Be Happy Now

by Dana Boyle on December 21, 2011

My clients get homework assignments to help them make progress and do some reflection in their lives.  When one of my marriage coaching clients was assigned the following homework:

Be Happy Now




It’s a tough one to wrap your head around, especially if you’re coming to a coach or counselor for help in your marriage.  It’s so easy to point out the water while you’re drowning, rather than looking for something to pull yourself up with.

I received an email from them a few days after I assigned it saying:

“So I’m supposed to find ways to be happy now?”

I could read the effort he’s already thinking up, the changes he’s thinking he has to make, the requests of others behind the “find ways” part of his question.  This is not what I want him to do.

No change is required.

Every one of us does this as a default practice in our lives.  We’re wired for it.  We experience something we don’t want, we become unhappy, we think, “When this changes, when I get that, when they stop doing that, when they start doing this…AND ONLY THEN, I’ll be happy.” 

My client thought I sent him home to figure out a big puzzle…resolving his marriage for good or for bad, so that he can be happy now.

Instead, my challenge to him is to be happy now, exactly how things are.

I could hear his brain strain a little when he responded to my clarification.  “Just be happy now?  Exactly how things are?  Um…ok!  This ought to be interesting.”

By now most of us know that what we focus on gets bigger.  What we put out we attract back.  We create our lives every day by the energy and focus we project.  Another piece of the deliberate creation puzzle is that when we can step into a space of loving our lives or a circumstance exactly as it is, and being happy with life and our marriage RIGHT NOW, in all its imperfection, that is the sweet spot.  In that space, creation can begin.

Many of us are so busy listing the problems in our marriages and the reasons why it can’t work, why we can’t be happy until, why it’s our partner’s fault, why we need to be fulfilled…we have no room to be happy in our lives.

I challenge you:

What would happen if you decided, deliberately, to be happy now – exactly how things are?

I challenge you to do it for the holidays and then keep on doing it for 2012.  It’s our little experiement.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve Borek December 21, 2011 at 9:26 am

I love this post!

I was doing some reading today on Daniel Gilbert’s impact bias. He proposes we overestimate the intensity of an emotion and how long it will last. Turns out we’re not as happy as we thought we would be when something good happens nor as sad as we thought we would be when something bad happens.

So, I concur, living in a state of just be happy now is perfect. The secret is being willing to flip on the happiness switch. It really is that easy.


Dana Boyle December 21, 2011 at 9:32 am

Hi Steve!

Thanks for visiting the blog and for sharing your experience and insight as well as Dan Gilbert’s findings. I do agree that we tend to overestimate how we’ll feel when something happens – and that leads to disappointment. Being in a state of happiness, as you well know, can become a habit and not at all tied to what is going on around you or with the other people in your life. Getting to that state can also, quite obviously, improve your relationships. Of course being with someone who is in a state of happiness is a nicer feeling experience. Like attracts like. Attract more flies with honey…and all that.

Yes, it really is that easy! But for those who have never practiced it, it can be quite challenging until they try. Sometimes a little help with good music, your favorite cup of something, etc can help until you get good at doing it organically.


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