How We All Misunderstand The Real Definition Of Happiness

The truth is empowering.

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We all have that one friend who is a wonderful friend when single, but then once they find 'the one' they fall off the planet. 

When things don't work out, they suddenly reappear saying how happy they were when things were good — with their ex, with your friendship, or any other thing in the past that they can romanticize. 

But it's the same cycle over and over again. Their happiness is circumstantial and based on who they are with, what they have, and what they think is coming their way.


Oftentimes it takes a major loss or serious setback for people to see how unhealthy it is to define their happiness upon something conditional or circumstantial.


There's a lot to unpack when learning how to define happiness. It's also not uncommon to go about finding it in the wrong way.

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The pursuit of happiness is a process, but if your happiness is conditional upon outside forces, then you can only be happy if your definition of what happiness means matches what happens in life.

And that is rare.

This stuff is tough, because talking about how to be happy often feels the same as "dancing about architecture" — it doesn't make sense. Happiness is something you feel.

Or is it?

What if happiness is something you can actually do? Something you can create?  


Because defining happiness is so complicated, we invited our YT Experts to help shed some light on what it means to be happy.

They shared three reasons why most people misunderstand what it means to be happy, and how to correct it, for a happier life.

1. You think happiness is something that happens TO you. 



“Too many people think about happiness as a function of external experiences or what is happening to them. But ‘happy’ is defined as feeling or showing pleasure or contentment which is purely internal.

This means that, no matter what is going on in your life, you can choose happiness. Deciding where to put your focus will determine how happy you will be and that is incredibly powerful.”

Lesli Doares is a marriage expert and couples coach. She is the founder of Foundations Coaching, a counseling alternative. You can follow her at

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2. You think wealth — or even financial security — are intrinsic parts of happiness.


“We TOTALLY misunderstand the REAL definition of happiness if we think it is achieved with material wealth or power over others. Real Happiness is within our most intimate monogamous relationship when we can each BE our fully natural core selves and be mutually SEEN and loved as we are.

Such mutual love feeds and enhances each one’s external expression of one’s unique gifts and passions and thereby most fully serves humanity.”


Lewis Brown Griggs is a Personal Relationship Coach in San Francisco and can be reached via his YourTango profile page or his Facebook Lewis Brown Griggs Personal Coaching page.

3. You think happiness is a destination. 



“Happiness is not a condition or a place where you arrive, but a lens through which you view and create your own experiences. Happiness begins within. It is not a destination or an accomplishment it is a consistent choice available anytime to anyone. We attract happiness by choosing to be happy.  

It is never too late to live happily ever after but doing so can only be done one day at a time. Life is good, but Living is better so dive in and dream on!”

Missy (Gail) Ostrishko is a creative catalyst, committed to helping people help themselves live happy healthy lives. Learn more at and islandTime