This graphic is both accurate and absurd to me. Happiness isn’t that simple, but yet it is. We might not be 100 percent happy with everything in our lives, but if we’re fairly content with most parts of our lives, does that mean we’re happy?
However, the beauty in the simplicity of this is that everything is changeable when you’re an adult. If you hate your job, find a new one. If you’re unhappy in a relationship, work to change it or get out of it. Don’t like your body? Change it or learn to love it. The same principle applies to any problem you’re having.
Maybe you’re thinking “Yes, but ….” And that’s a toxic game to play with yourself or anyone who’s trying to offer you advice. It was first identified by Eric Berne in his best-selling book, Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships. Essentially, you always have an excuse to why you’re not fixing the problem that you’re complaining about.
Here’s a classic example:
Sally and Jane are chatting over coffee, and Jane says, “I’d love to order one of those scones, but I’m overweight as it is. I don’t need extra calories.”
Sally: “You could always just work out to counteract the extra calories, if you really wanted the scone.”
Jane: “Yes, but I don’t have time to work out.”
Sally: “So don’t eat the scone.”
Jane: “Yes, but I really want it.”
Sally: “So make time to work out. Perhaps you just take the stairs in your office today.”
Jane: “Yes, but that hurts my knees.”
Cue awkward silence.
Sally is so frustrated at this point that she’s fuming inside, and maybe even visibly. Jane feels smug because she thinks she won the argument and that Sally just doesn’t get it because she’s _________________________ (fill in the blank with accusatory excuse, such as already skinny, has loads of extra time to hit the gym, so fat it doesn’t matter if she eats a thousand scones a day, has so much money she could afford lipo). But Jane doesn’t ever think to herself that she’s the problem.
So back to getting happy. You can do it. The only obstacle standing in your way is you.