You're only ever happy as you are right now.
It's easy to make the mistake of looking at someone else's life, and what's come before them, and thinking that “they must be so happy”.
What do I mean by this?
Well, think about it like this:
You might have been on holiday for two weeks last month and had the most amazing time ever.
Feeling free every day: down on the beach, going on trips and tours, eating great food, laughing and joking, watching the sun go down, watching the sun come up – an idealistic lifestyle for two weeks that makes you feel a million dollars.
But that holiday has been and gone, and now you're back to work.
You're facing the bills again, you're dealing with the everyday problems family life throws up: issues with work, the car breaking down, fractured relationships with family members, sleep problems, anxiety, stress; whatever it is, – you're in another moment in time and that holiday is long forgotten.
So the same principle applies:
You can look at someone else's life and note that they were born into a really wealthy family, they went to private school, they graduated as a doctor, they go on to holiday twice a year to beautiful resorts, they've got a fantastic car, they are about to buy a new house.
But none of this has any bearing on how happy they are in this moment right now.
In this moment, they could be massively stressed by their workload. Perhaps their personal life is in tatters, but no one outside of their immediate family knows.
Perhaps this person argues with their partner constantly behind closed doors, and the relationship is toxic and causing stress, anxiety and sleepless nights.
Perhaps this is affecting the children, who are now behaving badly at school.
We are constantly judging people by how happy we think they are based on their perceived progress and success in life, and there birth privilege and of what social status they are perceived to be.
You never know what is going on behind closed doors, and you can never see the world through the eyes of somebody else.
But let me not be naïve here, one has to acknowledge that money can ease the strain of a lot of problems in life, problems that face us all.
Money creates opportunity to make more money, and often opens doors to a more privileged life, albeit materially. So in some respects, if used properly, money can be used as a platform to leverage happiness.
But, money or material goods cannot give you sustainable, lasting happiness – because you are only ever as happy as you are right now.
Are you with me here?
There are so many things that can infect our mood, and despite perceived privilege, any of us can be as unhappy as the poorest person, or the person with the hardest job, or the person with the least love in their life.
This feeling of happiness is relative.
And that is why is so important to take time out each day when we get stressed, frustrated or angry at what are usually quite insignificant things, to remove ourselves from the mood, from the emotion, and objectively take a good, hard look at where we are at.
You know this to be true…
…Because there are times in your life when things are absolutely going your way: your job is going well, you have paid off your credit card, you have a loving partner, everything is tickety boo.
But still you find yourself getting unnecessarily uptight and stressed over minor things.
In fact, even when everything is going our way, we often subconsciously seek something or someone to find conflict with.
If we can't find something in our personal lives are at work; if there's no piece of gossip to get our teeth into, or someone in authority to be at odds with, we usually find something in the news to put on our shoulders and carry around.
The point I'm making here is that it doesn't matter what came before this moment. It doesn't matter how happy you were prior to this moment right now.
That holiday in the sun that made you feel so great at the time quickly fades into the past as soon as you step back onto the tarmac of the airport of your home country.
You go right back to your default mode.
You adopt that familiar frame of mind and begin acting out behaviours that are deeply embedded in your subconscious and control the way you think and feel on a daily basis.
So yes: we constantly find ourselves saying we need a holiday, and in fact when we come back from a holiday it is not long before we feel like we need another.
Because it isn't a remedy for happiness.
The same way buying a new car is not a remedy for happiness, the same way getting a bigger house is not a remedy for happiness, the same way jumping in and out of relationships isn't a remedy for happiness.
You are only ever as happy as you are now.
In many ways, you have a choice whether or not to be happy right now.
Obviously there are some very severe, horrible, unthinkable situations where a smile, a laugh, a feeling of contentment could never arise, but those extremes are not usually everyday experiences.
For the most part, we are caught up in the every day stream of thoughts, which is comprised of preconceptions and judgements, subconscious projections, default emotions and behaviours.
But if we stop can stop fighting with the monkey mind for just a minute, we can step outside of this paradigm and enjoy this thing called happiness in real-time.
We can simply choose to accept things as they are right now, even if we don't agree.
We can make peace with ourselves and the world for a moment. We can stop regretting our actions or wishing for change. We can stop perceiving and judging, and just let it all go.
It might not last long. But hey, that's life. Everything is always changing.