At 30 years old I had this overwhelming sense of feeling stuck. I was waiting for something and yet I didn’t know what it was. I experienced an interesting phenomenon as I got older. I went straight to university out of high school, graduated and started building my career. Next on the happy life checklist was to buy my first house and marry the wonderful man I had been living with. I was killing it! I had the makings of a very good life. And yet there it was, that sense of feeling stuck and wondering if there was something more.
What was that something more? I could feel it distinctly but I couldn’t articulate it clearly. I had done it all right and yet there I was with a very comfortable life, plenty of external accomplishment, feeling stuck and like I was waiting for something more.
The Waiting Game
I was feeling stuck because I was waiting for happiness to find me. I was waiting for the next thing on the list to make me truly happy. This waiting game is one of the most dangerous traps we can fall into as adults. You can wait an entire lifetime to be happy. This also means that you can wait an entire lifetime to truly start living.
It’s a Dangerous Trap
The waiting game is a dangerous trap. You may be feeling stuck and telling yourself that as soon as I have ‘x’ I will be happy. What you have there is a case of the “when I’s and then I’s.” This is an utterly dangerous space to be in because it will rob you of happiness in the present moment. You may be waiting for the wrong things. I had followed the “How to Live a Good Life” checklist. I bought into the idea that once I had everything on that list, then I would be happy. It certainly led me to a place of security, but it also left me feeling stuck.
What Do We Wait For?
Think for a moment on a time where you may have said: “when I have this, then I will be happy.” I know that you have probably done this at least once in your life. If you are feeling stuck, ask yourself what are you waiting for?
There are a few key things that we wait for on our path to happiness:
- Perfection – this is the belief that everything must be just right before you can start enjoying your life. Maybe just right for you means the right house, partner, income level, car, number of dogs or kids or parrots or shoes. No amount of money or parrots will ever leave you truly happy. Waiting for everything to be perfect is a recipe to continue feeling stuck and waiting.
- Permission – sometimes we wait because we think that someone has to give us permission to be happy. Seeking permission to be happy means that your happiness is dependent upon something outside of you. It is the same as above. If your happiness is dependent upon some thing outside of yourself it will always be something that you seek towards and this will keep us in the place of feeling stuck.
- Dreams – oftentimes, we make our big dreams the key to our happiness. This is wonderful if you are taking action towards those big dreams, but can become a burden to our happiness if those dreams always remain in the distance and you never take steps toward them.
How to Stop Waiting
What if I told you that you can be completely happy and joyful every day? What if I told you that you can have it right now? I am on a mission to dispel the myth that you must wait for your happiness or that happiness is a set of perfect external conditions that must be met before you can start to truly live your life. This is not for a select few, you must simply be willing to choose happiness right now.
- Cultivate positivity – any change in life is exponentially easier to make if you are approaching it with a positive mindset. One of my favorite tools to give people is to practice gratitude. This is foundational to creating happiness and joy on a daily basis. Practising gratitude will change your life and will help you to cultivate outrageous positivity in your daily life. Being thankful for what you have in your life will keep your mind in the present moment and shift it from feeling stuck to seeing abundance everywhere. Try it: say three things that you are grateful for in your life right now. Did anything shift for you?
- Get up close and personal – with yourself! The secret to happiness is not outside of you. It is your natural state. Have you ever seen a baby or a toddler that oozes happiness? This is why we love kids! We are born free and into joy and at some point we start to lose that part of ourselves that we already know to be true. Your relationship to yourself is the most important one you have and by cultivating a deeply loving and respectful partnership with yourself you can begin to experience happiness right now.
- Listen to your voice – ask yourself what you are waiting for? Why do you belief that you have to wait to be happy? This is the clue to why you are feeling stuck. Perhaps you have someone else’s definition of happiness in your head and that is why you aren’t truly happy or maybe you are waiting for permission to be happy. When you tune into your inner voice and listen for the answers to some of these questions, you can begin to pinpoint why you are waiting to be happy and that is the clue to moving past feeling stuck.
- Pay attention to where your mind wanders – we have our dreams for a reason. As we get older, we tend to have dreams that are not only incredible, exciting and scary but they tend to feel like they are just outside of our reach. The thing about our dreams though, is that they rarely go away just because we choose to ignore them. When you pay attention to where your mind wanders you can start to follow the breadcrumbs to your definition of happiness. Those dreams are there for a reason and we will not stop being called toward them simply because we ignore them.
- Suspend disbelief – when your mind wanders to the space of your dreams, our logical mind can very quickly jump in and give you ten reasons why you can never have the thing that you want most. It is a mechanism to keep us safe, but this can also leave us feeling stuck. When your mind is wandering to the dream space, pay attention to the moment just before that fear based mind jumps into regulate and suspend disbelief. Imagine for a moment, that you could have the thing that you dream about. Do you still want it? Is it still pulling you towards it? Don’t attach to the ten reasons why your brain says that you can’t do the thing that you can’t stop thinking about and instead hold onto the thing itself.
- Get out of distraction – distraction is a sure-fire way to keep feeling stuck. We can spend our entire lives in distraction. This is dangerous because distraction makes action almost impossible. The key to moving forward in the direction of the life you want and to claiming the happiness that you seek, is to get out of distraction and into aligned action. When you listen to your voice and get clear on your dreams you can begin to move towards them.
- Take a single step – I often see this with my clients and I have experienced this myself. Having this picture of happiness and big dreams but letting this enormity of how to create it overwhelm the actual moving forward toward it. This is the epitome of feeling stuck. The antidote to overwhelm is always to take a single step forward. Start to cultivate positivity in your daily life, start to clear away the voices of the world around you and connect to your inner voice. Start to formulate the dreams and start to remove the distractions. The key is to start. Taking a single step will feel incredibly empowering and will create momentum.
You don’t have to wait a moment longer to be happy. Placing your happiness on some external circumstance is a dangerous trap and will always leave you feeling stuck and waiting. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to make the most of the precious time you are given. The life you seek is waiting for you to claim it. You. You. You. You are the common denominator in your life. Don’t wait a moment longer to say yes to your joyful life.