Is happiness holding you back from being happy?

It sounds crazy, but going after happiness is holding you back from being happy. You’re asked, “What do you want most in life?” Humbly you reply, “I want to be happy.”

It sounds well and good; it’s sweet and it has all the right intentions. But here’s the problem. Using happiness as “the thing you want most” essentially means you’re working towards happiness all the time. It implies that you’re working to be happy because you’re not really happy yet.

But why don’t you have that happiness yet? Why do you have to work so hard to be happy? Why is happiness holding you back from being happy? And most importantly, what’s really the answer to the question of what you want most?

The whole “happiness” thing is a scam.

Yup, you read that correctly, based on everything I just said, using happiness as the thing you want most is a “scam”. Why? Simply because people have the idea that happiness is the end goal. I hear people talk about this kind of stuff all the time.

“I can be happy when I finally have abs.” – Me

“I’ll be happy when I can retire after working my tail off for 40 years at this job I don’t like.” – My parents

“I’ll be happy if I can just get a new car.” – My friends

I mean, really. Why can’t you be happy now?

When we refer to happiness as the end goal, it’s scamming us. It’s robbing us of the perfectly happy times we could be having right now. So seriously, if I can’t be happy until I sacrifice my time at a job I don’t like, change my body to have a 6-pack, or buy a new car that I can’t yet afford, that means I can’t be fully happy until THEN. I’m cheating myself, robbing myself of enjoying the present. Above all, I’m sacrificing my sanity chasing what I think will make me happy? Not cool.

Why doesn’t striving for happiness work?

  • Happiness is an emotion we can feel at any time, no matter our circumstances.
  • Making happiness your goal makes it harder to feel happy right now.
  • Choosing happiness makes us focus on what we DON’T have, not what we DO have.

Let me repeat….

Choosing happiness makes us focus on what we DON’T have, not what we DO have.

We’re already happy.

Most of the time we’re already happy. REALLY! Most of the time we’re already happy. But because we’re looking through a lens of what we don’t have, instead of what we DO, we’re missing out. The pursuit of happiness is holding us back from being happy. We forget that what we have now is what we wanted before. We forget that we worked hard for what we have now because we thought IT would make us happy too. But the cycle repeats. We forget to appreciate what we have now because someone always has something else we don’t.

So, what DOES make you happy?

It absolutely depends on YOU.

What matters to me is going to be wildly different from what matters to you. But, what I do know is that you have to know what makes you happy – so that happiness is actually attainable. Don’t put happiness on material, superficial things that are temporary and fleeting. Put happiness on the things that can be achieved every day.

Are you living too much in the future?

No matter your past and present, we tend to think that the life we’re living isn’t good enough. And when we finally achieve that “thing” that makes us happy, we’ll be “there” and we’ll finally feel accomplished.

Guess what? 90% of the time, that “thing” isn’t what you really wanted in the first place.

Yup, it’s all about getting to what we REALLY want, a.k.a. the motivation behind our goals. When think we want to be “skinnier”, do we actually want to be more confident, outgoing and have more meaningful relationships? Probably!

These 3 things are holding you back. Here’s what to do about it.

Bree?! So now what do I do? If abs and “stuff” don’t make me happy, what will? Don’t worry… I got you! I know I have to leave you with something actionable that you can work on to learn about what makes YOU happy. There are 3 specific things that are holding you back from being happy, and you can work on them right now.

  1. Not figuring out what you really want? – Read this post on not giving up.
  2. Not getting clear on your goals? – Download my free worksheet.
  3. Comparing yourself to others? Read this post on comparing yourself to others and work on creating your personalized healthy lifestyle.

This article was contributed by Bree from Simple Healthy Eats. Bree is a health coach and health food blogger. Check out her blog and Instagram for more.

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