Is When/Then Thinking Keeping You from Being Happy?

One of the top desires for every human being is the desire to be happy. People can spend their lives chasing happiness and often spend years and even decades looking for it in people and things. But no matter how hard they try to seek true happiness in that way, they just can’t seem to find it.

The problem is that we live in a world where people connect happiness with external things. And this connection has created a whole lot of when/then thinking for so many. In fact, you may be thinking this way as well, without even realizing it!

Have you ever had a thought like “When I lose weight I’ll be happy”? Or “When I find the perfect relationship, then I’ll be happy”? How about “When I have more money, or a better job, then I’ll be happy”? This is the when/then pattern of thinking and it is very common. This belief relies on something happening in your life externally so that you can be happy.

A limiting pattern

But that thought pattern is untrue and very limiting! Somewhere along the timeline of human history, we have falsely come to believe that happiness comes from external sources. And while it may feel good to get a new job, relationship, home, money, (insert anything else external here), that good feeling does not stay. It is temporary.

So once that feeling wears off, most people feel the need to chase the next great thing to help make them happy.  This creates an unhealthy pattern of chasing new, shiny things and people in order to make you feel good.

A lot of people make this mistake in their relationships. They look to a partner, spouse, child or other family member to make them happy. It puts undue pressure on those loved ones, because they are not responsible for someone else’s happiness!

Here is a truth that you may have a hard time swallowing….no one can EVER make you happy! Why? Because happiness does not and will never come from something outside of you! The true happiness that everyone longs for is an inside job!

Here’s another shocking idea for you…happiness is also a choice!

For most of my adult life, I did’t realize that how I felt was a choice. My emotions were running on autopilot and I had absoluely no idea that I didn’t have to let my subconscious mind run the show. I was also focused on a whole lot of negative emotions…feeling low self-esteem, never feeling like I was good enough, experiencing plenty of body shame and just all around feeling pretty crappy about who I was in the world.

My world started changing in big ways when I learned that I didn’t have to allow my emotions to run on auto pilot. I have the power to change how I am feeling, by changing my mindset and perspective. Let me tell you, that was pretty powerful information to learn!

I began undoing my bad habits of negative thinking and started challenging the negative things I believed about myself. I discovered that many of those awful things I believed about myself were actually things that were taught to me by other broken and wounded individuals in my life. And they were completely untrue!  And I didn’t have to continue to believe them!

What I focused on

I discovered that I could be happy…even when things in my world were less than great. It was all about what I chose to focus on. And I began choosing things that allowed me to feel good about myself. I focused on living a more positive life and being grateful. That’s when my own personal happiness began to grow!

Does that mean I don’t ever experience negative emotions? Heck no! I still have my fair share of down days and crappy moments! I’m human! The difference now is that I honor those emotions when they come up. I actually allow myself to feel them instead of trying to stuff them down or pretend they aren’t there. I honor them, which actually allows me to release them a whole lot more quickly! Once you acknowlege your negative emotions they often tend to dissolve.

And I’ll be honest….I used to allow myself to wallow in those emotions. I was the queen of the pity party back in the day! I loved the whole “woah is me” vibe. I didn’t know back then that I had a choice.

You have a choice as well. You can continue being stuck in the when/then mindset and continue chasing external sources of happiness. Or, you can begin shifting how you’re thinking and start discovering your internal sources of happiness. It will take some time to undo past bad patterns of thinking….but once you let those go, you will feel so much better!

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