Who owns your happiness?

In our society, we’ve pretty much grown up feeling that we’re nobody unless we have what a certain somebody else has, so we’re as good or cool as they are.

Whatever the metric of success – social status and recognition, material and physical prosperity – once we see it in someone else we tell ourselves, if we only have that, we’ll be happy. Guru sales guys specialize in awakening your wants and desires so you’ll buy and buy and buy. Why shouldn’t you “have it all” right?

Thanksgiving Day is a time to be grateful. And today, I am especially grateful for something sort of unusual:

I am grateful for the growing belief that “genuine happiness lies in not wanting.”

Can you remember a moment when everything seemed perfect? Just for a moment? During that rare moment, did you want anything else?

But a short while later, the old wanting grinder starts up again…

No matter what (or who) it is we get, soon the happiness it provided wears off…we get unhappy again, want something or someone else, and well, you know the story. After all these years, I am learning that

“Endless wanting is a burden to the mind.” – Ani Tenzen Palmo.

That belief doesn’t mean you live in a hovel. Or have no rewards for what you do. Far from it. It’s about not hankering after the rewards of what you do. It’s in the hankering that the danger lies.

Who owns your happiness?

Are you unhappy unless you own what they tell you that you need to be happy? Have you fallen for that a little over the years, like I have?

Today I am grateful for not wanting, not hankering after rewards quite like before. It is both relieving and invigorating. The love of doing it rules. Not the (external) rewards of it.

P.S. In case you think the “not wanting” mindset is for sissies, don’t be fooled. In any negotiating session, the one who cares the least about the prize, wins. It is the one who hankers after it most who gives away the store – and often – her soul.

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • Great post, Kim. I love the concept of the wanting mind because it helps us realize that we are forever wanting. (And people take advantage of that weakness of ours!) We are always searching and needing, even after we get there. If our reason for searching is to grow during the journey, that's one thing, but it's usually just to get More.

    What a terrible way to live.

    Alice 🙂

  • Congratulations Kim. Wanting always creates more wanting. I have been practing this way of living for many years now and I can tell you that it is the only way to be totally free. Living without being attached to a particular outcome allows me to have a soft heart and a thick skin. I love my mlm business and it doesn't matter to me that I am not at the top of any heap. I work towards my goals but I'm not attached to seeing the outcome in only one specific way. We are always in charge of our happiness, not the stores or wall street.

  • Kim,

    Great post. We live in one of the most covetous cities in the U.S. Children here are brand conscious before they can read.

    You reminded me of a quote from Charles Kingsley that I have kept by my monitor for years.

    "We act as if comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life – when all we really need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about."

    Wishing You Plenty to Live,
    Tom Doiron

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