Happiness, Inside Job – Practicing Joyful Life

Happiness can often be temporary, and for most of us it is defined by factors such as events, friends, partners, etc. Although I absolutely agree that certain achievements make us very happy, in reality happiness is an inside job.

What do I mean by that?

Happiness, Inside Job - Practicing Joyful Life

It’s simple. If your happiness depended on outside circumstances and other people, then you are placing your happiness in uncertain hands. You are allowing others to have control over it. This applies to any circumstance. Let’s take love, for example.

Happy When You Find Your Guy or Gal?

Of course, it is wonderful to spend quality time with your partner, and I can only recommend it, but that time with your partner should not be the basis for feeling happy or “complete”. You should be able to feel just as happy when you are away from your partner.

Enjoy that walk around a lake while holding hands with him or her. I would feel blessed as well doing that. A nice, romantic stroll, the setting sun bathing the water in glorious colors, just feeling in love. Wonderful! I agree. Who wouldn’t love that, right? Nonetheless, don’t make it all about your boyfriend/girlfriend. In other words, do not plan your daily activities around him/her. Have your own life.

couple at lake

In the end, you will be doing both of you a favor. No one wants a clingy partner and if your happiness is going to depend on your husband/wife/ girl-or boyfriend, aren’t you placing a lot of pressure on him/her? It’s important to be happy with but also without.

And having your own time and not making it all about your partner can only improve your bond. It may sound ironic, but if you know how to find happiness within yourselves, you’ll have a better and stronger relationship with each other.

Find happiness within and you’ll have happiness with-out.

happy alone

If you’re single and you think that you’ll only be happy in a relationship, then perhaps it is time to ask yourself a few questions. If you’re not happy now, what makes you think that a relationship will change everything? What if your long awaited goal is achieved and your spouse happens to have a life of his or her own and doesn’t see your union as the ultimate goal but rather as a part of his/her journey? What then?

Love Yourself

Before you can be happy with someone you must learn to be happy with yourself. Before you can love someone you must learn to love yourself.

love yourself

Yes, but there are certain events that will elevate our level of happiness, such as graduating from high school or university, getting a raise at work, achieving a goal you worked really hard for. Of course, you deserve celebrating those feats, they are some huge accomplishments! Just make sure that in order to get to your goals, you don’t forget to enjoy the journey 😉


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Enjoy the Journey

When I was around twelve years old, a friend of my parents (and the mother of a friend of mine) died. One day she was doing her daily chores and being her usual busy self and the next day she literally dropped dead … a brain aneurysm. Her name was Denise.

I knew her well. My friend and I were born in the same hospital, just three weeks apart. Denise and her family sometimes went on vacation with my parents and me, and we had summer barbecues together. I often stayed for lunch or dinner at her house and I spent several nights there.


Denise was always busy. She worked hard … really hard … They were living in an apartment and she and her husband planned to build a house. For years and years Denise worked her butt off to save for that dream house, and on top of that she also took care of her three children and her husband. Her husband worked too, but in the 80s I still didn’t see many men helping out with house chores … her husband was usually in the living room.

Denise had little free time for herself. It was always work, work, work until late in the evening. When I stayed over at their place, I hardly ever saw her sit down and watch a movie with us at night …


She died when she was 40 … We were all shocked. Many people loved Denise, she had been such a sweet lady. Now she was gone.

I still remember my reaction when I heard the news. I was shocked and saddened … and I thought of all her hard work and sacrifice and how it had all been for nothing. Now she was dead and she could never enjoy her dream house. Although I was only 12 and I did not know much about the world, I understood that Denise had worked so hard to achieve her goal that she had forgotten to enjoy the ride; and now it was too late. I remember telling my parents that I didn’t want to end up like that, that I wanted to enjoy life as well.

I never forgot the lesson that Denise unwillingly taught me, and although there was a point in my life where I also worked hard and made many sacrifices to pay off my property, after several years I remembered what had happened to Denise, and I slowed down.

slow down

How Much do we Control?

In life, there isn’t much we have control over, but we have control over our own reactions and our happiness.

We can either focus on the bad stuff that sometimes seems to be showering or even pounding on us like a hailstorm or we can choose to pay attention to the good things we still have, show gratitude for the beauty we still find in our lives.

In times of scarce finances, I was thankful for the food in my fridge. When things didn’t go so well, I listened to the birds sing in my garden and was grateful for the beauty of their free music. As soon as you feel the beginnings of a smile on your face, that smile can’t be stopped and you will feel better instantly.

If you can still smile, not everything is lost.


When the workers on the lot across from mine still played their music for hours on end, not letting me work, and not caring about my repeated requests to lower the volume, I showed relief that at least it wasn’t as loud as it used to be 9 months ago when that whole mess started. (it has been taken care of now 🙂 )

Always find beauty in the darkest places.

This is not always easy; it´s probably incredibly hard to find beauty in hostile or menacing places, but even if you find just a tiny speck of light in darkness, you found a little hope and happiness, and then it can only grow.

candle in darkness

Final thoughts

If your happiness depends on outside factors it is doomed to be temporary. If your happiness comes from within, then it has a better chance of being permanent. Of course, life happens and tragedy can unfortunately not always be avoided. We need time to cry and mourn, but that time inevitably has to come to an end and then you – and only you – need to work on finding that inner happiness again.

I make it sound so simple, but I’m well aware that it is not. It can sometimes take years to make happiness an inside job, and it is an ongoing process to keep it that way.

Thank you for reading my thoughts on this. Enjoy the journey! 🙂

If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them below in the comment section.

14 thoughts on “Happiness, Inside Job – Practicing Joyful Life”

  1. Hi Christine!
    Thank you for sharing this inspiring post!
    I agree that we should try to find happiness inside, despite it is not that simple as it sounds, especially in the time of sorrow. Such a sad story about your friend Denise! That is definitely a burnout..
    I think to work on feeling happiness inside will help a daily meditation or yoga as well. But also we should vizualize this happiness very clearly in detailes, what do we want in our lives and then it will come true.
    I wish you a lot of happiness in your life!

  2. Indeed true happiness comes from within which I refer to as true joy. As you said there are many things that make us happy for a brief period of time but after that what next. I am just a firm believer that true happiness come form God when you find that peace and joy within. Very good article.

  3. Hi Christine, beautiful article! One of the quotes on my bulletin board says: “Happiness is not trying or finding, it’s deciding”. Like you said, it is so important to realize that happiness should begin with and within ourselves.

    Such a sad story what happened to your parents’ friend Denise. Yet how wise of you that even at 12 you could take it as a life lesson, wow. It has taken me much longer to incorporate this wisdom into my life.

    The thing is, even when we don’t want external events to have a grip on us, it is still nicer to hear for instance that we have done something extraordinary than to get scolded at. Or maybe this struggle is also what makes life interesting. 🙂

  4. Thank you Christine ❤
    I always enjoy your writings, thoughts and wisdom.

    For Denise and all those that knew her;

    ‘When I have gone, I will leave you my reflection always to remember our time together.’

  5. Hey Christine,

    Well done – it’s not an easy topic to do justice to but you’ve done a great job addressing it:)

    I like this comment:

    “…And having your own time and not making it all about your partner can only improve your bond. It may sound ironic, but if you know how to find happiness within yourselves, you’ll have a better and stronger relationship with each other.”

    Talk about an incentive to ‘creating’ your own inner happiness. When we come to a relationship already happy and content with ourselves – we are bringing value to it. And if we are lucky if the other person has the same attitude, if they are not always expecting us to make them happy but have their own inner joy – that’s can only make that bond stronger indeed 🙂 So it’s not ironic at all – especially if you look at it from the reverse. Imagine if the other person is constantly expecting you to make them happy? Phew! That must be draining:)

    There is a lot to comment on in this insightful piece – I could say more on the poignant story you shared but I fear I could go on and drain the happiness of you with my lengthy narrative but I will rest now:)


    • Hi Femi,

      Thank you very much for your insightful comment. I’m happy you liked my article, and if you feel like writing more in your comment, you are always welcome to do that, you won’t drain me 😉 🙂
      Enjoy your rest!

  6. Happiness is always defined by events, friends, and partners but happiness is an inside job unless you don’t feel happy from within you can’t lead a happy life no matter what you pretend to show or believe. Don’t let external circumstances take control over your life. The secret of happiness lies within you if you can’t make yourself happy no one else can do that for you. Mostly when we are in a relationship we feel happy on basis of our partner we feel complete only with him/her, it’s important to be happy with but also without. If your single love yourself before you can be loved. Don’t run after success and expect to get all happiness these are just some huge accomplishments. Just make sure you enjoy your journey while accomplishing your goals. Always have control over your own reactions and happiness. Always find happiness no matter what the situation is, learn to invest time for yourself, and do what makes you happy. It isn’t easy to find happiness in our darkest times but yet believe and have hope. Find joy in every little thing and watch how beautiful and happy your life becomes.
    It can sometimes take years to make happiness an inside job but it’s worth waiting for. That is great information. Thanks

  7. Most people are finding it hard to find happiness from every moment. Life is too short to let it pass by like this and we should treat everyday like it is the last one. If we feel good inside us, good things will happen. This is for sure but you need to first feel this strength inside you in order to radiate it to other people also. And by doing this I am sure it can be a life changer.

  8. There are many things to celebrate every day as you have said, and yes they are fleeting and therefore they will never ‘complete us.’

    However, sometimes I like to remember some experiences that made me feel the happiest and then try and grow and sustain this feeling for longer and longer periods.
    Our bodies are really intelligent, and the cells have memory, and if we can practice being happy more and more often, happiness will become a normal state of being for us. And when our bodies are happy and healthy it becomes a lot easier to maintain a positive mindset.
    The opposite is also true. If we can cultivate a positive mindset, it will naturally create a healthy and happy body for us.

    Death is a necessary part of life and a wonderful teacher. However, it always sucks when we lose someone who has impacted our lives. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story and the positive impact it had on your life.


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