By John Tamiazzo, PhD
(November 16, 2018)
It is a common occurrence for people to use expressions such as: “if only I had more friends; if only I were more successful; if only I had a college degree; if only I could meet the right person; if only I could get a good job; if only I could get a better job; if only I could make a name for myself; if only I had more money….The assumption in each case is that if this one condition was met or wish granted, then life would be much better.
Zig Ziglar wrote, “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”
“If only” thinking can take you around in endless circles. Instead, find the places and achievements from the past that you are proud of; the ones that have merit and put a smile on your face as you think about them. Of course there are things you want to make better and improve upon and habits you want to let go. But in order to bring about successful change and transition, you must celebrate the accomplishments you have made and spend time looking at how much there is about you and your life there is to appreciate and be grateful for.
While at the grocery store the checker, who reads my Sedona.Biz weekly articles, told me that she didn’t have enough money left over from all the upcoming holiday expenses to purchase a gift for a friend. Instead of, “If only I had more money,” she is going to give her friend the gift of cleaning her entire house and is quite excited about doing this. Kahlil Gibran wrote, “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”
“I’ll be happy when…” is another way of saying the same thing and indicates that happiness is located someplace in the future. What are you happy about now? What are some of the things about your life today that you can honestly say are going well?
Taking stock of what you are accomplishing now will ultimately lead you on a successful journey into the future if you begin to take notice of the words you are using and the thoughts you are pondering. If you find yourself saying or thinking, “I’ll be happy when…” simply insert one additional word and the meaning instantly changes. “I’ll ‘also’ be happy when….” puts your life into a much more positive frame. The word ‘also’ means that you have been happy in the past, you are happy now in a variety of ways, and in addition, you will be happy in the future.
Author Jack Canfield wrote, “By taking the time to stop and appreciate who you are and what you’ve achieved and perhaps learned despite a few mistakes, stumbles and losses, you actually can enhance everything about you. Self-acknowledgment and gratitude are what give you the insights and awareness to move forward toward higher goals and accomplishments.”
John Tamiazzo is the author of two self-help books: Love & be Loved: 8 Steps to Creating Intimacy and Finding the Love You Want; Returning to the Land of Oz: Finding Hope, Love, & Courage on Your Yellow Brick Road. Visit his website JohnTamiazzo.com to learn more about his Counseling and Non-Profit Consulting Services. He is the former Executive Director of the Sedona Community Center.