We often look to circumstances and surroundings as the source of happiness in our lives, and specifically in our relationships. The problem is, these external forces are often beyond our ability to control and manage, and even when we try, the results are usually short-lived.
In the 1991 classic comedy, What About Bob?, therapist Dr. Leo (Richard Dryfuss) tells his client Bob (Bill Murphy), “Bob, you need to take a vacation from your problems.” As most of us have found out, however, our problems just tend to tag along as unwelcome companions even on travels far away from home.
Psychologist and New York Times best-selling author Dr. Les Parrot hits on this topic in his book, Making Happy: The Art and Science of a Happy Marriage:
“When someone asked Eleanor Roosevelt to define happiness, here’s what she said: ‘A feeling that you have been honest with yourself and those around you; a feeling that you have done the best you could both in your personal life and in your work; and the ability to love others.’ Mrs. Roosevelt obviously understood happiness to be an inside job. Researchers call that intrinsic happiness because it’s values-based. It’s the result of personal growth, healthy relationships, contributing to the common good. Extrinsic happiness, on the other hand, is feelings based and comes about from obtaining rewards, praise, money, status, or popularity.” (p. 19)
Developing true happiness and joy in life really is “an inside job”.
In future updates we will look at some simple ways which we can nurture and strengthen our inner lives and our relationships, and really enjoy those much-needed vacations!
Hope+Wellness of Marin Co-Founder/Executive Director