I was talking to a friend yesterday who is going through a lot of stress and she basically was telling me how unhappy she felt. I noticed that she kept referring to when this happens I will be… If that happens I will be…
In other words happiness would happen at some time in the future given certain conditions.
As I was talking to her I recalled that I had a book on the subject that had helped me enormously when I was going through a similar period myself. I found the book this morning hidden away at the back of a – rather dusty I have to admit – bookshelf. The book “Happiness Now! – Timeless wisdom for feeling good FAST” by Robert Holden.
I will have to get the book to her today but as I flicked through I recalled much of the wisdom contained therein.
Here I will quote directly from the book to give a flavour.
You Only Live Once…
Your whole life is not in front of you – it is here – NOW!
After years of studying stress, I have concluded that one of the biggest causes of stress is that we wait for happiness to happen. We think happiness is not for now; rather, we see it as a reward we work to, struggle after and suffer for, in the hope that one day it will happen. Following this erroneous train of thought, today becomes a day for well-behaved hardship, noble suffering, mild martyrdom and quiet desperation, and tomorrow, maybe, we might be happy. I believe however, that
to be happy, you have to lose the ‘wait problem’!
Conditions will get no better in the future for as long as you are waiting around to be happy. Indeed, it’s only when you stop waiting that conditions begin to improve. I remember how all through my teenage years and early twenties I had this fantasy that life would get better in about eighteen months time or so. I remember how I used to think that I would be less shy, more confident, more successful and probably world famous! I was convinced that something wonderful and special would happen to me.
I had nothing concrete to base these feelings upon; I just hoped that when eighteen months had passed, life would have ironed out its problems for me and I would be a lot happier. What I experienced, however, was thatthe eighteen months never came any closer – no matter how much time elapsed, the eighteen months always seemed eighteen months away. I finally, painfully, began to realise that, in order to be happy, I had to participate more fully in my life – now. In other words,
to be happy, you have to give up ‘when’ for ‘now’!
A good exercise is to take two pieces of paper and write on the top of one, ‘I’ll be happy when ….’ and on top of the other, ‘I’ll be happy if …..’ Now complete the list. When do you thing you will be happy? ‘When’ are you hanging on for? And what ‘if’ has to happen before you choose to be happy? Keep writing and writing, and see how many conditions you have tried to convince yourself you need before you can start smiling.
‘You only live once…’ has a double meaning. It refers to the idea that this moment in time will only ever happen once. Make a point, therefore, of knowing what the date is today, because this date is a one-off. Today will never, ever happen again. Bearing this in mind, how will you choose to live today? Today is not a practice run – the game is on already!
‘You only live once …’ also refers to the ‘wait problem’ and the fact that we are only ever preparing to be happy instead of being happy. In other words, you only start to really live once … work is over, it’s Saturday night, the holidays are here, you have some money, you fall in love, you get married, you buy a home, your mortgage is finally paid, your pension plan matures, etc. But even then you can’t be happy, not until the grandchildren get a good education!
What are you waiting for before you give yourself fully to this world? More support, maybe? More confidence? More authority? More opportunity? More qualifications? Can you see that:
Whilst you wait, happiness waits.
Whilst you wait, love waits
Whilst you wait, peace waits
Whilst you wait, freedom waits
Whilst you wait, opportunity waits
Whilst you wait, the world waits
Whilst you wait, we all wait
The ‘wait and see’ sickness is simply fear. ‘ What if I stop waiting and go for it, and then I fail?’ By waiting you fail. By giving yourself fully, you will get all you once waited for – all the support, confidence, authority and opportunity. It happens, when you happen.
Happiness happens when you give yourself fully!
Why wait for what is already here?
Brilliant stuff – and this book is just full of good sound advice. Which is why I must wipe the dust off and get this over to my friend today – yes TODAY – yes NOW!