You Are Not Responsible for Other People’s Happiness

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It’s hard to be a human. It’s the reason that I do the work that I do.

For as much as I know that it’s possible to be happy and abundant and successful, I realize just how difficult it can be to get to that place (especially without support).

So what I find interesting is how many people struggle to not only find their own happiness, but to find it for everyone around them, too.

:: Do you spend hour-long “therapy” sessions with the friend who can’t seem to find the right relationship?
:: Do you “coach” your coworkers through promotion negotiations?
:: Do you counsel your family member around the dinner table?

Listen, I admire that. I do. I know there is a good heart and pure intentions at the foundation of everything you do. But—and this is a very important “but”, love—you cannot be responsible for another person’s happiness.

In the most obvious sense, it’s just not possible. The truest source of happiness comes from within; from within each one of our unique souls.

In the same way that a man or a job or a new pair of shoes can’t truly make you happy—not until you’re truly happy with yourself, anyway—you can’t force that happiness for anyone else . . . not even the people you love.

I know that can be hard to hear. It’s painful to watch the people you love suffer, especially if you’re a nurturer or if you simply care about the person who’s struggling. You might even feel selfish, particularly if you’ve done the work to find happiness within yourself.

Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do? you might ask. These are the people I love! The best way I know how to love them back is to support them; to help them find their happiness.

Well, sure. Of course!

But there’s a difference between loving and supporting someone, and trying to fix their problems for them and make them happy.
One you can (and should!) do. The other you simply cannot.

Everyone is responsible for their own happiness. Twitter_logo_blue

Not only that, but swooping in and trying to take on the responsibility of another person’s happiness can actually hurt them in the long run and deprive them of the miracles inherent in their own journey.

The most loving thing you can do is not try to make someone else happy and solve all their problems.

It sounds counter-intuitive, I know—but leaving your loved ones to do their own work and find their own path is key to their eventual success.

Try to remember this as you release your feelings of responsibility:

  • Know that people change when they want to change, and their changing and growing is NOT your responsibility. They need to really show up for THEIR life. They can not be pushed. True movement and shifts need to come from an inner calling.
  • Trust that the Universe has their back. I believe in a benevolent Universe that wants us to win and succeed and be in love with our lives and with ourselves. And if you can agree to this you can then agree to the belief that everything that is happening in our lives is unfolding for our and the world’s greatest benefit. We (you, me, and the people we love) are eternally guided, protected, and supported by this higher energy that loops and swirls around us.
  • They have their own journey, with lessons they NEED to learn—some of those lessons are hard and difficult and trying, but those “challenging” times might be exactly what they need to “snap” them awake and propel them to really see their life and next steps CLEARLY.

You don’t have to leave the people you love hanging. You can show up for them in love and you can send them love—pray for them and continue to let them know that you care for them and wish them the best.

And most importantly, remember that by doing your work and by shining your light in their lives, you are doing more to support and encourage them on their own path than you ever could by taking responsibility for their happiness.

You are only responsible for you, my love.

Take control of your life, create your own joy, and I promise you—everyone’s life will change for the better.


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  1. I had followed your work a few years back, and just recently found you again. Thank you for the great work you do and for this post. I have a friend who has turned to me for advice to help solve some of the problems she’s facing. While I’m glad to help, and don’t want to turn my back on someone who’s reaching out for help. I also believe that if you are going to ask for help, it’s important to not just ask the first person you see, but someone who is CAPABLE of helping you. I’ve tried to explain this to my friend before, with no success. Lately she’s been turning to me a lot more than before, and I haven’t been able to help her solve her problems. I especially find this article helpful, because I was actually planning to talk to her later today about this topic. While I want to help her, I sometimes get the feeling that she isn’t taking responsibility for her own happiness. I sometimes feel as though if I can somehow come in and fix her problems, with little or no effort from her, this would be ideal for her. As I’m sure you know, if the motivation isn’t coming from inside. It’s hard to feel motivated when someone else isn’t talking in your ear, when it’s just the voice in your head; it’s much harder to overcome.
    There are soo… many great points here in your article, so I wanted to say thank you. Now that I can see all the points I was thinking in my head in one place, from a professional like you. I know it may not be what my friend wants to here, but I know I’m on the right track. I’ll just have to put my communication skills to good use, and find a way to convey this message in a kind, gentle, loving way; without seeming like I’m abandoning her. Wish me luck

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