Last updated February, 2016.
Is your mind postponing happiness and keeping you out of the present moment?
Are you looking to the future to solve all of your problems? Does this describe you:
“I’ll be happy when 'this' or 'that' happens.”
“This" or "that” can be an event: a promotion, a new job, a new house, a new car, a new toy.
“This" or "that” can be a person: getting a new boss, gaining a new friend, finding a new lover. Or, getting rid of a current boss, friend, or lover!
“This" or "that” might be when your favorite sports team wins the big game. Or when your political party of choice is in office. Or, the political party you dislike is out of office!
It might be when the economy improves, the holidays arrive, the children go back to school, or summer vacation rolls around.
Regardless of what “this" or "that” is, postponing your happiness until something happens in the future is a trap of the mind.
The trap is you will never find happiness because when the future arrives, there will always be something else you need to obtain or attain. It's a never-ending cycle that feeds on itself.
Your mind is never content with the present moment, so it perpetuates this trap. It compulsively projects you into the future, to a time it perceives will be better than now; you dream about this magical moment when everything is perfect and you can be happy.
The mind also pulls you into the past to relive your mistakes and failures, and regret what you have (or haven’t) done; you dwell on how unhappy you are.
As the mind pushes you into the future and pulls you into the past, it strategically keeps you out of the only time you can actually live: the present moment.
But, you can become aware of what your mind is doing. You can become aware of the thoughts and emotions as they happen. You can’t stop them, but - through awareness - you can learn not to get caught up in the mind-made fear, drama, and turmoil.
You can learn to stop seeking happiness "in the future."
Happiness starts right now. Don’t make it dependent on something else happening first, or you will never achieve it.
Interested in applying some of these concepts to your life? Visit "Your inner narrative" to find out about awareness-based behavior therapy.
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