I use the app Insight Timer for meditations, and this morning I listened to one titled "Finding Happiness Right Where You Are," and I thought why not?
The woman had a very strong European accent, which always makes a person sound more intelligent and proper. She said, "Do you believe that your happiness is just around the next corner? Once you're married? Once you move to a new city? Once you become more successful? Once you have kids? Or, once your kids are out of the house?
I really felt she was calling me out here, besides the children thing. I replayed the scenes of my past and noticed that "happiness" has always been around the next corner. When I move away THEN I'll be happy. When I meet my partner in life THEN I'll be happy. When I have a house THEN I'll be happy. When I'm making enough money to support myself as a writer THEN I'll be happy.
But it's all a bunch of social conditioning BS if you ask me.
Think of the people you surround yourself with, are they happy in their current circumstances? Or are they saying if they could just... get married, have a kid, move here, get more money, have a better smile, be with so-and-so, leave so-and-so, start a new job...
There will always be something.
The people we surround ourselves with make such a big impact on our lives. It actually influences the way we see the world and what's possible. I watch a lot of people whose mindsets I'm inspired by through TED Talks, inspirational videos, documentaries, and books. I'll probably always do that because I enjoy learning, but one person I listen to often is Will Smith.
He said that his wife's biggest revelation was that you can't make another person happy. He said he "retired" from trying to make his wife happy because he couldn't make her happy. Watch the video here, it's worth the 2 minutes and 31 seconds.
I adopted that concept into my life and relationships because I don't want to fall under the facade that "when X happens" I will be happy. Placing one person's happiness on another individual is possibly the frailest and most impossible thing we can do to those we whom we love.
When we sign up for life-long commitments in marriage or partnership, we're signing up to co-create in life. Together. Each individual finds their own happiness and contentment. Together, they make each other better and probably also really annoyed and angry as well, at times. But I had to learn that no man would ever make me "happy." Happiness is an internal job.
And I happily accept.
Do you know how freeing it is to realize that your happiness isn't "out there?" Floating around in the atmosphere with a double-paned glass wall between you and "it." Whatever "it" is that would possibly make you "happier." It is a mindset shift toward, as my sister would say, "what's going well" currently in life instead of "what's not going well."
Because there will always be things to come after each of those statements: What's going well and what's not going well. There will always be the next level, the next thing, the unfortunate thing, the sad thing, the happy thing, and always that ten pounds to lose.
Releasing oneself from the crushing pressures of constantly striving to make it "to the next level" is something I cannot say I've mastered, far from it. I have attained certain things in my life that I believed once I got _____, I would be happy and content. But when I got _____, there was the next thing. And then something else, inevitably, falls apart.
I think the only thing that will ever make us content is tiny little moments of gratitude.
Today, I am grateful for elderberry tea that my mother dropped off for me as I've been sick. I filled the wire tea steeper with little purple berries and watched as the boiling water swirled into a mauve liquid. Then I sat down, with all my body aches and judgments towards myself, and smiled-- feeling grateful for mothers who bring elderberry tea.