One of my favorite quotes is, "I still remember a time when I wished for what I have now." When I first read it, that quote told me, like a smack to the face, to appreciate the here and now and stop complaining so much. As I think you know about me by now, I'm not one of those people who will tell you it’s unsafe to ever complain. But let's face it—we all do it too much. It's so in our natures to focus on the negative or look for what we need to fix. We think, "If I could just _______________, I'd be happy." Fill in the blank with whatever you've told yourself.
If we base our happiness on things that are changeable, our ability to be happy teeters on a razor's edge, ready to drop us into unhappiness at any moment. If you can't be happy unless you're married, what happens if your marriage ends for some reason? If you can't be happy unless you have a particular job, what happens if you don't get that job? There are people in dire circumstances who still manage to be happy or at least have moments of contentment, regardless of what they endure. We can all learn a lot from them.
We have to find a way to be our happiness. Rather than seek happiness, we can learn to cultivate it within ourselves. Yes, we allow external things to bring us moments of happiness. We enjoy our marriage as fully as we possibly can, for example, but we're much better off if we don't rely on it for our happiness.
For example, ask yourself: If I separate myself from the idea that I don't have enough money right now, how do I feel? If I separate myself from the fact that somebody doesn't like me, how do I feel? Can I feel contentment even if these so-called negative circumstances remain true?