We all have it, this one thing, this one habit, that we think makes us happy and then in the end we figure out that it doesn’t. But nevertheless we do it again and again, because this time it will be different and because this time has nothing to do with all the times before, this time we are wiser and do it more consciously. And then we discover that this time, actually was just like all the other times before and we dive right into the next thing, the thing that will make us happy and that is so different from all the last times. We are restless, always on the run, searching for the next big thing that will make us happy ad we keep telling ourselves that once we have done this one thing, then we will finally be happy and a hundred percent satisfied, but we never are, we always remain hungry for more and dreaming and wishing for better times and better feelings.
I think the two most common habits that people have in order to make themselves happier or to give themselves a treat, are buying new things and eating. I had both of these habits and it took me years to find out that all that they do is giving me a short term satisfaction and with time make the void inside myself even bigger than before. Yes eating is nice and satisfying, but it’s not something that will completely change your mood. There are people who can’t eat anything when they are angry or sad, because their emotions displace their appetite, and then there are people that use eating as a tool to numb their bad feelings. It works, it really numbs your feelings and for a short moment you think that it made you happy as you are only focusing on the action of eating and shutting everything else in and around you out. We think that with eating delicious food we can literally swallow our feelings. In truth it is just like you are pressing pause and keeping everything on hold, but once you stop eating, you will discover that your life is still as it was before and that nothing has really changed.
The same goes for buying new things: whenever we do it, there is this moment when you choose something and forget about everything else in your life, you feel satisfied because you bought something –for example new clothes- and you are thinking of the moment you will wear them for the first time and how good you will feel in them. Most of the time this moment doesn’t last very long and the day will come when you are getting up, full of doubts about yourself, standing in front of your full wardrobe, thinking that you have got nothing to wear and that you NEED to buy something new, the one item that will make you feel so much better and that you will forget about in two weeks when you find yourself in the same situation again.
That’s why we are never happy with what we have, that’s why we always need more. Using food or shopping to escape the present moment, get out of our skin, being somewhere else, is never really going to work. And while it feels great in the moment, we’re usually left with an emotional hangover. The negative emotions are still there and they won’t disappear by numbing them for a short moment and somehow delaying them. The only way to get rid of those feelings is to experience them. Embrace them and they will pass. It’s about being present for your life, and realizing that you can’t find happiness in constant escapism. It’s about learning to find happiness in the small things and finding something that you are grateful for every day. Stop thinking ‘when I will have this I will be happy’ or ‘when I do this I will be happy’, stop delaying your life and your emotions, start living in the present and being mindful about every single thing that you do or feel and you will experience true happiness. You will discover that happiness doesn’t come with new clothes or money or the admiration from others, it comes from the inside and it makes you forget about what you are wearing, what you look like or what others might think of you.