who holds the key?

who holds the key to your . . .


are you happy?
who do you think is responsible for your happiness?

recently i was engaged in a conversation when the topic of life priorities came up.
i said one of mine was “to make sure my two kids are happy.”

well, i suppose as a mom i will always feel that way.
but, while later thinking about this exchange, i realized something.
something significant.

my sons are both teenagers.
and they are each their own person.
so it just isn’t realistic.
it’s not even reasonable.
that i should assume responsibility for their inner happiness.

i will do all i can to ensure that my sons have a solid foundation beneath them.
and a good, stable home life.
but only they can determine if they are truly happy.
it is (and will be) an individual journey for each of them.
and their happiness, personal success, and fulfillment are all dependent on them.
all wrapped up in the choices they will make along the way.

will they choose to pursue what makes them happy?
will they do everything in their power to lead authentic lives that bring them joy?

and, even if they do, there will be days (or longer) when they are not happy.
when they are struggling and trying to find their way.
we all go through this.

and we must choose how we will respond when those times come.
we cannot control certain situations or other people.
but we can always choose how we will react to them.

it’s a choice between two viewpoints.
“why is this happening to me?” vs “i can choose how to respond to this.”
not all of us had perfect childhoods or flawless role models.
but there is still hope.
because we are ultimately responsible for how we turn out.
we decide the direction our life will take.

i cannot “make sure” that my boys are happy.
i cannot “make sure” that my clients are happy either.
no one can ensure anyone else’s happiness.
happiness comes from within.

knowing this eliminates a lot of unnecessary pressure we put on ourselves.
to make our spouses happy.
our children happy.
(maybe even our in-laws happy!)

the good news is that you can strive towards “making sure” that YOU are happy.
if things don’t feel right, you can change them.
you must change them.
no one else can or will do that for you.

i don’t think of this as a weighty obligation.
i think of this as an awesome and inspiring opportunity.
i decide how i want to feel.

and you decide how you want to feel.

isn’t that an immense relief?
this gift that we have.
imagine how BIG your life can be, when you alone command its direction.


who holds the key to your happiness?
YOU do.



now it’s your turn.

have you ever felt responsible for another’s happiness?
how did it work out for you?

do you take full possession of your own happiness?

please leave me a comment.
and feel free to share this post with others to get their opinions too.

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have a happy day!



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6 Responses to who holds the key?

  1. Caylie Price says:

    This is such an important post April! First the first 27 years of my life I tried to make and keep EVERYONE happy. It had some pretty ugly impacts on my health and wellbeing. If by sharing this you prevent one person going down the “keep everyone happy” path you have done a world of good.

    • April Lee says:

      thank you for sharing your story, caylie. i suspect many people have had similar experiences to yours. sad to hear about the effects you’ve endured, but glad to know you no longer attempt the impossible (i.e. “keeping everyone happy”).

  2. It’s about perspective and CHOOSING to be happy. To make something good of every situation. Great Post.

  3. Cindy B says:

    Great post, April. My husband and I were talking about this the other day, and the fact that sometimes others put the “happiness” expectation on us too, and take no responsibility for their own happiness. It’s tough, but we shouldn’t be burdened by others who do this to us. Yes, we can aid, or hinder, another person’s sense of happiness, but we aren’t responsible for it. Thanks.

    • April Lee says:

      so glad you visited my site, cindy. i agree – what you described is tough. it is our nature to please other people. but we tend to associate/confuse that with a responsibility to do so, and that isn’t fair to us (or to others). i love how you phrased it: “we can aid, or hinder, another person’s sense of happiness, but we aren’t responsible for it.”

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