When we talk about “destination happiness,” we don’t mean as in “on the way to…” type of destination. Destination happiness is something entirely different and yet, it too is a journey toward happiness. Confused?
Destination happiness is actually a type of syndrome — it’s the notion/nagging feeling of never being truly content with our life in the present and always falling into the trap of the “if’s.” “If I move to a new city, I’ll be happy….” “If I get new friends, I’ll finally be happy because my old friends are not good anymore…” “If I could just get a new job, I’d be really happy….”
“Beware of Destination Addiction – a preoccupation with the idea that happiness is in the next place, the next job and with the next partner. Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, it will never be where you are.” – Dr. Robert Holden
What Does Destination Addiction Look Like?
If you fear you have this addiction, just know that you’re far from alone. Happiness destination addiction is very common, as Psychologist Dr. Robert Holden points out:
“Do you live your life only to get to the end of it? Most people answer this question with a ‘no’, but not everyone lives like they mean it. In the manic society that most of us experience, people exhibit a frantic, neurotic behavior I call ‘Destination Addiction’. This addiction is a major block to success. People who suffer from Destination Addiction believe that success is a destination. They are addicted to the idea that the future is where success is, happiness is, and heaven is. Each passing moment is merely a ticket to get to the future. They live in the ‘not now’, they are psychologically absent, and they disregard everything they have. Destination Addiction is a preoccupation with the idea that happiness is somewhere else. We suffer, literally, from the pursuit of happiness. We are always on the run, on the move, and on the go. Our goal is not to enjoy the day, it is to get through the day. We have always to get to somewhere else first before we can relax and before we can savor the moment. But we never get there. There is no point of arrival. We are permanently dissatisfied. The feeling of success is continually deferred. We live in hot pursuit of some extraordinary bliss we have no idea how to find.” – Dr. Robert Holden in his book Authentic Success: Essential Lessons and Practices from the World’s Leading Coaching Program on Success Intelligence
I know I’ve been guilty of destination happiness addiction and a lot of people I know have been as well. Probably the best way to tackle this cycle of disappointment and anxiety, is to acknowledge it when we see it happening. The truth is, happiness is not a place, a person or a thing. True happiness — long-lasting, deep-seeded happiness, comes from within. It’s actually within all of us, but we just have to sweep away the clutter to see that we’ve had the opportunity to be happy all along. Changing jobs, cities or friends won’t make us happy and neither will objects.
Do We Just Make The Best of Everything?
Some people might say that in order to be happy, one must make the best out of every situation. In my opinion, this is unrealistic. Sometimes, we do need to make a change to be…not happy as it were, but rather, to be happier. Its only logical to accept that we may be in the wrong place and the events/environment that we’re in are toxic to us. But the key differentiator I think, is using the “next best thing” all the time. We may be addicted to running towards happiness when all we ever do, is want to give up and move on. This is a good time to bring up mindfulness — that is when we strive to live in the moment so that we’re dealing with our now, rather than our tomorrow. When we focus on our current situation/place/environment, we’re more adept at analyzing the real problems and more in control of formulating a reasonable solution — but the truth is, we have to be mindful that happiness is more about who we are, than where we think we need to be.
Happiness Is A Choice
We choose to be happy and content. Its our power and right to choose it every single day. So how can we choose happiness?
Count your blessings: Every day, upon waking up and then throughout the day, acknowledge your blessings and be grateful. Counting your blessings also means letting go of jealousy — jealousy/envy are a big factor in falling into the destination happiness syndrome.
Let go of anger and hatred: Anger and hatred are extremely toxic and they do more harm to us than to those we hate. Just let it go — each day, affirm that you will let anger and hatred go out of you and replace it with forgiveness, acceptance and tolerance.
“Anger, resentment and jealousy doesn’t change the heart of others– it only changes yours.” ―
Be kind: It is amazing what a little kindness can do! It not only makes someone else feel good, but it makes us feel good too — we feel more fulfilled when we’re kind and feeling fulfilled is a big part of being truly happy.
Get to know the real you: So often, we’re unsure of who we really are and who we are meant to be. Do some deep soul searching and figure you out — who are you in this world and who is it you’re destined to be? Only when we have a true feel for “us,” can we really let the happiness that is within us flow freely.
A place, a person or a thing, can make us happier, but not necessarily happy in the true sense of the word. Getting in touch with the cosmic peace, harmony and happiness that is within each and everyone of us, should be our goal. I think when we let destination happiness syndrome become too strong of a pull, it might be a good idea to talk with a qualified Therapist — there is never any shame in seeking professional help when we need it.