What is the psychological problem in "I'll be happy only when [something definite] happens (buy an apartment, get to know a girl)"?

What is the psychological problem in "I'll be happy only when [something definite] happens (buy an apartment, get to know a girl)"?

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answers (2)

Answer 1
January, 2021

The problem with this way of thinking is that it is wrong. That is, you will become happy, of course, but for a very short time - much shorter than you think. This is due to a phenomenon called "hedonistic adaptation" (I read about this in Daniel Gilbert's book Stumbling on Happiness, I think). I will try to explain how it works.

The fact is that the human psyche tends to get used to everything - both good and bad (this is probably a kind of protection from stress). As for the feeling of happiness, it, oddly enough, depends more on the individual characteristics of our psyche and our habits than on external conditions. That is, there is a certain average level of happiness, our daily emotional state (under normal external conditions).

Now an example from the book - let's take two people who have the following events on one day: one won a million in the lottery, and another had his leg cut off. The happiness level of the former skyrocketed, while the happiness level of the latter dropped sharply. However, if we look at these people after a couple of years, we will see that their inner feeling of happiness has returned to the level that they had before the events described. They have adapted, and despite the fact that their lives have changed forever, they feel as happy as they did before.

Accordingly, hedonistic adaptation is an addiction to good things. Having found a girl and bought an apartment, after some time you will become a victim of such adaptation (although a couple of weeks or even months of increased happiness are probably guaranteed to you). This does not mean that you do not need a girl and an apartment - they will give you many other sensations, opportunities for development, comfort, etc. But if you expect from them a constant feeling of happiness, then you simply do not understand how hedonistic adaptation works, and you still have to return to your average level of happiness (the one you have now).

Therefore, it is logical to think about about raising this average. This question was investigated (we read Sonya Lubomirsky, Tal ben Shahar, the same Gilbert), and, unfortunately, it turned out that the average level of happiness is in many ways an innate thing. However, there are some exercises that allow you to raise it a little, namely: to experience and express gratitude, maintain relationships with people, abandon the perfectionist approach, and others. If you're interested, read the authors listed.

Answer 2
January, 2021

An eternal psychological problem is responsibility. If a person decides that he will be happy when something happens, he automatically shifts the responsibility for his feelings to the events of the external world.

Thus, the awareness of his own power to control feelings and emotions is lost, while the external factors of life people take more and more control over him.

What is important to mention in this matter is the "here and now" phenomenon. Briefly describing this principle in relation to this situation, we can say that it is impossible to assert happiness in the future tense, to plan a feeling. All the value of the experience is in a single moment now, when it is felt. Attaching a feeling to an event in the future not only does not guarantee the achievement of the envisioned state, but can also darken the experience. A person sets a goal for himself, plans to rejoice after achieving it, but the feeling at that moment can be absolutely anything, up to anger, irritation, whatever. Expectations generally spoil the peace of mind in many ways, because fantasy is different from reality.

Feel Now, Feel Here, be aware of your responsibility for what happens to you, and everyone will be happy.

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