Happiness comes from within, let me qualify this statement because far too many people have forgotten this what this common phrase really means, and how to apply it to their lives.
When people want something in their life to change or to feel happy, too frequently do they look to external factors and not within themselves.
“I’ll be happy when…….”
What is happening when someone says this phrase is that they are looking at something external to change their internal state, in the phrase ‘I’ll be happy when..’ the ‘when’ refers typically to a material object, a status, a new job, financial gain or a lifestyle choice.
This is why some people with everything are never happy, because they are always looking for their happiness from elsewhere and more specifically from an external source.
The opposite also holds true some people with next to nothing feel secure, fulfilled and successful, could this be because they know real happiness comes from within?
By looking external for happiness we lose the ability to look inside ourselves, we lose the ability to tap into personal strength and build resilience, in doing so we are also giving the responsibility away to control our own emotional well being, we are letting our mood and internal state become dependent on our environment.
Do the objects we buy, really contain an intrinsic energy that gives us happiness?
I think not.
The confounding factor is that consumerism, materialism and all of the marketing that surrounds us everywhere in today’s society reinforce the view that our well being is reliant on external factors.
When happiness comes from within we are looking inside for happiness we gain resilience, we gain strength, we become independent of our external factors, we immunise ourselves against the affluenza and materialism of today’s society.
When happiness comes from within we acquire also comes the ability to become independent, to gain the ability to change the external world from inside out and to be proactive in doing so, this is the opposite to being reactive to our external environment.
Happiness comes from within, this virtue and emotion is a product of our own mind, and we can control when we want to be happy, too often do we consciously condition ourselves to wait for an external event before we allow our selves to be happy, the phrase ‘I’ll be happy when…’ conditions us to delay our happiness, to be happy only when the external factor happens.
Why not allow yourself to be happy right now, happiness can happen if you want it to instantly, it shouldn’t be an ‘if” or a ‘then’ it can be a now, so don’t make yourself wait, if happiness comes from within you can have it right now.
External sources of happiness tend to be short lived and not fulfilling, the happiness received soon disappears leaving the individual again with an emptiness, little direction and no real purpose, just look at the shopaholic repeating their behaviour again and again.
I talk a lot to unhappy people in my job, I also see another worrying trend, the people that look externally for happiness, also tend to look eternally for factors to prove their unhappiness.
When I hear the phrase ‘I’m unhappy because…’ what these people are doing is consciously searching for evidence in their surroundings to reconfirm their decision to be unhappy inside rather than the opposite.
Getting back to happiness comes from within, I read this a few months ago whilst researching this subject; written by W. Beran Wolfe in his book ‘How to Be Happy Though Human’ in 1931;
“People are unhappy ….They worry too much about what they lack, about circumstances they cannot change, about things they feel they must have or must be before they can lead a full and satisfying life.”
Wolfe I think has hit the nail on the head, his book I believe is one of the first real classics on positive psychology, he also argues that any person, other than those with severe mental incapacity, are capable of deciding what they want to do, perhaps when he wrote this he is referring to us all having the ability to control our mind and make our own decision and like him I believe ‘happiness is not a having it is a doing’.
I hope the next time you hear ‘happiness comes from within’ after reading this article you will understand how true this phrase is, and the next time you hear yourself say ‘I’ll be happy when’ you stop and think to yourself why do I have to wait for something outside of me to effect how I feel inside because real happiness comes from within, and happiness really is an inside job.