Conditional Peace and Happiness

Conditional Peace and Happiness

Conditional Peace and Happiness

If peace and happiness rely on getting what we want, not on what we have, we won’t be happy now, and we probably won’t be happy when we get what we want.

I have been playing around with this idea for a while now and want to share what I have come to understand about myself and about wanting something and having to wait. Now this is not something I have mastered in anyway; in reality I have spent a good deal of time in the realm of conditional happiness, thinking that happiness will come when I get what I want. This was most prevalent when I was trying to conceive and year after year past but I still didn’t get pregnant. I kept thinking that if only I would get pregnant and have a baby, then I would really be happy. The thing is, I missed out on enjoying the present and what I already had. Believe me, I know that in the thick of the sadness of miscarriage, or another negative pregnancy test, the idea of being happy was far from mind. I also know that when I practiced an attitude of gratitude in other areas of my life, I functioned in a more positive mindset in general and I was able to be at peace with my present circumstance, even if I wanted it to be different. 

I also learned that if I held on to the belief that getting what I want will bring happiness, then I was practicing that mindset, and when I did get what I wanted, it was likely that I would be looking for the next thing to bring happiness instead of enjoying what I had.

This idea translates to many of life’s scenarios, not just trying to conceive. Perhaps its the thinking that I will be happy when I lose those last 5, 10, 15 pounds; if I get that promotion at work; if my relationship with my partner/spouse was closer; if I got those shoes/clothes/car…. For me now, my temptation is to settle into the thinking that if my daughters would only regularly sleep through the night, then I will be happy. But again, if I focus on the losing sleep part, then I miss out on the beauty and sweetness of middle of the night cuddles with my two miracles I thought I would never get.

So what does this mean practically? Does it mean I should never want something else or want my circumstances to change? Of course not. There is nothing wrong with wanting things to be different. The trouble comes when I base my happiness on getting something else. I can still desire change and put energy towards change, but it is also very important to put energy towards fully engaging in my life and being present with a thankful attitude.   There are two simple practices of gratitude that I have been doing that have really helped. 1. I set a daily reminder on my phone with an alarm telling me to practice gratitude. 2. When I notice my thinking moving towards negativity and wanting, I take a moment to call to mind things I am grateful for right then. I encourage you to spend some time reflecting on your relationship with happiness and your circumstances and see how you might integrate an attitude of thankfulness in the midst of desiring change. 

I would love to hear from you. What do you think of the idea of conditional happiness? How can you move away from that thinking? Leave a comment below

7 thoughts on “Conditional Peace and Happiness”

  • Hi,
    Life seems to be full of conditions doesn’t it? From the time we are small children. Behave or you won’t get to do this or that. Be good and you will get this or that.
    You can get a promotion if you work hard. Or buy something you want but don’t necessarily need. None of this makes one happy however. I find that true happiness comes from being thankful. Thankful for all the blessings in my life. Not all of them were evident at the time but I knew if I waited, God would show me in His time. Happiness comes from within, not things, people, or money.
    The older I get, the more I realize how much time I have wasted on conditional happiness. One can waste their entire life waiting and looking for that next thing that might make them feel fulfilled. While all the while it has been right in front of you. Gratefulness in everything. I now try to start each day in prayer and finding what there is to be grateful about. Everything!!!

  • I love the quote: “bloom where you are planted. ” This quote has helped me to embrace the “soil ” that I am in instead of looking at other people’s “greener grasses” and gardens with envy. Can I radically accept my place in life right now and not just survive but thrive? Can I make the most of my “now” and notice all the beautiful flowers around me and bloom with joy? Contentment is a secret not everyone finds. Gratitude is a discipline. It is so worth the hard work because life is so much sweeter in the land of gratitude.

  • This is one of life’s truest and most helpful secrets. It’s funny that it takes reminders like these among those i respect and in good books to get it through my head, when God has been saying it for thousands of years. Today is the day of salvation. Today is the day that the LORD has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it. I will yet praise You. Rejoice in the Lord always.

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