Why Being Happy with Yourself Is Harder Than Being Miserable

Being happy with yourself isn’t easy. The reason being happy with yourself is harder than being miserable is because being miserable has an immediate pay-off. It’s gets you instant gratification.

Think about it.

Generally speaking, people are negative. They bitch and complain.   If you’re one of these people, pay attention – I’m talking to you.

The reason you do this is because it gets attention; and this attention gets the people around you to listen to you and even feel sorry for you – and when others feel sorry for you – you feel cared for and loved.

Feeling miserable is a stepping stone to this pay off – you get attention and feel loved – even if it’s only for a short period of time. Your albeit – unconscious behavior – is driven by your desire to feel loved by others.

That’s the way human behaviour works. It’s not logical, but emotionally driven and it happens automatically – without having to think about it.

It’s how we’re wired. The only reason we behave the way we do is because of this emotional pay off. We either move towards emotions that make us feel good or move away from emotions that make us feel bad.

Now think about being happy. What’s the pay off for being in a good mood?

Being Happy With Yourself Is Harder

Happiness is quite the opposite.  Happiness doesn’t have an immediate pay off.  Don’t you find that some people even get irritated with you when you’re feeling happy? How’s that for an immediate pay off?

No instant gratification here. It’s because happiness is not externally driven – it’s internally driven. It comes from the inner world.  Because true happiness is inwardly driven it requires a different approach that takes more time and effort to manifest.

Your mind (and perception about what is really happening to you in this very moment) is based on the dominant thoughts in your subconscious.   Some thoughts are positive and some are negative.

But by default, a lot of us are very negative. We may be pleasant on the outside in the real world, but on the inside we kick our own ass. Most of us treat ourselves like garbage. 

Just look on the outside to see how well you treat yourself internally. Your outer world is a reflection of your inner world. If you see chaos and confusion on the outer world then I guarantee there is chaos and confusion in your inner world.

If you have crappy relationships in the outer world then I guarantee that the relationship you have with yourself is crappy. Outer reflects inner – ALWAYS.

Someone who is miserable has more negative (-) thoughts than positive (+) thoughts. Their inner world is a mess because they have a negative mentality.

But realize that these dominant thoughts are always changing. It might seem like they’re not, but that’s because you keep focusing and thinking on the same thoughts day after day. The truth is that these thoughts are always shifting and our attention is always shifting.

The Practice of Happiness

The more you learn to help yourself, the more you will. The more you learn to be better at something than the time before, the more you will. ~ John Lavalle

Lasting happiness comes from nourishing your mind with new and pleasant thoughts. As you do this over and over again, you begin to cultivate a positive mindset. The reason this works is because of what Robert Anthony calls the Law of Displacement.

Here’s how this works. Let’s say you have a glass of grape juice. As you add water to that glass, the color fades and the liquid gets clearer. By continually adding more water to the glass you are diluting the grape juice. At some point the grape juice will be completely gone.

It’s the same with the negative thoughts in your mind. The practice of happiness starts by seeding new positive thoughts into your mind. By doing this repeatedly over time you will naturally move from a negative mindset to a positive one.

Are you practicing happiness? How is it going?


  • Janus Gyan

    Reply Reply July 6, 2010

    I read an article somewhere that we humans have a set point between being happy and unhappy. The world around us, have a major role in how we perceive things. With the constant negative energy bombardment from the media we are negative most of the time. The 90 percent of people trying to get out of the hedonic treadmill is another major cause of frustration and unhappiness. Life and striving for perquisites makes happiness to most of us an impossible accomplishment.

    But we do have the power to change, it simply begins with changing the way we see things. It’s not about being all positive, although that’s a small part of it. It’s about taking action towards what we want and seeing obstacles as challenges towards our pursuits.

  • Steve

    Reply Reply July 6, 2010

    Hey Janus,

    I like the idea of the set point of happiness. That totally makes sense as the more we get influenced by our environment, the more negative and unhappy we can become.

    And then we try to balance that set point (which is subconscious anyways) by chasing external things to ‘place’ into our outer world – which only brings our set point back into balance for a short period of time… without really impacting our true happiness.

  • Daniela

    Reply Reply September 9, 2010

    My mind used to run wild all the time. I am now constantly working on changing my thoughts because I know that our thoughts create our reality, our world and “as we think so shall we be.” Thank you for posting this. I really enjoyed it.

  • Steve

    Reply Reply September 9, 2010

    Hey Daniela – thanks for dropping by :)

  • Stan

    Reply Reply December 30, 2010

    if only it were that easy to replace negative thoughts..

    it takes time, determination, patience and effort. setbacks are almost always there.

    i’ve been doing this for a while and I def can get thrown off my path by a few uncontrollable negative thoughts( shouldn’t control them anyway)

    when i get into a bad mood, i’ve learned that the best thing to do is to do NOTHING. Don’t argue with your mood, don’t push it away, don’t replace it (it only works temporarily) just accept your mood and leave it alone…this seems to work much better than any other technique.

    When I am relaxed and in a good mood that is when I practice my positive thinking and all other techniques.

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