The Never-Ending Pursuit of Happiness

By Leila Edwards

Girl in nature pexels-photo

I was having a conversation with a lovely client recently regarding the never-ending pursuit of happiness. This chat sparked me to write a blog post about it because I think it’s a subject that applies to all of us in one way or another… Why?

All humans have one thing in common – we all want to be happy…

But instead of being happy on a daily basis, we wait. We live our lives waiting for that time in the future we have everything we ever wanted – and only THEN, will we be happy.

Girl looking at watch - stocksnap

What are you waiting for?


I refer to it as getting stuck in the “I’ll be happy when…” trap. You know what I’m talking about. I’ll be happy when…

+ I lose weight

+ I get married

+ We buy our dream home

+ I can afford a fancy car

+ I get that job promotion

+ I receive a pay rise

+ I have kids

+ My kids leave home

+ I have more friends

+ I can buy the latest xyz…

But this isn’t normally the case… Sure, having these “things” will probably make us feel happy in the short-term, but then soon enough we are seeking something else to fill the happiness void. I’m making it sound like we’re being greedy but let me assure you, it’s totally natural.

So how do we conquer this never-ending feeling of want/unhappiness? We need to appreciate and take note of the little things that bring joy to our lives on a daily basis (not just the big ticket items). Enjoy the journey, not just wait until something big and wonderful happens before we allow ourselves to be happy.

This is the key to finding happiness and feeling truly content.

You’ll often hear quotes such as “Happiness is a direction, not a place” or “Happiness is a journey, not a destination”. Which are great reminders to stop waiting and make the decision to be happy NOW.

If you’ve ever worked with me, you’ll know that when it comes to goal setting I’m a firm believer in the notion that ‘you’re not chasing the goal, you are chasing a feeling you hope reaching the goal will give you’. Danielle LaPorte, amazing author of The Desire Map* got me onto this new way of thinking (if you haven’t read her book yet, I highly recommend it!).

Your goal might be that you want to lose weight – but is that all you want? Or do you want to lose weight so that you can FEEL healthy. Light. Energized. Sexy. Confident (insert your feeling of choice here!). Perhaps you want a career change? Do you really want a new job though or do you just yearn to feel free/creative/respected/innovative/empowered? If that’s the case, then maybe you don’t need to quit your job in order to feel those feelings, perhaps you can create those feelings by sourcing them elsewhere… or maybe it’s up to you to come up with some ideas and present them to your boss so that you can start feeling this way at work.

It’s about making simple improvements and implementing small things into your day in order for you to feel the way you want to feel as often as possible. What small changes can you make right now that will make you feel the way YOU want to feel? The secret to feeling ‘joy’ or ‘happiness’ is that you have to feel and create joy now. As Danielle LaPorte explains in The Desire Map* “The journey has to reflect your destination. You can’t ‘suck it up’ on your way to JOY. You can’t ‘crank’ your way to EASE. Or ‘fight’ your way to PEACE. If what you are chasing is JOY, the process has to be joyful. What can you do right this minute to help you feel that way?”

So YES absolutely set and strive to achieve your goals – I would love to help you do this! – But don’t attach your happiness to the end result.  Instead, try switching your focus to feeling happiness throughout the whole journey. Of course life is always going to be filled with challenges and obstacles and sometimes feeling happy isn’t always possible – afterall, life is about experiencing hundreds of different emotions. But this is YOUR life and if we’re not making a conscious choice – and it really is a choice – to be happy then we are just enduring life as opposed to really living and enjoying it.


How can you evoke the feelings that you want to feel every day?

+ Doing things that you love to do on a daily basis. Write a list of things that you LOVE doing (I do this exercise with all of my clients). Are you doing at least one thing off this list every day? If not, start now!

+ Set heart-centred goals that are in alignment with how you want to feel. Ensuring that the action steps that you need to take in order to reach your goal are going to make you feel the way you hope to feel when you achieve the end result – not just at the end but the WHOLE way through

+ Taking the time to enjoy and appreciate the little moments that bring you daily joy.  A beautiful flower, a child’s laughter, stepping out into nature, finding a great bargain, a meaningful chat with a friend…

+ Learn from life’s obstacles and find hidden messages in the challenges (including challenging relationships). By this I don’t mean analyse every situation or place blame on others – I mean look for ways to grow, learn and expand. How did this experience make you a better person? What did you learn about yourself? What lesson was that relationship meant to teach you? Always find little gems in the good and the bad experiences that life throws at us.

+ Presence and gratitude. Presence and gratitude. Presence and gratitude. Incorporate exercises into your daily routine that encourage you to live in the present moment: Practising mindfulness, meditation, breathing techniques. Keeping a Gratitude Diary – writing down at least three things daily that you are grateful for –  can really help you to focus on the positive and wonderful things that we do have in our lives as opposed to focusing on the negative and/or what’s lacking.

 

Happiness gratitude - stevemarabolidotcom

“If you want to find happiness, find gratitude”. – Steve Maraboli


I hope you enjoyed this post! Did it resonate with you? Are you stuck in the “I’ll be happy when…” trap? Tell me about it in the comments, I’d love to hear from you. As always, if you know someone who would be interested in reading this article then please share the love by clicking on the below share buttons x

*This is an affiliate link where I will receive a small kickback if you purchase through my link – I will only ever promote, share and associate myself with products and people that I believe in.

{IMAGE CREDITS} Cover image 1 via Pexels | Image 2 via Stock Snap | Image 3 via Steve Maraboli




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