I WILL BE HAPPY IF…. I WILL BE HAPPY WHEN… If I win a million dollars, if I get that job, if she marries me, if I was healed. When I finish school, when I get that new TV set / phone / Rolex / find the right woman / get that raise / get out of debt… Does any of this sound familiar? Don’t say, “It’s just human,” because I will answer, “It’s just dumb.”
So people put their happiness on hold and live with constant disappointment, because the anticipation of something is always sweeter than when it actually happens. Temporal pleasure is fleeting, like eating an ice cream. You will never have enough money, and you will always want something else to fill that bottomless pit.
Think about a dog. He’s happy to see his master, chase a stick, lie in the sun, sleep, follow you on your morning run. He doesn’t live in guilt or regret, in fact he doesn’t think about the past. He doesn’t resent the dog next door owning a new toy, and he’s not jealous of other dogs’ lifestyles or possessions. He doesn’t think he will be happy IF something happens, and he doesn’t put his dog happiness and life on hold while waiting for something to happen, thinking he will be happy WHEN it happens. He doesn’t fear the future.
The Buddha taught a lot about living in the moment, as did Jesus, so that dog has probably been reading and following good advice, because his happiness is not conditional upon something happening like a legal contract. He doesn’t get angry with you when you’ve locked in the truck of your car, either – in fact, when you open that trunk he jumps out, grateful and licking you and forgiving. Your wife wouldn’t do that if you locked her in the trunk, even if she deserved it! (Now the dykes and feminists will be sending me nasty messages.)
Here’s the thing: we have to learn to be happy in all circumstances, and there is a proven, infallible way of achieving that. We can be happy because we can always be with our Master by His Spirit if we diligently follow Him. He will forgive us when we mess up, and He won’t hold grudges. I know my dyslexic friends will love this: It’s not about a DOG, it’s about GOD. His recipe in the Bible is quite clear and the more we follow His loving directions, the more peace of mind we will experience, the less we will fear the future, the more we will forgive ourselves and others, and the happier we will be, in all circumstances.
I see people who think very little of themselves and need to constantly be approved of, noticed, accepted and liked by others. They do anything to get that acceptance, even if it means spending a lot of money they don’t have, buying things they can’t have to impress people who don’t notice and don’t care, whoring, prostituting themselves out, violating their values, buying attention, doing anything to be loved.
No-one else and nothing else will satisfy us but God; He made us and He knows what makes us tick and what we need. He is faithful. We will always be hoping and waiting and searching and unfulfilled and trying to fill that void with things and people and money and accomplishments and accolades. WOOF!
Robin Elliott LeverageAdvantage.com