured by age.” — Charles Caleb Colton Thought Catalog Logo Mark


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