A lot of people are unhappy. Hopefully, you are not one of them. Still, you may wonder what makes people…or you…so miserable.
Most of the personal and spiritual growth teachers with whom I’ve studied have had the same explanation. They say, Unhappiness is the gap between where you are and where you think you should be.
You will feel unhappy if you think you should be somewhere else, especially since your self-talk will revolve around still being where you are. For example, you will tell yourself, “I should already be a published author rather than still writing my book. I should already have enough money to retire rather than still working to save money. I should already be in a loving, intimate relationship, not single.”
That type of thinking will surely make you unhappy. After all, it places you firmly in the space between your current reality and your vision for the future. Said another way, your self-talk puts you on the road from Point A (where you are) to Point B (where you want to be). And, since you haven’t reached your destination yet but think you should have by now, you feel unhappy.
If you think you should be there, you are also driven by outside influences or comparisons. On the other hand, if you want to be at a specific destination, you likely pressure yourself and make mental comparisons or judgments about yourself.
Even though it is better to want to be at your destination versus thinking you should already be there, neither type of thinking will make you happy. Quiet the opposite, in fact.
Between the Present and the Future
Thinking about what you want or should have but don’t yet possess or experience increases your awareness of that lack. Your focus on a future you haven’t arrived at puts you firmly in limbo between the present and the future. Then you feel unhappy.
Also, focusing on others already having what you want or think you should have leaves you feeling dissatisfied and not good enough to achieve what you desire.
Plus, if you think you should be somewhere else by now, you are living into expectations—yours or someone else’s—about how long the journey takes to get to where you want to go. You are comparing your progress to someone else’s (or even your own).
Or you are judging your journey based on how fast someone thinks you should be moving. Doing that puts your attention firmly in the gap between where you are and where you think you should be now. And it opens you to believe you are being judged by your slow progress.
Keep doing these things, and you remain unhappy—or become more unhappy.
Your Focus Puts You in the Gap
You’ve probably heard a different piece of advice: Focus on what you want. That’s how you manifest your desire, right? Yet, focusing on what you want creates more wanting, more time in the gap, and more unhappiness.
Thus, that bit of wisdom seems like a contradiction. After all, the more you focus on what you want so you can manifest it, the more unhappy you become because you continue to create distance between where you are and where you want to be.
What the heck?
Indeed, wanting—and not yet having—puts you in the space between where you are and where you want to be. As a result, you aren’t focused on where you are or your dream, goal, or desire. Instead, you are stuck in the la-la land of not yet having it. And you can’t feel happy or satisfied “here” because you want to be “there.”
Getting from Here to There
Perhaps you are thinking, “There is no way for me to get from here to there.” (Yikes! That’s an in-the-gap unhappy thought if there ever were one!)
Yet, on the other hand, you are sure that if you were already there, you’d be happy. For example, if you were already married, out of debt, had a new job, weighed 20 pounds less, or had moved into a new house, you’d experience joy. (That’s a faulty strategy as well.)
The problem with that thought process is that most of us are not time travelers. Nor can we teleport ourselves from one place to another in a second. There is a gap—the journey—between here and there.
9 Ways to Be Happier
So, how do you get from where you are to where you want to be (or think you should be) with a light step and a smile? How do you enjoy the journey from Point A to Point B? And how do you experience happiness now—even though you haven’t moved an inch?
Here are nine ways to be happy while still at Point A:
1. Change your identity.
The most effective way to get there—wherever there is—is to change your identity from someone who isn’t there yet to someone already there. Then, you will do the things that person would have done to get there.
I know this sounds a bit crazy, but decide to already be someone who has arrived there. What would that person do or say? How would they dress, carry themselves, or behave? What would that person’s mindset or habits be like?
That person knows how to get to where you want to go. The proof of that lies in the fact that they are already there.
And if you decide to be that person right now—to change your identity from someone who is not there yet to someone who is there already—your actions, mindsets, speech, posture, and habits will align with that identity. And you will feel as if you are already at your destination, giving you the confidence to get there. As a result, you’ll feel much happier, making the rest of the journey much more pleasant.
2. Cultivate a positive mindset.
Your mindset plays a huge role in how you feel daily. If you have a negative outlook on life, it’s easy to fall into a downward spiral of unhappiness. Therefore, it’s essential to cultivate a positive mindset.
You can do this with various methods, such as practicing mindfulness, gratitude, and positive affirmations. Once your mindset shifts and you start seeing things positively, your energy changes, too. That’s when you will find it much easier to move toward your destination and feel happy doing so.
3. Replace “should” with “want.”
As long as you feel you “should” do something, you will not enjoy anything related to that action or goal. You will resist it. “I should be there,” says you are externally motivated. Maybe someone thinks you should…or you believe you should to prove something, live up to expectations, or be seen positively.
However, if you change “should” to “want,” you are suddenly involved in activities you desire. That’s all about internal motivation. Therefore, you will feel good about achieving your goal, and you’ll happily do whatever that takes.
4. Feel grateful.
Gratitude is a powerful emotion. In fact, it emits a strong, positive vibration that helps you align with whatever you want and create your desires.
The trick is to be grateful now…in the present…for arriving at your destination, even if you aren’t there yet. I realize you may not like where you are, but you can find something to be thankful for.
And you can feel gratitude in advance for arriving at Point B. Know you will reach there, and feel grateful now. That moves you out of unhappiness and into faith and trust—in yourself and a Higher Power—and gratitude.
This brings me to…
5. Have faith.
Faith is a belief in something you can’t see or experience. It’s a knowing that you will arrive at your destination and a power greater than you is helping you get there.
If you aren’t a spiritual person, place your faith in yourself. Know that you can create whatever you desire. You can move from where you are to where you want to be…and do it with confidence, excitement, and joy.
Faith keeps you out of hopelessness and despair, two emotions sure to make you supremely unhappy.
6. Imagine what it will be like to get there.
Take time to visualize arriving at your destination. Use your senses to see, hear, or feel what it will be like to be there.
You rewire your brain when you imagine being where you want to be. You create new neural pathways, making it easier to move toward your destination—and to do so with greater happiness. This is especially true if you see yourself making the journey with a smile.
Your subconscious doesn’t know the difference between a visualization and what is real. Thus, the more you imagine being at your destination (and the happy journey), the more it believes it is happening. This fact makes it easier for you to traverse the distance between here and there with greater happiness.
7. Stop comparing where you are to where you want to be.
Comparing your current circumstances to the ones you seek to create is a recipe for unhappiness. And, if you add a good dose of comparing yourself to others already at Point B, you’ve got a surefire way to feel super unhappy.
Everyone has their own journey. Focus on yourself and your path instead of comparing yourself to others and theirs. When you stop comparing yourself, you’ll feel more content with where you are in life and be able to focus on getting to Point B in your way and in perfect timing for you.
8. Be happy now.
Happiness is not a destination but how you approach the journey. This is especially true when it comes to creating the future you desire.
However, many people tend to focus too much on achieving their goals and forget about the importance of happiness in the present moment.
The truth is happiness should come before working on your dreams. In other words, be happy now—no matter what. First, find a way to choose happiness. (Yes, it’s a choice, as is unhappiness.) Then start moving toward Point B.
How can you do that when you still want to be somewhere else…already? Engage in activities that bring you joy. Do things that make you happy. Happiness is not just a state of mind. It’s also a result of what you do and choose.
9. Surround yourself with positive people.
The people you surround yourself with can significantly impact your happiness. It will be difficult to find happiness if you’re constantly around negative people who bring you down.
And if the people around you engage in comparisons, judgments, or criticism—especially about the fact that you are not where you want to be—they can contribute to your unhappiness.
Therefore, it’s important to surround yourself with positive people who uplift you and bring you joy. This could be your family, friends, or even a support group. Whatever it is, make sure you have people in your life who make you feel good about yourself and where you are right now.
Be Happy First
By following these tips, you’ll feel happier and enjoy your journey from where you are to where you want to be. And you’ll spend much less time (if any) in the unhappiness gap.
How do you get out of the unhappiness gap? Tell me in a comment below. And please share this post with a friend or on social media.
If you want to stop living from your old stories and training—like avoiding pain, let’s chat. Get on my calendar here. Or join the Inspired Creator Community for group transformational coaching every month.
Photo courtesy of:RODNEProductions