In our society, we’re conditioned from a young age to believe happiness is a result
When we get an A in school, then our parents will be happy, and so will we.
When we win the Little League game [you can fill in any sport here], then we’ll be happy.
When we finally have a lot of money, or no longer have to worry about money, then we’ll be happy.
When we get that new job, then we’ll be happy.
When we get married, then we’ll be happy.
When we get that new car, then we’ll be happy.
I could go on, but I think you get the picture
I call this “I’ll be happy when” syndrome and you know what, it’s a myth.
Happiness is not a result of being, doing, or having anything. Does that mean all of these things can’t make us happy? Absolutely not… they can… and that may be one of the reasons we begin to associate them with happiness. That may be why, by the time we reach adulthood, we’re convinced happiness comes as a result of being, doing, or having something.
But the research shows otherwise
Studies have shown that people who suffer a tragic accident and become paraplegics, and people who win the lottery, both typically return to the same level of happiness. There’s something known as The Adaptation Principle that suggests we tend to adapt to whatever happens in our lives. While we may experience a fleeting “high” or extreme happiness as the result of being, doing, or acquiring something, that happiness doesn’t last. We eventually level off again to our normal level of happiness.
Research also shows we’re not good at predicting what will make us happy, or sad. We expect good things to make us happy and bad things to make us sad, and that’s often not the way things pan out. Think of all the times you’ve heard someone who has experienced a tragedy say it’s the best thing that ever happened to them.
Research also indicates that only 10% of our happiness is a result of our circumstances, while 40% is due to our attitude toward those circumstances. Yes, that means we can choose to be happy, and in fact, that choice accounts for a significantly higher percentage of our happiness.
Happiness is a Choice… NOT a Result
So why do so many people feel as though happiness eludes them? Why do so many people keep trying to be, do, and have more believing when they do then they’ll be happy? Why do so many people look at others and wish they could have what they have, believing if they did, then they’d be happy?
The answer is quite simple: CONDITIONING. We’ve been conditioned since childhood to seek success and strive for more, with the underlying message being that’s what will make us happy. We’ve been surrounded by messages our entire lives that constantly reinforce this conditioning, in advertising, reality TV, social media, the personal development industry, and more.
It’s time to claim our happiness
We can do so right now, today, exactly where we are. We don’t need to be, do, or have anything else in order to do so. It’s our birthright. We can choose to be happy right now regardless of our circumstances, or we can continue to be unhappy because of what we don’t have.
Which do YOU choose?