“I’m happy, but I would be happier if things were like this...”
“I’m not like, depressed or anything like that. But if this were different, things would be better.”
“Things are good, but I really wish that I had this.”
Sounding uncomfortably familiar? It’s easy to find ourselves entangled in this illogical way of thinking, because it initially seems like a compromising yet quick solution. We become fixated on the idea that improving one not-so-ideal aspect will resolve it all.
The truth is, it doesn’t always come down to finding that “missing piece.” Your stress and anxiety won’t magically dissolve at the appearance of something shiny and new.
You may experience the “high” of landing that fancy new job or a cute new boyfriend, but the bad days will still present themselves. You’ll still end up having a few meltdowns here and there, no matter how hard you work to keep it all together.
Here’s a closer look at why our obsession with the “next destination” does more harm than good:
1. Comparing leads to a dead-end.
It’s difficult not to compare our current path and accomplishments to others around us, particularly with the ongoing prevalence of social media. However, it becomes problematic when doing so becomes a routine.
When we observe others’ triumphs too often, we begin to slightly lose sense of reality. We focus whole-heartedly on their particular end result, and seem to forget that there were necessary steps in-between.
No matter how much it seems like others were able to “cheat” the process - none of us truly can. If you try, you’ll only end up back at square-one.
Plus, while you’re aggressively Insta-stalking, don’t forget - everyone’s lives look way cooler (and easier) on social media.
2. You’re purposely ignoring a much larger issue: It’s not your circumstances, it’s you.
This isn’t a new revelation - you’ve known this all along. Regardless, you’re still hoping you’re wrong. You’re still wrestling with your conscience to convince yourself that snagging that “next big thing” is all you need. In a sense, you try to tell yourself the reverse: “It’s not you - it’s your circumstances.”
In reality, you’re attempting to normalize the way you feel - without taking the initiative to change it on your own.
Introspection isn’t always simple - but it’s not rocket science, either. Start small: focus on what you want, and what you need to change to get there.
While some circumstances will always be beyond our control, some are fixable. However, until you face the reality of them, they will always disguise themselves as “unpreventable obstacles.”
3. You’re continuously chasing the unattainable - which will always result in disappointment.
It’s okay to daydream. It’s okay to envision a life of perfection, and to let your mind wander to this “happy place” on the not-so-happy days.
It’s not okay to expect perfection. It’s not okay to rationalize that one component of your life is “ruining” the rest of it, because that’s just not the way life works.
When you fixate too heavily on this “perfect world”, you will resent the way that things are. Even if things seemingly improve, you will find a way to resent that too.
So rid yourself of the notion that happiness is found in the another place, person, or situation. Until you do, your resolution to “move forward” will never surpass the starting line.