Why Happiness is an Inside Job


You’ve probably heard it before, the pithy phrase “Happiness is an inside job.” But have you ever stopped to ask yourself why? After all, isn’t happiness based on circumstance while joy is the real coveted virtue? In that case, happiness would seem outside of ourselves altogether.  

While I’m not sure about that, I do know I like being happy more than not. 

In the last several years, I’ve been fascinated by the human brain and have spent tons of time trying to understand it more.  After all, your brain is literally a genius and has the power to heal itself completely over time.  This is why there’s such hopeful prognoses for those who’ve experienced horrific traumas.  

You can’t study the brain without delving into concepts such as the conscious and unconscious mind.  While that’s another post for another day, know this:

Just as the quote mentions above, we possess unfathomable creative control as humans when we learn to harness and practice intentionally directing our thoughts and feelings in the way of our desires.  Sound too airy fairy for your taste?  Fair enough, but check out Dr. Habib Sadeghi’s book Within, to understand the science behind it.  It’s undoubtedly a game-changer. 

Today, I want to give you five helpful reminders as you go about cultivating more happiness and meaning in your everyday experience:

1. Happiness is a practice, not a destination.  We must learn to practice happiness in the small, insignificant moments throughout the day rather than “saving up” for an unrealistic circumstantial pay-off.  

2. We can’t experience happiness without pain.  Life is a series of contractions and expansions.  Picture a caterpillar inching right along.  There are equal contractions and expansions that keep him moving forward.  

3. We create our own emotional experiences by the beliefs we choose to adopt.  Beliefs are simply thoughts we practice thinking over and over again.  Your past thoughts and beliefs have created the reality you’re in today.  

4. Happiness is not contingent on your story.  You and I have agency to write the stories we want to live into.  By taking total responsibility of our experiences and resulting emotions, we are able to move through them and create greater hope and meaning.

5. It’s okay to not be okay.  We put so much pressure on ourselves to be happy.  Yet if life is equal parts expansion and contraction, we must learn to be okay with sadness, heartache, loneliness, and anger.  When we learn to contain our emotions in a healthy way and extend self-compassion to ourselves on the other side, we will likely experience less resistance and more equilibrium in life.  If you have a bad day, let yourself be in it, process it, and move through it instead of faking it. 

Love & Gratitude,