the opposite emotion: act it out
stop slackin' & get crackin'

have the courage to be happy


As I was searching GoodReads for some interesting quotes, I came across this one by Robert Anthony: "Most people would rather be miserable than risk being happy." Most people say they would rather be happy than not, but is that really true? If people really wanted to be happy, couldn't they just choose to be happy? After all, happiness is a state of mind. It is within you. It is always, no matter what the situation, an option. But so often people forget that they can just be happy. They forget that they don't have wait for happiness to come to them. Happiness is already here.

Why are some people so scared of being happy? Why are some people so certain that miserableness is what life has in store for them? I'm sure there are many reasons why people fear happiness, but here are a few that I thought up. See if any of them are you...


  • You think you don't deserve to have happiness in your life.  
  • You are used to being unhappy and you are afraid of change.
  • You are surrounded by unhappy people, making it seem normal.
  • You have been labeled as an unhappy person so you stay that way.
  • You don't want to put in the effort it takes to be happy.
  • You think happiness is in someway uncool or stupid.
  • You are scared if you are happy, it will be taken away from you.


Are any of these you? I can say with certainty that I have (and possibly still do) fall into a few of these categories. For most of my life, I have been scared of happiness. I have been afraid for a number of reasons: (1) I always felt like happiness could be taken away; I didn't realize that it was up to me and that it was within me;(2) I got used to being unhappy, to being called "Eeyore," and to being the grumpy one of the group that everyone else felt like they had to accommodate; now I know that this only hurt me and only encouraged brat-like and spoiled behavior that made me even more unhappy; (3) I thought happiness was stupid, boring, and something only people with no creativity possessed; this notion, i now know, is absurd, and I firmly believe that people can be interesting, creative, and deep and still be happy; (4) I surrounded myself with people who were unhappy and we fed off of each other; I used to think this was entertaining and I got jolts of energy from negative energy, but it is nothing compared to being surrounded by positive, happy people who encourage and support me; and, sadly, (5) I was lazy and happiness takes effort; now I'm working  hard to be positive with the help of my blog, books, and the power of my own mind.

To be completely honest, part of me is still scared of being completely happy. There is a little Negative Nancy in the back of my brain that keeps calling out to me, encouraging me to spend time in the old, familiar, negative place I used to hang out. I try my best not to go back there, but it's comfortable and, in spite of all my recent efforts, I'm still used to looking at the world through a negative lens. Happiness takes effort and, what some people might not realize, is it also takes courage. It's not easy to be happy and positive when everyone around you is complaining. It's not easy to see the bright side of things when your world feels like it's falling apart. But, when it's all said and done, I am much, much happier now that I am working on being positive than I ever have been. I just have to keep reminding myself to be brave, to have the courage to be happy.


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I love the quote you mentioned! It's so true that we can be afraid to risk being happy. Being unhappy is something that we can somehow get caught up in. Like you mentioned, if other people always assume you are an unhappy person, it can kind of spiral.

Joy comes from within, it's not something that can be taken away. :)

We have been so ingrained in negative thinking for so long that we forget what it means to be happy. It now seems that we have to take the effort to even be happy. I'd say that at first, it does seem to take effort but as time goes on, it gets easier and easier to bring on that joyous feeling!

Evelyn - I agree. There is so much focus on negative thinking in today's world that it's hard to break free of old patterns (and ignore all of the negativity around us). You're right - the more effort we put into being happy, the easier it gets and the more ingrained the behavior becomes.

Nathalie - Joy definitely comes from within and, no matter what happens in our lives, it cannot be taken away from us. That's the amazing thing about it (and something so many people don't realize)!

I like your list of reasons that people don't want to be happy. My favorite is being scared of being happy because it may be taken away from you. It's basically a superstitious belief and I used to think that way.

I have studied the health benefits of many things including being happy. When I am tired or lazy or both I must say that my fall back position tends to be "the critic" vs. "the enthusiast."

Great info and thanks for the reminder of where to keep my focus and the need to be around other happy people. Happiness is contagious!



Yeah, I think this one is me: "You don't want to put in the effort it takes to be happy."

Plus feeling that I can't actually change, so why bother because I'm only setting myself up for disappointment. I mean, I'm not totally unhappy, and there are lots of things that make me intensely happy. (I know, external factors...)

But am I generally a happy person, who thinks positively? I'd say no. Which sucks, because it means that I'm always searching for something better to make me happy rather than simply choosing to be in spite of the crap. The issue is, I can't get past the feeling of cheating myself or lying to myself; I can't let go of the negative things in order to choose to be happy. I don't get how I can just change my thinking or find that joy within.

Roger - It's definitely easy to be scared of happiness. It often seems like it can be taken away, but if you are happy with you, no one can ever take that happiness from you.

Viveca - Same with me. I tend to listen more to "the critic" which is never going to be good for me. Happiness is definitely contagious so let's make sure we spread it around!

Steph - Happiness is definitely a choice. But it's not an easy one. More often than not, I find myself looking for things to make me happy, but I feel like I'm making great progress just by realizing that I have to make myself happy. Awareness is half the battle (or something like that, haha).

Excellent article, it is very easy to get caought in negative mindsets and then think that's normal. I'm basically a happy person nowadays i think, but that doesn't mean I'm happy about everything or happy all the time. i think there is space for genuine negative emotions...

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