You're Responsible for Your Own Happiness

At the end of the day, your happiness depends on you. If you give the responsibility to others, you'll end up straying away from the person you really want to be. Furthermore, your self-esteem will plummet, and you'll become your own harshest critic.
You're Responsible for Your Own Happiness
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

You’re the only person responsible for your own happiness. When you realize this, you no longer ask others to create a world for you based on your own needs. You don’t seek their validation at every turn, nor do you want them to save you from your sorrows.

In fact, you’ll have learned that it’s better to rescue yourself. This makes you stronger and bolder. You don’t blame others for your own pain. You set aside grudges. You’re brave enough to cure your own sadness and you keep on learning from your mistakes.

However, it isn’t easy to reach this level of acceptance and commitment to yourself. Because we all generally have a hard time understanding that nobody is obligated to make us happy. Perhaps it comes from childhood, as parents have a tendency to perpetuate this myth. Nevertheless, in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. When you become an adult, the task of being happy and fulfilled falls solely on your own shoulders.

Unless you’ve learned the fact that you’re responsible for your own happiness, you’ll continue to seek happiness in the arms of others and not your own. You’ll seek rewards from others. You’ll want them to solve your problems, stop things from hurting, and provide you with endless joy. As a matter of fact, you’ll be delegating the most important task in your life to others: the task of being happy.

Tal Ben-Shahar is a Harvard professor and an expert on happiness and leadership. He claims that satisfaction is a continuous self-knowledge process. It’s a responsible act that involves learning to create the reality you want. Indeed, your daily life is full of options and only you should choose your own path.

“When you’re true to who you are, amazing things happen.'”

 -Deborah Norville-

An outstretched hand.

You’re responsible for your own happiness

Carl Gustav Jung introduced an interesting concept into his theory, that of the daemon. This entity was recognized by the Romans as a genius and by the Egyptians as Ba, the most spiritual part of the human being. According to Jung, the daemon waits in your unconscious, then emerges to shape your true self.

It’s the daemon that encourages your creative drive. It gives you courage, intuition, and vitality. However, the problem is that most people keep this inner genius silenced. In fact, you ignore it because it sometimes gives you confusing messages or suggests radical changes. For example, it might suggest to a lawyer that they take up an artistic career.

If you’re going every day to a job that simply pays the bills, your daemon is dying to tell you to escape this routine. It wants to take you out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. This is because the daemon wants you to be free, independent, and responsible for your own life. It doesn’t want you to be subordinate to others or regimented. However, you must be extremely bold to achieve this kind of happiness.

A smiling woman.

Your happiness, your responsibility

There are limited studies on the origins of happiness, such as one conducted by Dr. Sonya Lyubomirsky of the University of Missouri. In this study, she explained that happiness depends on three factors. Firstly, there’s your genetic footprint. Then, there are your environmental circumstances. Finally, the things you do.

Nevertheless, it seems that there are other elements in the achievement of happiness. There are some people who, even in the most difficult of circumstances, still manage to be happy. If you ask them how they manage it, they’ll usually tell you that they’ve learned that they’re the only ones responsible for their own happiness. They’re aware that everything depends on one thing, their attitude.

Take care of your mind daily

Can you be happy despite your circumstances? Is it possible to stay cheerful in the face of heartbreak, unemployment, or illness? John Milton, the celebrated 17th-century English poet and essayist, once said that heaven and hell could both dwell in the mind at the same time. In fact, it seems that nothing could be truer than this ancient adage from the author of Paradise Lost.

Taking control of your mind isn’t easy. It’s something you need to work on every day. Most importantly, you need to remember that your happiness isn’t other people’s responsibility. Blaming others for your lack of happiness makes you unable to move forward.

A man with outstretched arms.

For this reason, you should assume an active role in building your own happiness. Take the reins. Create your own reality based on positive thoughts and emotions.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Baumeister, R. F., Vohs, K. D., Aaker, J. L., & Garbinsky, E. N. (2016). Some key differences between a happy life and a meaningful life. In Positive Psychology in Search for Meaning (pp. 49–60). Taylor and Francis Inc.
  • Lyubomksky, S., Sheldon, K. M., & Schkade, D. (2005, June). Pursuing happiness: The architecture of sustainable change. Review of General Psychology.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.