I'll be happy when...

A couple of days ago, I was listening to an NPR radio interview with Sheryl Sandberg the COO of Facebook who co-wrote a book called Option B with psychologist Adam Grant.  The book focuses on how to support people in states of grief.  This book was written after Ms. Sandberg tragically and unexpectedly lost her husband.

 

In the interview, Ms. Sandberg discussed a widely-held belief about happiness.  "I'll be happy when I . . ."  The "when" typically is something big - getting married, having a baby, getting a new job, leaving a bad job, etc.  We set ourselves up to believe that we can only be happy when something momentous happens to us that we want.

 

As she pointed out in the interview, "our happiness can happen in small ways."  This is really valuable advice especially when we are deep in grief and loss.  Happiness can be as simple as noticing your favorite flowers in bloom or the love your pet provides you or even the way your favorite beverage tastes that day.

 

Sometimes we do get exactly what we want in life and that does bring us happiness.  However, how long does this feeling tend to last?  Even with the larger, life changing events, eventually we do go back to our normal outlook in life soon enough.  Therefore, this is a good practice - looking for the small moments in life (of which there are many) to maintain and sustain our long term happiness quotient.