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It's time to recognise the "I'll be happy when..." syndrome!...

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It's time to recognise the "I'll be happy when..." syndrome!

23/06/2015

It's time to recognise the "I'll be happy when..." syndrome!

Have you ever felt that you'll be "happy" once something in particular happens or changes in your life? Join the crowd because so many of us are guilty of this - saying things like, "I'll be happy when I get a new job," or, "I'll be happy when my partner starts being nicer to me," or, "I'll be happy when I lose weight," etc.

It's like we delay our potential for happiness until the day that some minor miracle - like a nicer partner or a fantastic job - comes into our life. But this is hugely damaging to our capacity to enjoy happiness now.

Why does someone develop the "I'll be happy when..." syndrome?

There are many reasons why people begin to develop this ‘syndrome’ and feel that they'll only be happy when some particular thing changes in their life. One of the main culprits is the fact that we're always striving for more in our life. We want to be richer, we want to be more popular, and slimmer. We want to have nicer clothes and more fab friends. And this is because we haven't learnt to be satisfied with the smaller things in life. We fall victim to the pressure to always want more.

What happens when you always ‘want more’?

When you’re never satisfied with what you have and always feel the pressure to want more, then nothing is ever good enough. How could it be? Because when you get that promotion you've longed for within a few months you'll be wanting the next promotion.

And when you've finally saved up to get that fabulous ‘It’ bag that you've seen on Victoria Beckham's arm, then within a few months you're left wanting the next desirable thing on the celebrity fashion hit-list.

But this attitude starts creeping into every area of your life. You can never be happy because there's always something better, bigger, and more expensive to strive for.

What about not knowing how to change unhappiness?

Another big culprit for the "I'll be happy when..." syndrome is when we don't know how to change something in our life that is causing us unhappiness. Many of us aren't the skills to change things because the unhappiness. We spin our wheels wondering when the partner that we show love and respect to, will start showing it back.

Or we find it impossible to get our boss to appreciate us or to make a slightly ‘toxic’ friend see that they behave badly to us - like dumping us the minute they get a boyfriend and then picking us back up the minute they’ve been dumped by him.

We feel helpless in the face of such unhappiness. We obsess about it and wonder how we can change it. The longer that unhappy situation or relationship goes on, the less power we feel to change things for the better. And then the belief that we’ll be happy when these things change, kicks in.

How can you stop the "I'll be happy when..." syndrome?

This type of happiness is ‘future dependent’ happiness. It all hinges on a better future. But in reality you can never know for sure that there's a better future ahead of you. And so it's far better and emotionally healthy to start finding happiness in your life today!

Here are some five top tips to do so:

1/ Challenge ‘future dependent’ happiness thinking –

When you catch yourself thinking that, "I'll be happy when…" stop such thinking in its tracks! Think what you can do about that particular thing that you can change today. Or put such thinking out of your mind and refocus on what’s good in your life now.

2/ Find daily happiness –

Learn to cherish and enjoy something - even many things - about your day today. Make it a habit to find daily happiness in the smallest things. Enjoy that chat with your friend - relish the feeling you get over sharing what you're doing that day. Notice the beautiful flowers in the park on your walk to work. Savour the delicious sandwich you've picked up in the Italian deli.

Once you've started counting your little blessings - every day - you stop dwelling on future happiness.

3/ Be honest with yourself –

When someone is treating you badly, sometimes it's easier to go into denial about the situation. You start excusing their behaviour. You tell yourself that, say, they are stressed and that's why they're acting that way. So you are dishonest with yourself!

For instance, if someone’s making you unhappy or doing something disrespectful to you then honestly appraise it. And let them know they cannot continue like that.

4/ Learn to face difficulties with others –

When you start being honest with yourself about how others treat you, it's easier to start facing them with difficulties. You don't have to shout and scream or get all upset with them. Instead you can calmly and confidently sit down and explain to them where things are going wrong.

5/ Check your overly high aspirations and expectations at the door –

There's nothing wrong with having aspirations and certain expectations about what you want in life. But the difference between having acceptable expectations and overly high ones is the pressure you put yourself under.

If you have expectations that you want to get more job-training then go for that skills course. But if your expectations mean you're working 24/7 then they're too high and you'll never be happy.

Here's to your happiness, love, Dr Pam X

A similar article was published on MSN

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