Reasons You Might Be Resisting Happiness

By Stephanie Kirby

Updated December 18, 2018

Reviewer Aaron Dutil

Everyone has their idea of what happiness is. Most people will tell you that all they want in life is to be happy. But for some reason, it always seems like happiness is something that we are working towards in the future. We do not always think about it being in the present. While very few people will admit to going out of their way to avoid happiness, it happens more often than we would like to believe. There are many reasons we may resist happiness, but most reasons fall into one or more of these areas.



Fear plays a huge influence on how we live our day-to-day lives. It protects us from real threats and helps us avoid the unfamiliar and uncomfortable. The fear of happiness does not lie in the idea that happiness itself is scary, but that living a happy life means potential changing our current lives.

Not knowing how we might evolve or what life might look like when happiness becomes ours, is often enough to keep us from really seeking it in the first place. Even if we are unhappy with our current situation, our minds recognize this baseline as normal. Choosing happiness means we are forcing ourselves into something new, which sounds off alarm bells of uncertainty.

If the thought of happiness seems filled with too many unknowns, fear might be holding you back.

Lack Of Confidence

Sometimes, in the deepest part of our minds, we do not think we have what it takes to find happiness. We may not feel strong enough, brave enough, smart enough, or capable enough to reach our goals. This creates a dangerous cycle of negative self-talk. We may start using phrases like "there is no point" and "it's not meant for me." This forces us to feel like we must accept a less than fulfilling quality of life.

If you can come up with a lot of excuses as to why you cannot find happiness, lack of confidence might be your issue.

Believing You Do Not Deserve It

On the surface, most people believe they deserve happiness. However, we hold a lot of subconscious beliefs that reject this idea. There are many reasons someone might not believe they deserve happiness. They can stem from an obligation to put others first, past feelings of guilt, and even low self-worth. It is easy to believe that people who are truly happy feel that way because of some karmic blessing, but in truth, most people who find happiness do so because they realize they are worth it. Finding happiness requires you to make yourself a priority. Choosing you, forgiving yourself for past events, and finding the reasons why you are worthy of happiness are incredibly important.

If the thought of finding happiness makes you feel selfish, unworthy or makes you feel like you are getting something you did not work for, you may be wrestling with the idea that you do not deserve it.

Not Knowing How To Get it

Many of us do not know what we need to do to find happiness. We become convinced there is some right way to make it happen. We overload ourselves with self-help books, podcasts, and advice from bloggers who all claim to know the secret to finding happiness. The problem with this approach is that we start to believe that only other people know how to teach us to be happy. This unintentionally forces us to tell ourselves that we are not one of those people who have that knowledge.

However, the truth is, the only person who can tell you what you need to do to find happiness, is you. If you are honest with yourself about what you need in your life, you can come up with a plan to get yourself there. Remember, lasting happiness should not hinge on a one-time goal (losing weight, meeting your soulmate, getting a raise). You will need to focus on creating the kind of happiness that will be with you no matter where you are in life.

If finding happiness seems confusing to you, you may just not know how to get there. It is time to do some serious soul-searching to find what you need.

Thinking It Is Too Much Work

When it comes to happiness, it can take a lot of work to change how we think about ourselves and the world around us. It can take even more work to change the circumstances we are in. The thought of making these types of changes may seem overwhelming and anxiety-provoking. It is easy to think there is too much effort needed.


Because of this, we get comfortable with how we live our everyday lives. We start to accept that we are fine with the way things are, even if they are not ideal. We make lots of plans to be happier one day, but never seem to take the steps needed to make those things happen.

Planning is easy, "doing" is hard. Unfortunately finding happiness is a process that requires a lot of "doing." Choosing happiness means making a lot of choices you may not usually make and seeing things differently than you did before. It may require you to watch what you think, say "yes" when you otherwise would have said "no," or throw away everything you think you know. Happiness is not always easy to find, but it is worth it, no matter how intimidating it seems.

If it seems like your goals for happiness never leave the planning stages, you may be dealing with the thought that it is easier to not work for it.

Only Thinking Of The End-Goal

A lot of the time, we fall into the trap of thinking happiness is an ultimate end goal. We hear stories of someone working hard to find what they wanted. The millionaire who went door to door selling in his first few years of business, the athlete who had trained for years to win the race. We start to associate happiness with some end-goal. An award, a trophy, a win.

When we do this, we convince ourselves that we cannot be happy until everything falls into place. We end up viewing ourselves as a "work in progress" who will not find true happiness until a later date. But, there is no solid line in the sand between happy and unhappy. Happiness is a choice we make each day, with small steps to support it along the way. The more we choose happiness, the more it makes itself present in our everyday lives.

If it seems like you have a lot to do before you are allowed to be happy, you may be too focused on the end-goal, possibly missing opportunities for happiness along the way.

Thinking Happiness Is Not Important

While most people would agree that happiness is important on some level, many times we believe it is not important enough to go out of our way to find. We have a certain level of comfort and expectation about the lives we currently lead. It does not seem worth our time to go chasing something new when we are perfectly okay with the way things are.

We may think we are okay coasting through life meeting our basic needs. We may think it a waste of time to chase something we cannot hold. However, world-renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow would disagree. In 1943 he proposed that all people have a "hierarchy of needs." He believed basic needs like food and shelter were fundamental. Safety, social belonging, and esteem were necessary too. But, happiness was a key part of revealing our true potential and he called this self-actualization.


If the thought of happiness does not seem worth your time, you may have fallen into the trap of thinking it is not important.

We Are Not Chasing Our Version Of Happiness

Sometimes we resist happiness because the version of happiness we are trying to find is not our own. We fall victim to pressure all the time. We may feel like we must have the bigger house, the faster car, the better body. But if we are only trying to reach a certain level of happiness, because someone else told us we need it, we will likely resist it on some level every step of the way.

It might be hard to accept that the things that make us happy do not line up with what the world tells us we need. For example, if someone is taught their entire lives to think that going to college and getting a high paying job means they will be happy, yet they find their real happiness in art, it can create a lot of doubt and hesitation when it comes to following the path that means something to them.

Remember, part of finding happiness is able to live your truth. No one else's but yours. Sometimes this means we must challenge what the world tells us. But doing so will be much more rewarding in the end.

If the happiness you are trying to work towards, does not mean something to you, you might be struggling with following someone else's ideas.

As you can see, there are many reasons someone might resist happiness. Often, we are not aware these types of issues are playing in the background of our thoughts. If it seems like happiness is just not coming your way, reach out to Betterhelp today, to see where things might be going wrong.

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