A few years ago I was talking with a friend.
She was concerned about some things happening in her life (I think you can relate), and said, “If only the health care system in the U.S. were more like Europe.”
I replied, “Ya, if only I had more money.” She said, “If only my kids would stop fighting.” I replied, “If only my cat would stop peeing on my clothes….”
Then I’d be happy – right?
In that moment we created, what I call, the “IF ONLY” game.
Because we do this in our heads all the time, why not make a game out of it?
So we continued back and forth: “If only I had more friends.” “If only my house were bigger.” “If only I were married.” “If only I were divorced.” Back and forth we joked (but kind of real). We laughed in seeing what we thought would make us happy.
What we were making a game out of is what is called “conditional happiness” – I’ll only be happy if these certain things happen or don’t happen, or I acquire certain items, or get a certain title. I think you know what I mean. We all do it.
When thinking this way, you are making an unconscious decision that, “I will only be happy if these certain things happen or don’t happen.”
It’s almost hard wired into our brains to look at the problem instead of what’s possible.
The good news: you don’t have to live like this. You can have unconditional happiness through choice.
- Write down all the “if only’s” you have in your head on a piece of paper – get them ALL down on paper, then burn them. Say goodbye to that way of thinking through ceremony – it’s powerful!
- Decide you want to be happy. It’s that simple. Without the “but’s” or “if only’s” – simply decide you want to be happy in your life.
- Notice when you start going down the “if only” train in your head or with someone else – play the game to have a good laugh with yourself and your friend!
- Make a choice in that moment that you want to be happy.
- Think about what you are grateful for. What do you have in your life, who is a part of your life, or what are you grateful for in your body, that you want to acknowledge? They are all pathways to gratitude (which is an important seed of happiness).
Once you are aware of this thought pattern, you have a choice to be happy. No more lacking, no more “if only’s,” no more conditional happiness. It’s a practice, and it’s possible – start today.
For more depth to unconditional happiness, check out Michael Singer’s book “The Untethered Soul.” It’s profound!
Categories: Health & Happiness