Why Your Happiness Matters

Published on January 4, 2015 by

During the twelve years I was a psychotherapist in private practice (and in the eight plus years I've been a life coach and an executive coach) I've never had anyone come to me with this simple request: "I want to be happier."

The truth is, most people have mixed feelings about happiness. On one hand, we think it's important. But on the other hand, too many of us still equate prioritizing happiness as being superficial at best or "selfish" at worst.

We're still being told by many "experts,"  "If you focus on yourself, you'll end up alone and miserable."

Here's what my experience (personal and professional) has taught me:

  • Focusing on yourself and your happiness is healthy because you can't directly change others or your circumstances in life. However, you can change others or your circumstance indirectly by changing yourself.

 

  • Until you learn to be happier (right now, not later) you won't be happy when you get what you think will make you happy: More money, the right job, the right relationship, less stress in your life, better life circumstances and so on.

 

More than that, if you got all those things but weren't really happy, what would you really have?

Learning to be happier now, however, is key to  getting all those things.

If you look at your life and you think you have a money problem, a relationship problem, a health problem or a job problem, think again.

The "problem" isn't your lack of money, a job you don't love or something else you've identified as the problem you need to fix.

When we finally learn that our happiness doesn't depend on these things, everything changes. We can learn to be happier with ourselves and our lives right now.

The interesting thing is that by doing that, achieving the other things we want becomes so much easier.

Agree? Disagree? I welcome all your comments or questions.

 

6 Comments

  1. TJ

    Alan,

    First of all I absolutely love your writing. Secondly, only a very few have learned to put their happiness first. So, yes, it seems foreign and weird when someone tells you to put your happiness first.

    There is so much that goes into happiness. I have learned that gratitude is a huge factor in my happiness. I also learned to pursue what makes me happy away from work. In the end I am happier, a better person overall, and a more engaged employee.

  2. Alan Allard

    TJ, thanks for your comment on my writing, I appreciate it. I certainly agree with you that gratitude is a huge factor in happiness. I don't know how we could be happy if not grateful. Thanks for adding your insights.

  3. Steve

    I couldn't agree more. It's kind of like when Abraham Lincoln said that, "You can't help the poor by becoming one of them." You can't help the unhappy by becoming one of them or feeling bad about being happy when they aren't.

    Just as we're told before riding an airplane that we need to take care of our own safety before we can help others with theirs, we have to model happiness if we want to spread it to the rest of the world. Bring it into the world through yourself. Don't wait for it to happen to you from the outside.

    And, as far as ending up lonely...it seems happy people are confident people, and draw people to themselves.

    • Alan Allard

      Steve, good point you make here: "And, as far as ending up lonely...it seems happy people are confident people, and draw people to themselves." Thanks for adding your thoughts.

  4. Dan Black

    Happiness is an inside job. We have to make the choice to be happy no matter how much or little we might have. Fantastic post!

  5. Alan Allard

    Dan, I agree that it doesn't matter how much or how little happiness we might have right now. We can choose to learn how to grow the happiness we have. Thanks for stopping by and for your insights.

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