• Stop pursuing a phantom perfection!

    May 26, 2016 | curtrosengren


    One of the biggest happiness-crushing mistakes I see people make can be boiled down to four little words:

    “I’ll be happy when…”

    I’ll be happy when I find the perfect job. I’ll be happy when I have more money. I’ll be happy when my spouse communicates better. I’ll be happy when I lose ten pounds.

    In pursuit of the phantom perfection

    Here’s the thing. When you live a life of “I’ll be happy when,” it will never, ever, (did I mention ever?) be good enough.

    You will always acclimate to what’s good and see more of what’s not working. That’s just the way your (and my, and your neighbor’s) brain works. “I’ll be happy when” is a surefire recipe for dissatisfaction, because even when “when” arrives, it never stays put, and there’s always the desire for another “when” waiting in the wings to take its place.

    So what’s the solution? Stop abandoning today in pursuit of a tomorrow that doesn’t actually exist. Stop neglecting what’s good today in the hope that you might experience what’s good tomorrow.

    Instead, start building your happiness in the present moment. Create a self-contained happiness that isn’t so dependent on circumstances.

    Develop a grounding practice like meditation to keep yourself centered. Practice mindfulness. Cultivate a gratitude practice. Make it a habit to look for what’s good. Reach out and connect with people. Make it a habit to continually look for ways to help and make a difference. Treat your body well.

    Aim high (but don’t put your happiness on hold)

    That doesn’t mean you should just give up any aspirations for improvement. Far from it. It simply means you should be realistic about what that improvement can deliver. Aim high. Improve. Seek big changes. But don’t put your happiness on hold waiting for them to come.

    Instead of grasping for a potentially perfect (but imaginary) tomorrow, start building a foundation today so you can experience tomorrow more fully, with more joy and contentment, whether “when” has come or not.

    Your life will never be perfect. You might experience momentary vignettes of perfection, but inevitably those will start to fray around the edges, leaving you primed for another round of “I’ll be happy when.”

    Like what you see? Subscribe to this blog here!