Do you allow external forces to undermine your sense of happiness or level of okayness?

It’s easy to point fingers and pass blame as to why we aren’t happy, or why we believe we’ve been robbed of our joy. If we believe other people or circumstances are the cause of our unhappiness, it’s only natural to also believe the source of our happiness comes from outside of ourselves too.

Expecting our external world to fulfill our sense of happiness within our internal world, is an easy trap to fall into. However, it’s an endless trap that will cause us to drift further from what we truly desire. Making our happiness dependent on forces outside of our control, sets us up to continually chase a moving target.

If this rings true, and you find you receive a temporary sense of happiness that fades as soon as the external source is out of reach, you aren’t alone. I’ve been there and at times I still go there. I’ve experienced heartache, disappointment, loss and excruciating self-doubt. All while feeling disconnected from myself.

I’ve handed my power over to others who don’t have my best interest at heart, hoping and expecting to receive approval, relief or something different from them. I’ve been on the maddening roller coaster where chasing my happiness became an endless loop. I understand the frustration and sadness that can come from yearning to feel like everything is going to be okay, that true happiness is within my reach.

What I’ve come to learn, is happiness is mine for the making and it’s also yours for the making. There is no happiness quota in the world. There is enough joy and love for everyone. We are all worthy of happiness, so please let’s squash that ugly mind virus that says we aren’t worthy – let that sucker go once and for all.

Creating our own happiness is a practice, one where we build ourselves up gently step by step. It comes through reminding ourselves, and each other, to connect inward and trust in our wisdom and resourcefulness. It comes from also reminding ourselves, and each other, to ignore the propaganda and external noise that shouts at us to chase our happiness. The kind that aims to convince us, we are failing in life if we aren’t following a particular credo.

Building ourselves up becomes easier when we stop searching outside for happiness and instead begin the journey home. The journey where we trust in ourselves to guide our steps and lives forward. Where we intentionally quiet the external noise and pressure. Where we create enough of a pause to begin hearing the wisdom that lives within us. The wisdom that lovingly takes our highest path and that of our fellow human beings to heart.

Deciding to take charge of our happiness, doesn’t mean we won’t still experience sadness or heartache. We are human beings, and it’s normal to experience a wide range of emotion on our journey. This isn’t about sweeping all of the hard, messy emotions under the rug. We don’t have to ignore our emotions in favour of striving to walk around happy at all times. Yet, this is often the message our external world urges us to believe – that we shouldn’t have to feel hard emotions and there is something wrong with us if we do. That we are broken and we should follow the newest, quickest fix that encourages us to chase our happiness.

There are loads of valuable outside resources we can turn to for help that will provide us with an immense feeling of happiness and growth. The game changer comes from checking in with ourselves FIRST, before we jump on a new path. When we make it a common practice to befriend and trust our inner truth, it becomes second nature to know what feels right within the sea of a noisy world.

Understanding happiness is ours for the making, means we are gentle with ourselves as we move through our emotions – especially when life serves up the hard, messy stuff. It means we know we are held from within and our wise voice is there to help point us in the next best direction. Sometimes that next best step is reaching out to our trusted people, or taking a baby step in a new direction. Our inner wisdom might hint that we question the validity of a story we may be playing out in our mind, or that we pull particular resources from our external world.

This isn’t about being alone or soldiering through life. It’s about turning inward to hear the soft whisper of our truth, before we assume others know better for us than we do. It’s about appointing ourselves as CEO of our happiness and then making steps and decisions along the way to re-direct and course-correct.

When we empower ourselves to be in charge of our happiness, we are more apt to stay on our own path that is aligned with our personal truth. The true sense of inner peace and happiness stems from authentically walking our own path with pride.

When was the last time you listened in to the soft whisper of your truth? If you appointed yourself in charge of your personal happiness, what might change for you over the course of this next year?


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  • Emily Madill is an author and certified professional coach, ACC with a BA in business and psychology. Emily is one of Thrive Global's Editors-at-large. She has published 11 titles in the area of self-development and empowerment, both for children and adults. You can find her writing in Chicken Soup for the Soul:Think Positive for Kids; Thrive Global; The Huffington Post; TUT. com; Best Self Magazine; MindBodyGreen; The Muse;; TinyBuddha; Aspire Magazine and others. Emily has a private coaching practice and an online program offering courses that support others to create lasting habits around self-love, well-being and all things related to time and weekly planning. She lives on Vancouver Island, Canada, with her husband, two sons and their sweet rescue dog Annie. Learn more at: