counseling, psychology, self-help

Are You Putting Your Happiness on Hold? How the Arrival Myth Will Ruin Your Life

Have you been putting your happiness on hold?

Are you waiting on your life circumstances to be just right to finally feel happy?

The concept of the arrival myth is that once you have “arrived” at a certain point in your life, everything will fall into place, and the life you have ALWAYS wanted will begin.

Tell me if any of these sounds familiar:

“Once I am finally in the right relationship…..then I will be happy

“As soon as I get out of debt…. then I will be happy

“Once I am done with school….then I will be happy

“When I lose those 30 pounds…. then I will be happy

“Once my kid gets into college… then I will be happy

“As soon as I get that raise… then I will be happy

“When I finally leave this horrible job…. then I will be happy”

~And the list goes on and on. ~

We put our happiness off to the future to AFTER we reach some future, external goal or event.

The myth of arrival leaves us believing that once we get to this certain point; our life will magically FEEL better. Because that is what the arrival myth is all about. How you feel.

For me, putting my happiness on hold until I reach some external goal or event seems like a surefire way to wake up on my deathbed never having experienced being happy. Human nature, being what it is, we are always going to keep moving the goal post.

There is also no way to ensure that the thing we are wishing for will even have any effect whatsoever on our happiness. This sets us up for pain, when we reach the goal we so longed for, and the happiness we were expecting, never comes.

Imagine losing 30 pounds and still feeling just as depressed…

Imagine having your kid get into their first choice college and still feeling just as anxious….

Imagine getting that huge raise and still feeling just as lonely…..

The reality is accomplishments don’t take away our depression OR anxiety OR our loneliness. Our life will not suddenly be all sunshine and roses once we reach our goal. The myth of arrival has to be one of the most happiness stealing mindsets around. It is common, so part of being human.

This type of thinking keeps us so focused on the destination, we cannot enjoy the journey.

Don’t be that person. Try to be happy. NOW.  No matter what the circumstances of your life are—don’t wait for the new job, new house, new partner, new location, new body, new income to experience joy.

Try not to allow your current circumstances make you long for a past that cannot be recovered OR put your happiness on a future event that may never come.

Remind yourself there are many people worse off than you in this world. We all know the common phrase “first world problems” which is something I think to myself when I am indulging in complaining or feeling like I got the short end of the stick in any given situation.  I tell myself that my problems really are NOT problems in the big scheme of things.

If you have your health, food in the fridge, a roof over your head, you are luckier than many who walk the Earth.

Remember you can always lose all the blessings you do have at any given moment.

Human nature is to take things for granted.

The extra 10 pounds you complain about don’t seem all that bad until you lose the job you support your family with. Then the job you complain about doesn’t seem all that bad, when you realize how hard it is to find a new one. See where I am going here? For some reason, as humans, we love to have problems to complain about to keep us from experiencing peace and contentment. If we don’t have any, we will create them. Reminding yourself things can ALWAYS be worse can help you appreciate all the imperfect but good things you do have.

Do not place your happiness in some future that may never even come.

Stop letting your current life situation steal your happiness, which you can be experiencing now.

Chances are, your life, is pretty great just the way it is.

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