Some think life would be better if only they had something they don’t now have. They think, I'll be happy when ______ . You can fill in the blank.
For some, that blank is a new job. For others, it’s that dream house. For many singles, it’s marriage. They think, I'll be happy when I get married.
What an awful assumption! Marriage alone will never make you happy. You could have your ideal of the perfect companion and still be miserable. Many have learned this lesson the hard way.
Marrieds can have a similar experience. They can think, I'll be happy when we have a new baby! Or I'll be happy when we can live closer to my parents. Or . . . well, you get the idea.
The true source of happiness
Here’s the problem. When you obsess over anything yet to happen, you focus on the future. Focus too much on the future, and your reality becomes a life lived in the future.
But that’s not where you are. You’re here in the present. This mismatch of living in one place while being in another can result only in confusion and despair.
Here’s another way to look at it. When you assume you must have something to be happy, you prevent yourself from feeling happy so long as you don't have that something. And so long as that continues, failure to acquire that something will leave you feeling trapped.
Free yourself by changing your thinking. Happiness doesn't come from having any sort of status or possession. Happiness comes from bringing your all to the right things.
That means more than just "keeping the standards" or going through the motions. Simply what you do doesn’t produces happiness. It's what you bring to what you do while doing the right things.
For example, we all know church attendance is right. So if simply doing what’s right makes you happy, how come some people at church aren’t happy? Answer: Because just doing what’s right doesn't lead to happiness.
Now consider those attending church intent on making a contribution. Those people are always happy. Why? Because happiness results not just from doing the right things but from what you bring to doing the right things.
The prophet Moroni wrote, "And the church did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls" (Moroni 6:5). They came to church not to play the sponge but rather to make a contribution. I would argue that, even with the Nephite civilization on its last breath, these faithful saints were happy because of what they brought to doing what was right.
Time flies on wings of lightning;
President Monson has taught
We enter mortality not to float with the moving currents of life, but . . . to think, to reason, and to achieve ("An Invitation to Exaltation" Liahona, Aug-Sep 1986).
By making conscious choices, you can live in the here and now instead of in a tomorrow that never comes.
Making conscious choices keeps your focus here in the moment. That’s precisely where your focus belongs. When you keep your focus on a future that never comes, you’re always yearning and never satisfied. When you keep your focus on living in the present moment, your reality becomes matched with the place where you are. When those two are joined, you have access to the true joy of living.
Here’s one of the most important conscious choices you can make. I’ve posted before about the importance of adopting a personal ministry. When you do, you’ll find it easier to stop focusing on an ever-distant future and focus instead on the present moment. And that makes it easier to bring your all to the right things, and thus easier to be happy now.
You don’t need a change in your situation to be happy now. All you need is a change in your thinking.
Don’t sacrifice the joy of today by focusing on a future that always seems elusive. Focus instead on the contribution from your personal ministry that you can make today. You can be happy now if you align your thinking and your actions with the true source of happiness.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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