Rebecca had her life in order. Lived happily by herself (no relationship upheaval), in a great house (all space and beauty), she loved her business, designing and selling sustainable yoga clothes (very satisfying), was healthy, got on with her two adult children and had no financial worries.
People around looked at her, maybe some even a bit envious, thinking that she was sorted. The perfect life. Everything in place.
There was only one minor thing: Rebecca wasn’t happy. She didn’t enjoy her life, even though her external circumstances seemed ideal.
6 differences between internal and external happiness
Internal: seeking meaning, purpose, satisfaction and contentment.
External: is seeking pleasure and comfort.
Internal: an inner feeling not always clear to others.
External: an expression that is noticeable by others.
Internal: spirituality, sense of belonging, living according to your values.
External: material stuff, winning the lottery, activities.
Internal: a more or less constant internal state of being,
External: fleeting and can easily diminish.
Internal: a deep love for someone.
Internal: playing music, dancing, exercising.
External: watching a concert, a dance performance or a match.
Internal happiness feeds external happiness
Research suggests that people who experience internal happiness are also scoring higher on the external happiness scale (neuroscience of happiness and pleasure 2010).
People who don’t feel internal happiness have only very short lived external happiness.
And that is exactly what Rebecca experienced.
Her inability to feel external happiness was blocked by her non-existing internal happiness. She wasn’t able to feel joy about the great things in her life, because she was totally disconnected from herself.
There was no self, on a range of levels: awareness, respect, love and appreciation.
Your only task is to be happy
I believe it is our main task as humans being to be as internally happy as possible. Happy people have a higher vibration and will affect others in a positive manner. The world would be a better place.
Internal happiness being the state of being, which is independent of external situations, events and people. Being fed by a sense of purpose, satisfaction, self-acceptance, spirituality ….
External happiness being caused by exciting events, beautiful stuff, anything that gives comfort or pleasure. This type of happiness is always finite and more difficult to experience if you don’t feel internal happiness.
Internal happiness will enhance your external happiness and therefore, it makes sense to focus on internal happiness.
Control your happiness
And the good news is that you can take control of your internal happiness by applying certain actions or techniques.
- Be clear about your values and make choices accordingly. This will keep you grounded. Knowing you choose actions in alignment with your values gives a sense of worthiness.
- Make sure to do something every day that makes you happy. Walking your dog, playing an instrument, connecting with nature, singing aloud….
- Make sure you do something every day that makes someone else happy. Smile at the checkout, give way in traffic, listen to a friend. Small acts of kindness will feed your internal happiness and contentment as lots of mental health studies show.
- Observe your thoughts. How many of them are invaded by others, past or future events or practicalities? Train yourself to step away from thoughts that are bringing in external influences. Instead focus on how you feel in this very moment, and cherish that moment. It’s always perfect.
- Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself as your BFF (Best Friend Forever) and your daily life will become so much more joyful.
- You can choose your thoughts. And when you notice your thought is not helpful, you can rephrase or reframe. If you are looking for faults, you will always find them. The same is true for looking for the good things.
- Let go of judgment of yourself and others. It will give you space to just experience, to see things just as they are and develop an open mind.
What blocks internal happiness?
If you can’t connect with internal happiness, ask yourself what is holding you back. Often, internal alienation is a spin-off of emotional abuse. During childhood or in later life in an unbalanced relationship, where the victim needs to focus on survival, rather than on mental and emotional growth.
If you recognise yourself in that and want to discuss your situation, just book a free call with me by clicking here.