Why You Need To Stop Looking For Happiness In Others

You can't expect other people to make you happy.

Why Am I So Unhappy? How To Be Happy Again & Stop Looking For Happiness From Other People by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

Being happy seems like something that should come easily, but happiness doesn't come naturally to some. Learning how to be happy — truly happy — in life is a skill you need to develop along with self care.

In your pursuit of happiness, if you find that you're continually unhappy, then it may be because you're expecting other people and circumstances to bring you joy, when in reality, that can never work.


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If you're asking, "Why am I so unhappy?" when you work so hard at learning how to be happy with yourself, then you might be ignoring what you really want in life by making others happy.


Unfortunately for you, this may be both the question and answer to, "Why am I unhappy?"

Do you constantly find yourself feeling that nothing is ever good enough to make you happy? Somehow, you end up feeling upset at everyone and everything around you.

If you end up feeling miserable, unhappy, bitter or resentful then there could be a possibility that you are searching for happiness in other people and blaming others for your unhappiness.

You may look for happiness in other people, so much so that you're focused on what other people think, and you're not true to yourself. You may be living according to everyone’s needs, but not your own.

You may be feeling unhappy that your life is going nowhere. You could be lacking self-direction, self-satisfaction, and motivation to follow the things that you really want in life when you place your focus on your relationships to make you feel happy.


Here are some signs you're seeking happiness in others and externalizing blame for being unhappy:

  • Do you offer to help loved ones and then never have time to do the things that you want to do?
  • Do you find it hard to say no, so you end up doing things that you’d rather not do?
  • Do you feel you’re always compromising yourself to make others happy?
  • Do you find it difficult to express yourself because you do not want to hurt people?
  • Do you struggle to assert yourself in relationships and allow yourself to become passive, helpless, taken advantage of or abused?
  • Do you accommodate the needs of others, so much so that you lose yourself in relationships? Do you end up feeling unhappy when your needs do not get met?
  • Are you feeling like a passenger in your life when you let others take over your life for you?
  • Are you struggling to find a way to be happy and live the life you want because you make others the priority, by allowing yourself to come last?

This can cause you to become hurt, resentful, angry, bitter or dislike people around you. You may become distant or feel unloved in relationships by believing your partner is the problem because they don't meet your needs. And then you end up wanting your partner to change.

You may blame others for causing your unhappiness when you don't take control of yourself. You can blame people for your unhappiness if you don't think about yourself or do the things that are worthwhile for you because you don't allow your needs to get met.

If you sacrifice yourself for the sake of making others happy, this can mean you stop activating your "self" in life or stop living your actual life, becoming unhappy when you focus on everyone else.


In order to discover happiness, it's important to get in touch with your real self.

James Masterson describes those who heavily invest in others as having a "false self," whereby the person adapts their behavior to meet the needs of others, therefore giving up the real self that invests in themselves.

Whenever you overly focus on others, and not yourself, you lose your capacity to function fully for yourself, causing all kinds of problems in life, including depression, anxiety, relationship issues, and more.

This means the false self appeases others based on the need to avoid feelings of inadequacy, fears of abandonment, or feeling not good enough, which the person has internalized from their childhood.


So, the real self hides behind the defensive false self in order to mask how they feel deep down.

It's only by "unmasking" the real self that you can choose happiness in your life. This requires you to work on the negative feelings and modify how they feel deep down, in order to unleash the real self and find happiness.

Constantly searching for happiness in other people means you'll end up finding fault in others because you make others responsible for how you feel about yourself.

If you stopped living your own life because you’re so focused on making others happy, then you're not living according to your real self.

When you passively comply with others' needs, then you’re living everyone else’s life. You forget how to do things for yourself. You feel you’re a passenger in your life, with no self-direction, letting others guide you.


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Searching for happiness outside of yourself makes you blame life — or other people — for being happy or unhappy.

This pattern is problematic because it means you’re giving up on yourself in the hope that others can make you feel good. It usually means that you don't value yourself or you feel unworthy deep down inside.


No one can make you happy. Focusing on making others happy just distracts you from focusing on yourself.

When you feel good about yourself, you can ask for what you need. However, when you don't feel good enough, you feel like you don't deserve things in life. You refuse to put yourself out there because you feel unworthy of doing so.

You might give up on your health or avoid a job that you want. Instead, you may focus on pleasing your partner.

Making others happy at your expense doesn't guarantee others will make you happy. It's risky to put your happiness in other people in the hope that others can make you feel good about yourself.

You may blame others for judging you or belittling you, when in fact you belittle yourself. When you project your feelings onto others and think they're judging you, you avoid doing things that may make you happy.


If you don't acknowledge your self-critic and deny it, you'll continue to blame others for how you feel and let your emotions run out of control.

Relationships fall apart when you search for happiness in others, instead of locating happiness within yourself.

It may be that you’ve become trapped in a pattern of pleasing others and negate yourself. You may not be aware of it, but perhaps you didn't feel good enough or felt berated unless you pleased your caregivers. Perhaps you acted out to get attention or to get your needs met.

If you learned to emotionally accommodate the emotional needs of a caregiver, then it is likely that you may replay this pattern of giving up yourself to accommodate the needs of others, in order to win their love or approval. This pattern keeps you stuck.


So, when you’re focusing on saying and doing what others want, you're not being true to yourself and end up feeling unfulfilled.

You may even start to blame your partner for your unhappiness and resent them because the relationship becomes all about meeting their needs, not yours.

You may not be aware of it, but deep down you may be feeling your needs don't matter, you’re not important, or you’re in the way.

Unless you get in touch with your actual feelings and break the pattern of pleasing people, you can't embrace happiness.

Avoiding your feelings keeps you stuck in the patterns of needing others for approval.


You may not acknowledge the underlying negative feelings that you have about yourself that stem from your past. Instead, you may think that your partner is selfish, demanding or controlling, when you’ve let them get their way, out of your own pattern of pleasing them to obtain their approval and giving up yourself. Perhaps, you have let the relationship become all about them, not about you.

The more you hold others responsible for your feelings and externalize your problems as being everyone else's fault, the more you blame others for your unhappiness.

If you locate your happiness as coming from outside of yourself, then you will most likely not find happiness within yourself.

How to search for self-fulfillment and happiness within your life?


Happiness occurs when you find yourself and discover your own needs.

If you cannot locate your real self, then you'll feel unhappy in all aspects of life, because you’re passively letting life go on by, and not in control of yourself.

You can only develop confidence in yourself when you do things that enhance your actual self and follow pursuits of the real self, so you can fully flourish in all aspects of life, including work, relationships, and study.

By giving up the expectation that others make you feel happy, you can look for happiness within. This allows you to give up blaming everyone else for being unhappy, which will undo the patterns that keep you stuck.


When you break the patterns of finding happiness in others, as part of the false self, then you can be free to be your real self and flourish in all aspects of life. Real happiness comes from within — and when you find it, you'll know that it's not for anyone else to control but you.

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Nancy Carbone M.Soc Sc, is a relationship therapist who helps people overcome trauma so they can live their best lives. For more information on how she can help you,visit her website and reach out to her today.