Bethea's Blog

November 24, 2021 - Be Happy!

This week, I have a question for you as we prepare for the start of our holidays! What does it take to make you happy? Is it more money, spare time, good friends, a better job? Through my many years of advising clients, I have confronted a common theme regarding happiness. In fact, I've come across it so often that I've named it the "I'll be happy when..." syndrome. It is a very common expression that we have all said. "I will be happy when I don't have to get up at 5:30 am to catch the bus to work." "I will be happy when my husband shows more respect for me." "I will be happy when I get my new car." And it goes on and on about a state of mind that remains in the future rather than in the here and now. And after the past two years, the importance of the here and now should be stronger than ever!

Happiness shouldn't be something dangling out there in the world of tomorrow or someday. It isn't a feeling to experience once something else happens. It is something to be experienced now, in this moment. While our anticipation or focus on the future is perfectly fine, connecting happiness to future events can cause us to miss out on any immediate opportunities for joy and fulfillment.

Happiness is more powerful when experienced as an immediate emotion rather than a carrot being dangled in front of us. Interestingly, many people find that when they place future conditions on happiness, even when those conditions are met, they don't feel the pleasure they had expected to. The key is to learn how to let go of the unknown future and the unchangeable past and allow the goodness of the moment to fill you with inner peace. The present moment is all that we have, and when you find meaning and satisfaction in the present, your future will take care of itself.

Happiness means feeling pleasure about what you have right this minute. In any given moment, if we try hard enough, we can find good and positive things to be happy about. Maybe it is simply that the sun is out and shining warmly on our skin or we are enjoying a nice cup of hot tea with a good friend. Or maybe after a tough day at work, we know we have done our very best, or we shared time with a child.

I hope that you are acknowledging the many blessings in your life that make each moment a cause for joy and happiness. And I must warn you that happiness can be contagious, so you just might end up having a positive effect on those around you as well.

Blessings for the season!

Bethea