Changing unhelpful beliefs – “If ____________ then I will be happy”


Quick summary: there is a common belief that many of us hold which is based on what I will call the “if – then -” philosophy. Many of us believe that happiness is something to be found in the future. In order to reach this goal of happiness (or relaxation or whatever the emotional goal might be) we create a belief system which quantifies what we need in order to be happy. We tell our selves “If __________ (the blank is an occurrence that has not happened yet) then I will be __________ (the blank is whatever the emotional goal is. Example: at peace, relaxed, happy, ready, confident etc). The problem that arises is that this belief is rarely ever true, and even when it hold a degree of truth we rarely pause long enough to actually enjoy the positivity which was to be acquired at meeting the goal. The point that I am trying to make is that many of us have reached the goals that we set countless times, and yet we still find the emotional reward that was to accompany that goal to be elusive. I am not suggesting to stop setting goals, instead I am suggesting for you to allow yourself gratitude for what you already have and for what you have already accomplished. Happiness is something that you innately and infinitely possess sometimes the most difficult thing to do is to stop your never-ending wants so that you can enjoy the happiness and wonder of this very moment.

Happiness is all around you… you need but to pull your attention back from the ‘wanting’ thoughts of your mind to enjoy it.

Sit now and remember the goals that you have carried through your life… you wanted to get your drivers license… you wanted to have your own residence… you wanted to learn how to do something… you wanted to meet someone… you wanted to travel somewhere… you wanted to say something to someone… you wanted a family… you wanted an education

Your mind might first trick you into focusing on everything that you did not accomplish… notice this trick of the mind and allow your attention back to what you did accomplish.

Whether an accomplishment was big or small is both relative and subjective…

Allow yourself to feel the positivity of what you hold and what you have accomplished…

Perhaps now we can change this unhelpful belief to:

I hold gratitude for _____________ and I am allowing myself to feel ___________

“When will the gifts of our work come about? When we open our eyes and look all around” – WHB


“You will experience what you wish to feel when you allow yourself to feel that way.” -WHB

William Hambleton Bishop is a practicing therapist in Steamboat Springs Colorado.
William Hambleton Bishop
William Hambleton Bishop is a practicing therapist in Steamboat Springs Colorado.

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