4 Myths About Happiness

Boquete - Snowy-bellied Hummingbird

“To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others.”

~ Albert Camus


If you feel like you are not as happy as you could be, it may be that you are holding onto certain beliefs. In fact, what you believe about happiness may hold the key to how much joy you actually experience in your life.

Some of the most common myths about happiness may cause you to hold yourself back from experiencing the best of all life has to offer. Here are some examples.

Myth #1: You can only be happy if….

I think if I had to choose one happiness myth that causes people pain, this would be it. Do you ever find yourself feeling that there is one particular thing or person missing from your life, and without it you can’t possibly be happy?

You may wish very much for a new car or a bigger house. You may wish for someone to share your life with if you are single. You may wish for more time to yourself if you have a smothering spouse or a large family.  You may wish for small things like a certain pair of shoes, or big things like a new job or the ability to travel to exotic places.

Don’t postpone your happiness. You have exactly what you need today, and it’s possible to be happy with exactly what you have. Sure, you might be able to be happier if you had more money and more people surrounding you. But you can choose to be happy in your present circumstances, because happiness is not something that lies outside yourself.

Myth # 2: You can’t be happy because….

Rather than longing for something that you haven’t yet attained, the opposite side of the coin is believing you can’t be happy because of some external thing that has happened to you, such as a recent death, divorce, car accident or health problem.

While loss frequently requires a time of grieving and rebuilding, it doesn’t mean you can’t experience some happiness now, or that you will never experience happiness again.

The subject of loss is very familiar to me. Some of the major losses I have experienced include the death of my husband and my mother. I also experienced an apartment fire while my husband was on hospice care. If you are in pain, my heart goes out to you. But trust me, you will survive the pain and learn from it. Often there are blessings in loss.

If you are hurting today, you may want to read the chapter on loss in my book Happiness for the Clueless. You can be happy again.

Myth #3: You don’t deserve to be happy

Sometimes people think they don’t deserve to be happy. For some people, this could be the result of childhood abuse or trauma. If you grew up in an environment where you were treated like you were worthless, you may have a deep-seated sense of toxic shame and a belief that you don’t deserve to be happy.

Let the past stay in the past. Get in the habit of noticing and recognizing all that you do right each day. Shower yourself with all the love you may not have received up to now.

Another reason you may think you don’t deserve to be happy is guilt over things you have done. Guilt is a terrible emotion that can wreak havoc with present-day happiness. Whatever you have done in the past, there is absolutely nothing you can do to undo it. All you can do is try to do better in the future.

No matter what others may have said to you or what you have done, you deserve to be happy.

Myth #4: You have to work for happiness

How hard do you think you have to work for happiness? The answer: not at all. Happiness is positive emotion that comes from living in today and accepting your circumstances as being exactly the way they are supposed to be. You can hope for certain things to change, you can make a plan and start to take steps toward new goals, but in the meantime simply experience whatever positive feelings you can each and every day.

Don’t work so hard at it. Don’t struggle against what is. Look for the good in this present moment.

As Chuang-Tse said, “Happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.”

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  1. You said it so simply Val, but perfectly. “Don’t postpone happiness.” Well done! Great reminder.

  2. Thanks so much, Sunny! 😀

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