Won’t it be great when you can finally relax into the arms of your beloved…
Knowing that your future together will be long and happy?
No more wondering whether it will work out.
No more wondering whether he’s out there.
No more wondering if you’ll have what it seems like every other woman on earth has, a happy family and a loving home.
As women, we’re given boxes to check off.
- Get an education.
- Build a career.
- Buy a home.
- Stay healthy and fit.
- Find the person we’re meant to spend our lives with.
Until we check off all the boxes, we have to keep hustling and pushing and driving ourselves.
What no one tells us is that the promised reward at the end—a happy life filled with contentment and satisfaction—is in no way guaranteed.
You can get all the things—the career, the house, the husband, the family—and still not feel any different than before.
Strangely enough, knowing this can actually make you happier.
You don’t have to wait to get all the things. You can be happier right now.
Why You Never Feel Much Happier Than You Do Now
Researchers studied the happiness levels of couples who got married for the first time.
They found that, yes, getting married gives you a nice happiness boost, but it doesn’t last.
You end up feeling just about as happy as you were before you got married.
There’s a scientific reason for this:
Hedonic adaptation is the theory that no matter what life throws at us, positive or negative, we eventually adapt.
Whether we win the lottery or get into a car crash, the effects on our happiness are temporary. We eventually return to feeling the exact same way we’ve always felt.
But Don’t Wealth and Fame Make You Happier?
That’s not what we’re told, of course.
We’re told that earning more money makes you happier. Becoming famous for what you do makes you happier. Looking incredible at your ideal weight makes you happier. Being married to a great guy makes you happier.
You could probably name at least a dozen things that would make you happier right now. “Life would be great if only….” and fill in the blank.
But you probably have a friend who’s generally happy no matter what is going on in her life.
You may also have another friend who’s generally dissatisfied no matter what is going on in her life.
If you think closely, you can probably see that everyone you know stays just about as happy as they always are, regardless of life changes.
So here’s the million-dollar question:
What determines how happy we usually feel?
This Is Why You’re As Happy As You Are
Our happiness set point is 50% genetic, 10% due to our circumstances, and 40% under our control.
You can’t do much about your genes. Changing your circumstances will only nudge your happiness set point slightly.
But you can change the way you live your life.
It turns out that the pursuit of happiness is not the pursuit of wealth, fame, love or luxury.
Happiness lies in the little things.
Little pleasures that we enjoy every day. Habits that fill us with positive emotions. Investing in experiences and relationships rather than material things.
Isn’t That Pleasure Principle?
If you’re one of my long-time followers and you’re thinking, “This sounds a lot like the Pleasure Principle,” you’re right!
The Pleasure Principle is the choice to move towards the things that make us happy, rather than away from the things that give us pain.
Right now, you may have a number of things in your life giving you pain. Your job isn’t where you want it to be. Your living situation isn’t what you want it to be. Your love life isn’t where you want it to be.
You can certainly devote your energies to fixing all those things…
But reserve part of your energy for doing the stuff that makes you happy.
Researchers have found that you can shift your happiness with simple, everyday habits like exercising, hanging out with friends, having a spiritual practice, and making time for hobbies.
My favorite happiness habit is finding something to savor each day.
In order to get around hedonic adaptation, you don’t want to look for pleasure in the same things every day.
If you always get the double-whip caramel frappuccino, then pretty soon it won’t feel special. And if you get the largest size, it won’t feel as special as the smallest size, because that first sip always tastes better than the second or third or fourth.
Pleasure connoisseurs know that limiting yourself ratchets up anticipation and makes you savor every moment. So don’t assume more is better! A little pleasure goes a long way.
So if you’ve been waiting to be in love to enjoy experiences like a fancy restaurant, a box of truffles, or a mini-break somewhere warm, stop waiting for a man. Give yourself the experiences you’ve been longing for.
If you’d like to learn more about the pursuit of pleasure and how it supercharges your love life, then you’ll find a complete 4-week pleasure program in my book The Pleasure Principle. You’ll discover your pleasure profile and find new ways to challenge yourself to incorporate more pleasure in your life.