Why your happiness has to come first.

People think selflessness is noble. But dear hearts, there ain’t nothing noble about handing over your happiness to someone else. Your happiness is why you’re here.

Think that’s selfish? Think again. I believe the pursuit of our own joy will do more to heal the world than anything we could possibly sacrifice for another.

I’m certainly not knocking service or generosity of spirit — hell, it’s what I live for in a lot of ways. And I believe happy people are natural givers. True altruism comes from a place of joy — not one of obligation or duty. Your happiness is the best gift you can give the world.

Here’s why.

  • Unhappiness is insidious. Think can you hide it? Bury it? Keep it closeted like so many hideous fashion trends from the early 00’s? Think again. If you ignore it, its toxicity bleeds into your life. Unhappiness is not our natural state. It’s a warning sign that it’s time to make major changes and find your joy before the clock runs out on this precious lifetime.
  • If you try to sacrifice your own happiness for another’s, your unhappiness will manifest itself. How so depends on the individual. But you better believe there’ll be resentment, unconscious or not. That begrudgery will ooze into your relationship; your life; your living space. It’ll become a palpable force. The proverbial pink elephant in the room.
  • You can’t create another person’s happiness — they’ve gotta snag that sucker for themselves. Try to do it for them and you’re signing yourself up for disappointment and frustration. But find your own and you show others the way.
  • The world is buoyed up by joy. Be joyful, happy and authentically you, and you’ll bring more positive energy into the world than any self-sacrifice possibly could. Happiness is contagious. And unhappiness is, too. Happy people create, share and lead by example. They’re kind, generous and loving. Unhappy people — not so much. They tend to be single-minded about their own misery.
  • Unhappiness is a shitty example to set. Whether you’ve got little ones in your life or just a circle of impressionable friends, your state of being affects others in ways you can’t possibly begin to comprehend. Think you’re doing someone a favor by sacrificing your joy? You’re not. You’re setting an example that unhappiness is ok — that your heart’s deepest desires don’t matter — that the world is a disappointing place. Leading by example is the most powerful way to change lives, and unhappiness is the worst example EVER.
  • Unhappiness has brought lots of evil into the world. The perpetrators of crimes and manipulations and abuse are the unhappiest of humans. They’re lost, broken. Damaged goods. Unhappy people do unhappy things. Happy people do happy things. This is human behavior 101.

Bottom line: find your happiness first, and by doing so, you’ll add to the happiness of others. But ignore it, sacrifice it, do what you think others want you to do, and you’ll manifest nothing but resentment and broken dreams. Opt in to your own joy, and you’re doing the world, the universe and the people you love a favor. Your happiness is their happiness. And your unhappiness is theirs, too.

Stop trading in what’s rightfully yours. Stop selling yourself short and acting out of perceived obligations. Other people can handle their own happiness (and must!), despite protestations to the contrary. Don’t let ’em guilt you into selling your soul. We’re all here to pursue our unique and singular desires. You take care of yours and all the details will fall in line like you wouldn’t believe. It’s amazing what one person’s happiness can bring into being.

As the wise and wonderful Anita Moorjani once said, “When we are happy, those around us will be happy, and in turn, those around them will also start to feel the same way. We always have to start with our self, and the best place to start is to do what makes us feel joyful.”


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