Do You Really Want to Be Happy?

Recently, I helped a business acquaintance to solve an issue that was causing them some grief and problems. They were very upset, and I had to spend a fair amount of time just helping them shift in a neutral emotional position to even begin to consider some helpful options. After several conversations, we finally found a solution, and the problem was resolved.

But then, there was another situation about which they were also very upset. So, we worked on using similar tools to resolve that one, only to find—you guessed it!—something else to be upset about, complain about, and lose sleep over.

In my work and in my life, I’ve found that many people have made a habit of finding problems, seeing the worst, and generally feeling crappy for one reason or another. It’s like their very identity is tied to being wronged, having less than someone else, or being the victim of someone or something. Even if you help them solve their issue and teach them tools to solve problems creatively and positively, they still find something else to worry, fret, or complain about.

Who are they if they’re not upset or worried? Who would they be if they didn’t have something to complain about or rail against? How would they attract attention and concern from their friends and family? They say they want to solve problems and feel better, but do they really?

I’ve found that asking people that question directly is one of the best coaching questions I can ask. Do you want to feel better? Really, do you want to? Do you want things to be different? Are you ready to move toward a life that doesn’t revolve around angst, worry, or negativity? They simply must choose. Any one of us can learn the skills, gain the insights, and bolster our ability to find the good, create solutions, and feel positive, but we have to want to feel better, first and foremost.

This week, if you find yourself complaining, feeling negative, or frustrated, then ask yourself, “Do I really want to feel better? Who would I need to work with to gain the skills to get these issues resolved and to gain a brighter, more positive outlook?”

If you want to be happier, healthier, and live a more beautiful life, then decide, and make it happen.

“Being happy is something each of us determines, it is not something that we find outside of ourselves.  It is within us and our choice.”

~ Catherine Pulsifer


  1. Sounds like you might have a client you need to fire -LOL

    Hope you’re well friend. I like your content and try to read it when I can. I value your wisdom and insight realized I have not stopped to mention that to you, like ever! so please forgive me.

    I’ve heard it said that people are about as happy as they make up their mind to be and I think that sounds about right. – Signed your HAPPY and BLESSED friends brother down in Texas.

    1. Dan, your comment made my day! Thank you for taking the time to write your thoughts to me… I know how busy you are. It means the world to me to hear praise like this, especially from those I know, admire, and trust. Comments like yours keeping writing, week after week… even when I don’t really feel like it! 🙂

  2. A % of the World chooses the victim role. As you said, they draw attention by complaining and being miserable! They also dislike upbeat, happy people. They have yet to learn, “what comes out of our mouths comes back to our souls”. Keeping them happy is a full-time job.

    1. You’re so right, Linda. Headed to ADMC as I write this reply and looking forward to being surrounded by people who value positivity and growth. Thanks for the sweet reply!

  3. Thank you for this, Katherine. It also reminds me what it truly means to “meet someone where they are at” and to set aside my own wish for someone to feel better/improve.

    1. Right, Tiffany, always good to remember. One of the reasons I like the question is because their answer keeps me from offering help they aren’t ready for or don’t want. Thanks for your comment. Its spot on!

  4. Can honestly say I know a few people like that. I had a relative who never had a positive thing to say about anyone or anything….it was draining. I started to use the tactic of saying something positive every time she was negative. She would get really angry and finally storm off. She didn’t want to change and didn’t feel she was negative at all. Thanks for the suggestion of just asking if they want to be happy and positive. Sometimes it’s hard but necessary to just be direct.

    1. Yes, Jan. The question has saved me many times. Thanks for your comment. It means a lot to me.

  5. What if this is a coworker? I’m not a manager and don’t hold a leadership position in our practice. But my coworker was too stressed to do a certain task consistently, so my manager has me doing now instead. Now that coworker is complaining that they don’t have Enough work and are bored. Seems like no matter what management does to try and make her happy she still has an awful attitude and takes out her frustrations on the rest of our team. It is hard to “choose happy” when we feel we can’t do anything right to help her.

    1. That is a hard position, Logan. In the end, it always comes back to us and what we choose for ourselves. We can’t make someone else be happy if they don’t want to be. All we can do is decide for ourselves what we are willing to do or not do, tolerate or not tolerate. I’m very excited to be coming to your practice soon to help your managers learn to coach your team at a higher level and to hold all the team to a higher standard. It will be fun to watch the growth happen and hopefully instances like the one you describe will be fewer and fewer. Thanks for taking the time to write your thoughts to us. I’m looking forward to meeting you in person next month!

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