Happiness is yours

What is a happy person?

A happy person is a person who is happy.

Who or what makes a happy person happy?

The person!

Have you noticed how many times the same few words are repeated here? 

Why do you think that is?

Some would say  a happy person has or does certain things and as a result is happy, That description could go on for pages because a writer would argue that some things make some people happy that make others sad etc etc.


Asking who makes a person happy might be answered with a list of roles :- Parents, partners, friends family Etc. ad infinitum.


I don’t say those things because they are not right, the examples that people give are the add-ons to happiness, the things that perhaps expand the happiness.


Putting it in short simple terms: YOU decide if you are going to be happy--- yes you do. Your frame of mind determines your mood, not just in the moment but through your life. The way you view the world will make you, in broad terms, either an optimist or a pessimist, you do not know it but that is a choice you made. Admittedly the choice was an unconscious one and there is a sliding scale of optimism and pessimism along which we are all distributed.

The important thing to recognise here is that we can change position, in either direction and influenced by life events. That though has to be a conscious choice and requires work.


Each day we look at things around us, evaluating some and taking others for granted. We are shaped partly  by the experiences that we have and partly by the way we choose to respond to them.

You will easily be able to identify situations where something has happened and those involved have seen the event in diametrically opposite ways:_

 Someone goes for a job and gets rejected, they feel worthless and depressed by the rejection, lose confidence, become introspective. and go into a downward spiral. Another person goes for the same job, gets the same rejection letter and  sits down to analyse what had gone wrong, they change their C.V., improve their interview technique, take advice and  feel that the rejection was a really useful exercise to help them succeed .

Happiness comes from within you. You can notice simple things and ascribe a value to them or you can disregard them as you search for something else. For example standing in the garden before going to bed, taking in the cool evening air, the quietness, stillness the calm the fragrances of the air, the night sky, clouds, moon, stars, branches waving in the breeze and so much more. Alternatively you lock the door and trudge up the stairs anticipating a sleepless night—which, by that anticipation, you have just programmed your mind to give you because the mind always tries to deliver whatever you expect.  That spiral thinking is very effective (Remember that for later).


Happy people don’t just happen. They have developed happiness either through copying the thinking patterns of those around them or from exactly the opposite, when they are surrounded by sad people. Like attracts like, people tend to be drawn to those who think and act in the way they do.  This is peer pressure at a subtle level.


Is it just luck that makes some happy?  No, anyone can be happy but there are many factors at work. Some feel that they cannot, should not, are not entitled to be happy, they may have come to that conclusion or someone may have impressed that belief on them. They may be convinced by others that their lack of wealth, status, connections means that they have no reason to be happy.  In a materialistic world happiness is feloniously equated with  what you own and where in society you are placed.

Decide  that no one has the right to deprive you of  happiness and use that as a starting point. Start observing happy people and notice what really makes them happy; surprisingly if you ask them they may not be able to tell you but if you sit back and watch them you will be able to tell them the answer, New possessions give a brief hit of excitement--- just like taking a sugary drink when you are tired to boost energy briefly. But look at the person with the expensive car  a week after they got it--- by then the novelty has worn off-- it is just a car, it needs cleaning, servicing, refuelling--- it gives pleasure but it does not give happiness.


Pleasure is so often confused with happiness and that is where problems arise. Pleasure is temporary, a bonus, a treat, it can be experienced separately from happiness and is often a substitute—new shoes, new house, holiday all diversions while waiting for happiness to come along. The crazy thing is happiness is always there but sometimes you cant see it because you are searching in the wrong place to find it.

Often happiness is an absence of things—absence of worry, absence of doubt, absence of jealousy, absence of stress

If you can think back to the spiral of sadness  and then construct a spiral of happiness you will be amazed at how your view changes.  If the way you view something makes you angry, causes arguments, deprives you of friends  consider modifying that thought. Wonder where the belief came from, has it served you well, is it still appropriate? Is it time to re-evaluate?

You may have strong beliefs but accepting that not everyone shares those beliefs and that not everyone should share those beliefs allows you to understand the complexity of life. That wider view enriches you, makes you feel a better person and allows you to examine much more of the world around you with fresh vision.


Making discoveries of your own is what makes you happy. Your response to your surroundings, depends on how you see things, the interpretation you put on them.

We talked about not being entitled to be happy but are we entitled to be unhappy when we realise the destructive effect that has on us and those around us?

Happiness is a positive force for good in our lives, it is not a bonus, it is not reserved for the deserving it is not limited or rationed. It is yours  and you need to use it to give you energy, motivation, support, anticipation and aspiration.

Happiness is the realisation of being alive and all that it involves, it is not something to be searched for it is within you and you need to allow it to be.


Describe an unhappy person and you will start listing what they do not have more than what they do have. But then look at the list again---you may have things like lack of money, poor health, no family, no job. There are people with all those aspects to their life that would tell you that they have an inner happiness and that is what helps them deal with  what others see as  hardships.

We all have the capacity to be happy, we need to give ourselves permission to be happy so that we can help others to be happy too.


The decision to look at long held beliefs and values is one path. Another would be  to become aware of the life you have, making a list of all the positive things that happen day by day.    Get used to allowing yourself to see positives, notice how that then opens up additional options when you have something that needs attention. Notice how much more inventive you become, how quickly you can respond and how well others respond to your creativity.  Noticing negatives becomes a habit and produces a limited range of options by turning it around and noticing the positives you will be amazed at how different the world looks--- no longer an endless stream of problems to be solved but instead an endless stream of opportunities to be explored.

Any change takes effort, any change involves being brave enough to take that first tentative step. 

You can do it--- so do it.


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These articles are designed to get you thinking, to ask you to challenge your own preconceptions. You are not asked to accept them without question but rather to consider what you see and form your own new view.

© Martin Williams 2013/15/16