Why Do Some People Look For Happiness Externally?
Happiness is one of the most sought after states of being; however, unfortunately, people tend to search for it externally, rather than internally. Seeking external sources of happiness can lead to a cycle of short-term highs, followed by prolonged states of disappointment. This is because the feeling of joy and contentment that people get from external sources is often fleeting, and can be difficult to sustain.
One of the main factors that lead people to search for happiness externally is a lack of self-awareness. People often fail to recognize their own emotional needs, and as a result, they look to other people or objects to fulfill them. People may also feel that they don’t have the resources or knowledge to find inner happiness, which leads them to seek external sources. For example, a study conducted by the University of Toronto found that people who are more financially secure are more likely to search for happiness externally, as they tend to feel that they have more resources to do so (Mueller et al., 2020).
In addition, people may also seek external sources of happiness due to a lack of self-confidence. People may feel that they are not capable of finding joy within themselves, and so they look to external sources to fill that void. For example, a study conducted by the University of Michigan found that people with lower self-esteem were more likely to seek happiness from external sources, such as material possessions, social status, and relationships (Hoffman & Lander, 2019).
Finally, people may also look to external sources of happiness due to a fear of failure. People may be scared of investing time and effort into finding inner happiness, as they fear it may not pay off. As a result, they look to external sources, as these rewards are often more immediate and tangible (Grenier et al., 2020).
Overall, it is important to recognize the tendency for people to look for happiness externally, and to be aware of the potential pitfalls of this behavior. While external sources of happiness can be enjoyable in the short-term, sustainable happiness must come from within. It is important to take the time to learn how to recognize and nurture your own emotional needs, and to recognize that you are the only one who can truly make yourself happy.
Grenier, A., Ibarra, J., & Remedios, J. (2020). The role of fear of failure in seeking external sources of happiness. International Journal of Psychology, 55(2), 113–122. https://doi.org/10.1002/ijop.12662
Hoffman, R. L., & Lander, N. (2019). The role of self-esteem in seeking external sources of happiness. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 45(9), 1393–1408. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167218823986
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