Why You Don’t Have to Wait to Be Happy | Blog
Why You Don’t Have to Wait to Be Happy | Blog
I was speaking with a leader that is currently waiting for her promotion to take place. She's very excited about the new job role and is anxious to get started. However, due to finding a replacement and training, it will be a couple of months before she can officially move into the new role. She is trying to be patient and tolerant but often struggles with feeling unmotivated and bored.
Not too long ago, I was also speaking with a successful serial entrepreneur that is working on a current project yet has already started to get excited about the next idea. They need to stay engaged and focused on their current situation so it can transition smoothly and be set up for success. However, they are feeling annoyed because they would like to move on.
When our happiness, fulfillment or contentment looks like it is dependent on the “next thing” or the “better thing” we can set ourselves up for feeling unsatisfied, restless and impatient.
A friend and I were talking about a new move she is getting ready to make and she was saying, “I just need to be patient and tolerate things until I can move.” This hit me. We can start to feel like we are in the “in-between” time. That we just have to wait it out then we can be happy or fulfilled.
When it looks like happiness or fulfillment is dependent on something changing, we can live in a feeling of limbo or waiting. Or as the examples above illustrate, we feel frustrated, bored & unhappy. We start to fantasize about the future and what life will be like when we get that promotion, change homes, get that client, relationship or end a project. We start to believe that we have to wait.
What if happiness, fulfillment & being content is not dependent on anything changing? What if we can be happy and enjoy ourselves and our lives right now? Is there value in doing this?
I ask this because when I was first encouraged by a mentor to enjoy my life as is, I struggled. I kept thinking, “He just wants me to settle.” And that sounded horrible. What I didn't know, was how much my discontent was robbing me of more joy, lightness, connection and fulfillment along the way. I didn't see how much, “It will be better when..” was creating a low hum of dissatisfaction in my life.
I didn't see the illusion of “waiting” or the “in-between” time.
I often hear something similar or an underlying concern with my clients. They worry if they don't want it bad enough, or stay vigilant about the next thing, they will become passive. They worry that they will get complacent. Like I did, they think if they allow themselves to feel content and happy as things are they are giving up on themselves or their lives in some way.
Yet, this is not what has played out for me or others. In fact, the exact opposite seems to happen. When we see that happiness, contentment, fulfillment is available now and not dependent on circumstances, we naturally begin to live in a different internal climate. We experience more feelings of hopefulness, well-being, insight and creativity. We enjoy people more and we enjoy life more.
And surprisingly, that new internal climate is highly generative. It is not passive at all. The fruits (ideas, creativity, connections) that come from this new space and climate are rich with fresh perspective and a stronger sense of ourselves.
Seeing the illusion of waiting for things to change before we can experience joy, love, connection, fulfillment wakes us up to the richness of life right now. Right now, there is infinite potential to experience any of these and so much more.
When we live in dissatisfaction or we grasp for a particular outcome or circumstance before we allow ourselves to be happy, our minds get consumed by the need for something to change. This grasping or waiting has a debilitating effect. It limits our options and our potential for more to be available right now, as is.
When we stop waiting and stop grasping, we naturally tap into more creativity and possibilities. All of the sudden, waiting months, days or even hours before we will allow ourselves to be happy no longer makes sense. We see that contentment, happiness, satisfaction is generative. It's full of new and fresh and well-being.
In a freer, more present, less grasping mind, we fall into our well-being. We fall into grace, joy, connection. We do not need to manufacture these states, they are innate and natural.
We discover, for ourselves, how incredibly generative it is. We see the fruits of this new climate, immediately in both profound and practical ways. We begin to move through our work and lives with more resourcefulness, connection and fulfillment.
“Contentment, happiness & satisfaction are highly generative. They are full of new ideas, creativity and well-being.”
Stop waiting for a reason to be happy and allow yourself to experience the richness of your life as it is now.
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Barbara Patterson is the owner of a global coaching and consulting company helping solopreneurs, entrepreneurs & leaders access more clarity, creativity, have greater impact and higher levels of fulfillment in work and life. She is the founder of Beyond Limits in Business, a global platform and community designed to point people to the source of human potential. That potential resides within and is experienced via our minds. Barb is also the host of the Real Business Real Lives podcast. You can follow Barb on Linkedin and Insta