How happy are you…really? 

Is there a secret to happiness? Since the beginning of civilization, thinkers and seekers have tried to discover the keys to true happiness. 

From a psychological point of view, the key to happiness lies within. We each hold the power to create our own joy, satisfaction, and deep contentment. 

But how do we get there? How can we reset our happiness quotient if it’s feeling kind of low? In today’s episode, you’ll learn 4 simple steps you can take to create more happiness for yourself. 

Prefer the audio? Listen here.

What I’ve found after more than 2 decades in my psychotherapy practice and in my courses is so many of us look outside of ourselves for happiness and fulfillment. And while relationships are integral to our feelings of connectedness, camaraderie, and love, they cannot be the only place we look to fill up our happiness bucket. 

If we only look to others to validate our worth and to bring us joy, then our value and happiness are contingent on external circumstances, and out of our control. 

Have you ever heard the saying, “don’t put the keys to your happiness in someone else’s pocket”? If you are hanging your happiness on the actions, reactions, and responses of the people around you, it points to codependent tendencies.

You might go through life thinking, “if everyone else has what they need and are good, then I’m good too.” If this sounds familiar to you, just know, you deserve so much more. We can’t mine our sense of happiness and self-worth from others forever, because what happens is we overgive, overfunction and eventually, end up feeling under-appreciated, and resentful. And that’s not good for anyone.

The first step to raising your happiness quotient is to take responsibility for it. That starts with thinking about what happiness really means to you. From my estimation, happiness is a sense of heightened contentment. It is mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional wellbeing. It is feeling deeply satisfied and knowing your life has meaning. 

So let’s get into the 4 Steps to Own Your Happiness!

Step One: Take a Closer Look at Codependent Behavior Patterns

If you struggle with codependency, you feel overly responsible for the feeling states, choices, and outcomes of others to the detriment of your internal peace, physical, emotional, and/or financial wellbeing. 

Codependency so often operates under the radar. The tricky thing about it is, in cultures all over the world, we’ve been raised and praised to be self-abandoning codependents. We’ve been taught that putting others before ourselves no matter what and giving ‘til it hurts is what it means to be a “good” person. But if it is at the expense of your wellbeing, these behaviors are straight-up dysfunctional. 

Codependent behavior is outwardly focused, and, as I mentioned above, this includes looking to others as a source of happiness and fulfillment. 

In the pursuit of owning your happiness, I invite you to take a closer look at your relationships. In this week’s downloadable guide, you’ll find questions to help you uncover who you might be playing out codependent patterns with, so be sure to grab that right here

Step Two: Do Things for You and ONLY You ❤️

Get clear about what you love, what you want, and what makes YOU happy. Make a list of self-love and self-celebration actions to bring yourself comfort, joy, satisfaction, and pleasure. 

Be mindful of any compulsion you might have to share these things with someone else in your life. What I’ve seen with my clients, students, and with myself, is when we find something that makes us happy or feels good, we can feel like we need to bring someone else into the action. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting others to feel good, this exercise is designed to get you in touch with creating and curating your own happiness outside of others. 

Doing something for you alone can be an incredibly healing process, especially if you have codependent tendencies. So flex your self-love muscles, make a list of joyful things big and small, and start incorporating them into your life! 

Step Three: Create a Brag Book

So many of us have been taught to be humble or even to minimize our skills and accomplishments, but it really isn’t doing us any favors, especially if we are in a pattern of looking to others for our worth. 

Challenge yourself to make a list of the things you are proud of about yourself. Keep your accomplishments front and center. Why not dedicate a journal to brag about yourself? Include your accomplishments, things you’ve overcome, lovely compliments from other people, and self-praise. 

It can be so helpful when we are feeling low on happiness or self-esteem to look through our brag book and remind ourselves of our awesomeness. 

Step Four: Instead of Striving for Perfection, Strive for Excellence

As a recovering perfectionist, I know firsthand how perfectionism can zap the happiness out of your life. I find a lot of my clients who suffer from perfectionism also struggle with codependency. It is one of the major ways codependents express their need for control (because codependency is really a covert or overt need to control the outcomes, decisions, and feeling states of others).

Perfectionists live by the rigid, fearful code of “Only if I do it all and do it just right will I be happy, worthy, and lovable.” If your goal is to create more happiness in your life, a mindset shift away from perfectionism is necessary. Instead of striving to be perfect, can you strive for excellence? 

Can you get into acceptance with the fact that we all make mistakes and that is how we learn and grow? The truth is, life is messy. Love is messy. Human beings are messy. Commit to loving yourself and believing you are inherently worthy right now, just as you are. 

If this strikes a chord within you and you want to go further on the road to recovery from codependency and learn how to own your happiness, I hope you will join my pal and fellow recovering codependent, Mark Groves and I, inside our Crushing Codependency course. 

Over 6 weeks, you’ll get live interactive coaching from us and learn the skills you need to finally be free from what we know is one of the biggest blocks to a happy, healthy life. 

Here’s where you can enroll in Crushing Codependency! (We start tomorrow!!!!)

Thank you for being here, I hope you have an amazing week upping your happiness quotient, and as always, take care of you.

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  1. I can hsry wait for these sessions. So far everything I have read is me to the fullest. I have lost me somewhere. I seek happiness in others, but am never happy always depressed. Thank you Terri.

  2. So thankful for your participation in Samantha Peszek’s podcast “I Have Cool Friends.”

    Your message has been eye-opening and life-changing.

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