Happiness is an Inside Job

Do not link your happiness to what happened or what is yet to happen

Too many people go through their lives feeling miserable. They feel like we are missing out on something. Day after day they are going through the motions while waiting for some big event to happen just so they think they will finally be happy.

Some say the media is to blame as it links happiness in these modern times to materialistic things. It has become common for children to be given a computer or phone screen to keep them happy, busy and quiet, while their parents rely on their work and social status to provide that euphoric high. For too many people, happiness has been reduced to select moments in history and possible future events. Without them, many people feel they have nothing to be happy about.

Ask many young people today their version of happiness. They will tell you about climbing the corporate ladder or earning more money or driving fancier cars and living in bigger houses. That is why many people are stuck in jobs they do not enjoy. Many are slaving away for the opportunity to get promotions and big bonuses at the end of the year while remaining unfulfilled and miserable on the inside.

Do should not put happiness off until tomorrow.

Society has put conditions to happiness that most cannot meet. The message from society is if you go with the flow of common thinking, somewhere along the way you will encounter happiness in the form of money, cars, or mansions. For some, happiness will come once they can afford exotic trips. For others, it will come when they meet the elusive one and start a family, living happily ever after.

Don’t fall for this mistaken line of thinking. No one can be happy because if they link happiness to people and things that may come. These offer temporary thrills because people can be here today and gone tomorrow, and the same goes for things, opportunities and possessions. You could have the job of your dreams today and lose it tomorrow. The same goes for money and property. True happiness should not come from material things or status, as they can be easily lost or taken away. True happiness must come from within, starting with accepting yourself, and being fully responsible for your choice whether to be happy or not.

Do not be hung up on the past.

True happiness is not about what happened in the past. Not that you should discount how the past has influenced your present. Past successes are good because they motivate you towards future success. Remembering past battles you have encountered and conquered will give you joy and confidence that you can handle anything that comes your way.

It’s not just the successes of your past that matter. Your failures are incredibly important because what you do about them shapes your future even more than the successes. If you learn from them, you will grow. If you blame and wallow, then you are going to be miserable. Use the failures to your advantage. I once heard the more you fail, the greater your success will be. Think about it – it’s true!

Remember moments that brought you happiness in the past with fondness, but be deliberate about creating happy moments in the present. If there are memories of people who made you happy in the past and they are no longer in the picture for any reason, make brief trips down memory lane but do not tie your happiness to those moments only.

What is happiness?

‘Happiness is an inside job. Do not assign anyone or anything else that much power over your life.’ Mandy Hale.

Happiness is a state of mind. It has little to do with people and events and more to do with your internal environment. Since it is something that happens within an individual, you can control how you respond to external factors that will try to dampen your happiness.

Make deliberate choices to be happy outside of specific events. You should not limit your happiness to times when you have your friends and family or spouse around you. Though it is good to keep them company and have strong relationships, you do not need other people to be happy.

To have true happiness independent of your past or probable future, you need to:

Enjoy every moment now, even when you are by yourself.

Cheerful people thrive regardless of who is around. They are so comfortable on their own that they can enjoy every moment, even when no one else is around.

Do not postpone your joy today for what might happen. Live in the present and enjoy every moment as it comes. Learn to love the solitude, and treasure the time you have to spend with yourself.

Accept yourself, flaws, and all.

If you have ever been around a person with a jovial disposition, you know that they are confident in themselves, regardless of their flaws. To be happy, accept that you are the best version of yourself. No one else is like you, and that makes you unique. Everything you feel you want to change about your look, you can own and make work for you. There are many people who are taking what they perceive to be hindrances, stumbling blocks, or handicaps and owning them so much that they allow themselves to become victim to the very things that make them unique. It’s okay to be imperfect – that’s part of being human. The secret is accepting yourself as you are.

Do not compare yourself to anyone else. It robs you of your happiness. You will spend all your time chasing after the unrealistic image of perfection that social media portrays. The world doesn’t need two of them, it needs one of you and would be incomplete without you.

Practice daily gratitude.

A happy, contented soul is one that is appreciative of each and every one of the things happening in their life – good or not so good. Cheerful people are content with whom they are and what they have. They express gratitude for the good deeds that others do for them. When your focus is on being grateful, you do not have time to complain. When you do not have time to complain, life is better and you find more things for which you can be thankful.

It is possible to enjoy life daily if you take the time to be present in the now, regardless of what company you keep or what you have. Adopt enjoyable daily rituals that keep your spirits up. Your happiness is your responsibility. Let nothing rob you of it!

Still need a little help?

If you still need some help figuring out how to be happy from the inside out, may I offer a suggestion that has helped me more than I could imagine? It is the InsideOut Institute. You can learn more about InsideOut by watching the short videos on this page. (Please tell them Sue Pine sent you if anyone asks.)

Find your purpose – find your joy!

12 thoughts on “Happiness is an Inside Job”

  1. In currently in my mid-twenties and I have been struggling with several mental illnesses that have prevented me from fully seeing what life has to offer. Due to that, I try finding happiness in the smallest things – ex. a song, the company of my dog, my favorite tv show, etc. Society has made us believe that happiness depends on monetary reasons and because of that people tend to try so hard to have a higher paying job, fancier things, etc and yes, that can potentially help but it will not fix your state of mind and how you see life.

    • Hi Stephanie – I’m glad you are able to find happiness in the small things. I believe that is key. You are correct that having nice things is not the answer. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. 

  2. Hi

    Love your article Happiness is an Inside Job. because IS COMPLETELY THE TRUTH!

    You are perfectly right when you said, that ‘Happiness is an inside job. Do not assign anyone or anything else that much power over your life.’ Mandy Hale. 

    As also Deepak Chopra explain and I can’ find any other right or logical explanation, we are here as a spiritual been leaving a human experience. And everything we are perceiving right, every pain or discomfort in the body now is bcs is a perception of being aware of what’s going on.

  3. Excellent advice and I cannot agree more. If you keep looking to the future for happiness, you will never be happy because you will never be there. That moment that you encounter the future you desire is gone in a moment. Meanwhile, learning to be happy in the present will offer you great opportunities for your future. 

    What sort of thoughts should we be aware of to know that we’re not being present nor happy but instead looking for an escape in the future?

    • Hi Christina – thank you for the comments. Your question, “What sort of thoughts should we be aware of to know that we’re not being present nor happy but instead looking for an escape in the future?” is quite thought provoking. My advice is to take some quiet time and ask yourself why you’re focusing on certain things. If you meditate or journal these would be excellent ways to work through that question.  Once we know “why” we can usually make a fair and honest evaluation. 

  4. Among all the things listed in the article I resonated with one in particular. It is that one should not dwell on the past. In my youth I had a major problem of constantly feeling guilty for the things I have done or could’ve done. Luckily I have learned to leave the past in the past and I am much happier for it.

    • Hi Omer – it is wonderful that you have learned to leave the past behind!  That is so freeing. Thank you for your comments. 

  5. Hi there

    Thank you for a positive blog.  I enjoyed reading through it.

    I agree that indeed happiness is an inside job. Many of us feel entitled to feeling happy and blame the media, the weather, the virus and so many other things for our unhappiness.

    I love the Balance App where Ofosu speaks about loving kindness and wishing all those we meet happiness.  In wishing others happiness we seem to get happy too.

    So basically it is what you are saying.

    Best wishes



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