Mel Schwartz, LCSW

I’ll Be Happy When…

What is the source of happiness? We tend to assume that happiness will come from a future event. It typically depends upon something else happening. The script often reads like this:

I’ll be happy when… I fall in love.

I’ll be happy when… I get married.

I’ll be happy when… we can buy our dream house.

I’ll be happy when… we can furnish the house.

Still, the anticipated happiness is elusive so we tie it to more future events.

I’ll be happy when… we have children.

I’ll be happy when… the children are older.

I’ll be happy when… I can retire.

What’s happened here? Has an entire lifetime passed pursuing an illusion? Those events that we so dearly waited for do provide a temporary excitement, but too soon they retreat into the ordinary and we replace them with the next fantasy of happiness.

Happiness can only occur in the moment that you’re in and can only be sustained by developing a nurturing relationship with yourself and, hopefully, others. The ultimate source of happiness lies in the quality of your thoughts. Our thoughts are our most intimate relationship and will impact our lives far more than our relationships with others. In fact, our relations with others are, to an extent, but a reflection of the quality of our own thoughts.

What we seek “out there” is but the icing on the cake. Genuine and sustainable happiness is derived from a healthy and nurturing relationship with yourself. Nothing and no one can take that away from you. Devote your attention to your authentic well being and happiness will emerge.

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Karen Rosenfeld

Thank you Mel, so simple yet so far removed from most peoples’ first thought of happiness. It is so very easy for humanity to lose sight of this. The entertainment industry and consumer industry in general make it all the more difficult for many people to ever understand this simple concept. Staying close to nature – plants, animals can help remind us of living in the moment. Humans would be better off with a few canine genes – cheers, Mel.


Karen, Great post! Except for the canine genes……not sure I understand that……humans in general, already have that type of instinct in them.

Mitchell D.

Hi db,
I believe Karen’s reference to canine genes has to do with our belief that canines live in the moment, are not looking for some future fulfillment.

Matthew Selznick

Of course it occurs to me that the economy is fueled by the promise of happiness happening with the next purchase!


Great subject, Mel. We tend to procrastinate. What we can accomplish today, we put aside for a “better time” to do or follow through with. NOW is the time to act, when fresh in the mind. Hence the saying, “Why put off till tomorrow what we can do today”!

In general, follow your instincts, from my experience, instincts don’t lie and they certainly, do not procrastinate!


Good Point, Mel… I could internalise your statements into my personal outlook towards life, it would be a great & positive value addition

Quite a few of us know your post to be based on fact… problem is that it is difficult to let go. We get so caught up with life and its myriad tensions, that happiness becomes a distant dream… till it is too late. Great post, keep writing!


Matthew Selznick

There are of course many ways toward this goal. Choose one and go for it!


I’d expand on that (& borrow from Sam Harris). Since I believe that 80% of our myriad tensions come from only 20% of life’s events. So, try 1st to identify the 20%. Usually that boils down to other peoples’ actions or intents. Then promote happiness where possible and or reduce suffering where possible. Try to obtain your own equilibrium through understanding life’s problems and then applying your self developed solutions to them. The more we promote happiness in others and solve our own life’s problems the closer we get to a continuous happiness in our own lives.

Alla Roytberg

or in the words of a famous Russian satirist Kosma Prutkov (actually a pseudonym for a group of writers) “If you want to be happy be.”

Matthew Selznick

Hi Alla,
Yes..well put.


It is certainly a new thought to me Mel! Thanks for putting it so succinctly!Yesterday I was standing on the terrace of my home and a bright sunbeam fell on my face. It’s warmth and brightness made me feel so happy-and I felt I could live for just such moments.

Matthew Selznick

Thanks for sharing your beautiful moment.

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