Inside-Out Happiness

Like most people, I was taught and I believed for a long time that my happiness was created by my characteristics and circumstances. My thinking was:

1. When I’m smarter, I’ll be happier.
2. When I’m more athletic, I’ll be happier.
3. When people like me more, I’ll be happier.
4. When I have more kitchen gadgets (really), I’ll be happier.
5. Etc., etc., etc.

Over time, I’ve learned that my happiness (or my unhappiness) is really largely created by my thinking about myself and my life. This has been a profound discovery for me and I want to share it with you today. I have a few questions for you to ponder to help drive home how this works for me and can work for you.

1. Think about something bad that happened to you in the past or something bad in the future that you don’t want to happen to you. Close your eyes and really imagine it. You could feel the bad emotions, right? But the situation is not happening right now, right? So it’s not the situation itself that makes you unhappy. It’s your thinking about the situation that’s creating the unwanted emotions in your body.
2. As yourself this question: Am I always unhappy when I have these same characteristics or circumstances? For example, say you wish you were taller, but you are always 5 feet, 5 inches tall. Sometimes this makes you feel bad about yourself. But other times, you certainly are super happy, probably when you are doing things you love to do. This shows you clearly that it’s not being 5 feet, 5 inches tall that makes you unhappy, it’s your thinking about it that makes you unhappy. When you are not thinking about it, you feel great. So it’s not a fact that being 5 feet, 6 inches tall equals unhappiness for you. It’s only that way when you agree with the thinking that it’s that way.
3. Ask yourself this question: Could someone else, having the same characteristics or circumstances as me, be happy? For example, say you wish you lived in a different neighborhood and you feel down about where you live now. Could anyone else you know really enjoy living in your current neighborhood? If the answer is yes, and it almost certainly is, then you know that it’s your thinking about living in the neighborhood you’re living in that is making you unhappy. Because it’s not a fact that living in that neighborhood equals unhappiness.

Think about it. Have a great Monday!

Photo 10--Smiley Face



2 thoughts on “Inside-Out Happiness

  1. I spend a lot of time trying to reframe my thoughts. I might not be able to prevent the thoughts from coming in, but I am in control of how much power I give them. For instance, a thought I often think is, “If I were only skinnier”. When I have that thought I recognize that I am having it, and consciously replace it with a thought like, “My body, just as it is, can give piggy back rides to a 4 year old and run for miles”. I have learned that creating habits to think a new way takes deliberate, often uncomfortable, and sometimes silly feeling, practice.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s