You may ask yourself, “How do I have ambition toward a goal, but not allow the fact that I haven’t achieved it yet cause me to feel depressed or frustrated about my present situation?” I see this frustration a lot, both in myself and others. It’s a very common question because of the crisis we are all facing right now with our state of happiness.
It’s important to remember. The experiences that we have in our lives are reflections of what we are experiencing within ourselves. For example, we know that if we are in a bad mood we are more likely to yell at our child, be more defensive with others, not listen and really hear people, and so on. Therefore, we are creating an outward reality that reflects our internal mood. And sometimes we have days where everything flows – we get up, we feel good, we feel peaceful and conversations go well throughout the day, and we think that it just happened to be a good day. However, you actually created that goodness by having a positive internal state.
What happens in our lives is a reflection of what is happening internally.
When you have a goal, you may feel like the present moment is not enough in some way, and you will only be happy if you accomplish that goal. But think about the example I just gave. If you are disgruntled, dissatisfied, or feeling incomplete while you are setting up the goals that you expect will make you happy…those two emotions don’t go together.
The key is how you position yourself toward that goal. If you are feeling good, happy and satisfied with your present life as you take baby steps toward reaching your goal, then odds are you will recreate that positive mood as part of a new situation transpiring in your life.
Even if you were unhappy all along and you still accomplished your goal, you still won’t be happy even after your goal is attained. You still won’t feel satisfied because you’ve trained your mind not to be content with whatever is happening in the present moment. You’ve trained your mind to always want something you don’t have. There is no contentment, no peace. So, even if you attain your goal, odds are that you won’t feel the way you thought it was going to feel when you first imagined it, and you may have created a lot of other stumbling blocks in your life.
Challenges along the way are teaching you lessons.
Another key to this idea is the way you perceive challenges. If you are not approving of the challenges along the way to achieving your goal, you are creating resistance and negative emotion. Instead, see these challenges as teachers providing lessons you need to learn in order to attain your goal. When you encounter obstacles, are you seeing them as life wanting to get in your way or upset you, or are you seeing them as life trying to teaching you something? If you welcome incoming challenges and say to yourself, “Alright… what does this challenge have to teach me?” you will experience a great sense of contentment since you’ll start to see a good reason for the challenge rather than wishing things were different. During these challenging times, it’s important to take care of your well-being – your emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being.
With a positive attitude and seeing challenges as opportunities to learn, once you’ve achieved your goal, you’ll be happy about the achievement as well as happy in general, since you’ve trained your mind to experience contentment all along. Accomplishing this goal with a positive mindset may also open doors to new opportunities and creating new goals in your life.
What is crucial is what we are experiencing, whether positive or negative emotion, as we are in action toward our goal. Often times, an action doesn’t make you happy, it actually frustrates you, but you keep at it, just keep trying and trying. You repeat the same thing thinking it will somehow make you happy at some point. But it doesn’t. Instead, you need to take another path where there is more ease and elicits a more positive emotion within you during the journey itself.
It doesn’t matter what the goal is, what matters is how you feel on your way there.
Looking back on my life, rather than be resentful toward challenges in my life, I now see that the world has been kind to me by giving me opportunities to step up and develop courage. Not in order to look good to the outside world, but in order to experience events that were previously frightening to me. And since my mindset is now less fearful, I feel a greater sense of peace, therefore I create more ease in my life situations since they are reflections of my internal state.
Now, I can even look at those paralyzing moments and see how much they taught me. They not only helped me grow, but taught me to have great compassion for others. Even if I was not able to express compassion in the moment, shortly after I can look back at the individual that I was upset by and I really see that person as a teacher.
Each moment is there to teach you, not to break you, and that’s a big lesson to learn.
Even the chaos of our days is not here to break us, it is here to wake us up so that we can create life situations that are a reflection of an internal state of kindness, cooperation, compassion, health, respect, and well-being.
Let’s circle back to the original question: “How do I feel content in my present situation without letting the desire for something different bring in frustration?” Remember, the goal itself is not what’s going to create your happiness, in the sense of fulfillment. You learning to have a sense of peace and acceptance toward where you are right now – as well as seeing every person and situation leading up to the goal as your teachers providing lessons you need to learn in order to achieve that goal – will result in you experiencing great joy once you accomplish that goal.
The experiences, challenges and lessons learned on your way to your goal, and the attitude by which you strive for your goal, are so much more important to your happiness than the goal itself. The goal is really just an excuse to reorganize your internal self.