I’ll Be Happy When…

How many times have you heard; “I’ll be happy when…”?

I don’t recall how many times I’ve heard someone say causally; “I’ll be happy when I get that job”, “I’ll be happy when this is all over”,  “When the kids are grown”, “When I finish this work”, “When I’m with [someone]”, or “When I get some more money”..? These are such common things to be grateful for, however looking at the language of what people say everyday – are we making our happiness conditional?

Taking a step back, saying “I’ll be happy when / if” sends a message – whether true or false – that you’re not currently happy. If you’re not currently happy, then there’s the chance that you’ll get stuck in the  loop only be happy when you reach that job, relationship, financial status etc. The loop completes when – not long after gaining what will “make you happy” – another condition is put in place. “Well, now that I have that job, I’ll actually be really happy once I get that [pay rise, transfer, bonus etc]”.

My suggestion is to avoid using the term “I’ll be happy when / if” and any other condition on your being happy. Kids get it – they can be unconditionally happy, and can love unconditionally. Why not try being happy now? For some that is a real stretch, so my thoughts on that is it write down what would have you happy. Sometimes it’s as tricky as asking; “What is success?”. The answer is different for every single person. Over-achievers get stuck in their own cycle of pushing further and working harder to become successful, without ever defining what is success to them. We are far too often stuck in a world where we are given ideas that aren’t our own about certain things, such as the importance of name-brands, super model bodies and constructs of what makes people of TV happy and successful.

So if you’ve having difficulties in being happy right now, take the time to define your idea of happiness. Instead of just saying; “Having enough money, being in a healthy relationship, lots of free time” – define it. What is enough money? Is it only $200 / week, or is it $1,000? More? Less? Define a healthy relationship, what it means to you – not someone else. How much is “lots” of free time? 1 hour or 20 hours / week?

I’m interested in hearing some comments about your thoughts. Something in particular that gets up my nose is the images of the stereotype rich girl screaming at her parents for not getting her the right coloured car, and comparing that to the African kids using squashed plastic bottles as shoes laughing and playing with rocks in the dirt…

About Stu Dunn

With a background in sales and behavioural science, I enjoy learning more about people, behaviour, psychology - which led into motivation - and more recently - sales again. Having started my own real estate company with my wife, it's time to merge interests.
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5 Responses to I’ll Be Happy When…

  1. Signal Watcher says:

    Can’t agree more Stu. Happiness as become more of a gratifing sense of achivement, and as you say: it can be car, money, job…etc.The real basis of what stands for happiness has lost gone due to the societies materiality progress. The image you describe is actually what I’m trying to say, and the progress as came to misundertstand the concept of happiness,and micro society (family) as turn on this standard and increasing it, by leading thier children to this disconception and there is a TV station called TLC which has this programm called Tolders and Tiaras. It’s notorious the standards of the family influence on projecting the happiness to the scale of a simple good gratification. Sorry my english.

  2. SDL says:

    Thanks for your comment – great examples 😉 – Stu

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  4. Pam Garcia says:

    This is kind of off subject, but Stu, what is your opinion of the Law of Attraction concept?

  5. SDL says:

    Hi Pam, I think there’s definitely something in the Law of Attraction; “what you think about you bring about”. The movies ‘The Secret’ and ‘What the Bleep’ were excellent at challenging some long standing beliefs and granting people the idea that we’re more in control of our lives that we first thought. However, living life following the Law of Attraction can also be extremely challenging, such as the common one; ‘if my life’s not where I want it to be, it’s my fault as I’m thinking negative thoughts’. This can become a cycle where just someone may think; “just one more product or just one more course, then I’ll get it” – and the money making side of setting people free is revealed.

    To answer your question, I like the construct of the Law of Attraction and have absorbed parts of it into my philosophy, merged in with psychology, martial arts, life experiences etc.

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