The Common Denominator is … ME?

“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation. But your thoughts about it.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

I highlighted my hair blonde hoping it would make me happy; it didn’t. I guess blondes don’t have more fun! I dated a man for six months hoping he would make me happy; he didn’t. What a useless man! I bought a fancy sports car hoping it would make me happy; it didn’t. It must be the car!

I had a conversation with a woman the other day who was chronically unhappy. She was searching for her happiness, saying to me, “My mission for this year is to find my happiness.” When I asked her what she had tried over the year in her effort to find her “happiness,” I got a list similar to what is listed above.

I asked her, “In all of your scenarios, what one thing is the common denominator?” Your hair color isn’t making you happy. Your former boyfriend didn’t make you happy. Your new car isn’t making you happy. In fact, the color of your hair, your former boyfriend, and your car shouldn’t make you happy.

I asked her again, “What is the common denominator?”

“Me,” she asked? “Yes, YOU!” I replied.

We have to be happy with ourselves first. There’s a saying, “Happiness is an inside job.” Haven’t we all met people who are chronically unhappy, and who are constantly blaming other people for their unhappy circumstances?

One of my friends had a first date a few weeks ago. He has successfully navigated through divorce by taking the high road. He’s a great dad, a great guy, and I would love to see him find his “perfect” someone to begin the next phase of his life. I couldn’t wait to hear how it went. “Soooooo … how was it?” I asked him the morning after his date. The response I got wasn’t what I was hoping to hear. “She was a negative nelly,” he said.

Apparently they weren’t too far into their date when she started to complain about how hot it had been that day (not a cause for alarm yet as it had been a hot day even for someone used to living in Atlanta in the summer). Shortly thereafter, she started to complain about the service at the restaurant where my friend had taken her to eat. He was a bit surprised as this was one of his favorite places and wasn’t pleased to hear her dissing it. The complaining continued as they began their meal. She complained about one of her best friends. She complained about her mom. She even complained about her hairdresser.

But, my friend says the kicker came when she started to complain about her ex-husband. My friend had no interest in hearing her bash her ex and relive her divorce. Needless to say, there was no extra time added to their date to go for dessert or an after-dinner drink! He said, “I couldn’t wait to get away from her negative energy. It was draining me.”

“Waiting for someone else to make you happy is the best way to be sad.”

My friend got it right. It can be extremely “draining” to have someone suck all the positive energy out of a room with their negativity, their unhappiness, and their constant complaining.

We need to own our own happiness. Remember, happiness is indeed an inside job.

“The greatest challenge in life is discovering who you are. The second greatest is being happy with what you find.”

What about you? What is your common denominator? Is it you?

Monique-Honaman-2013-HRLT2About the Author:

Author Monique A. Honaman wrote “The High Road Has Less Traffic: honest advice on the path through love and divorce” (2010) in response to a need for a book that provided honest, real, and raw advice about how to survive and thrive through one of life’s toughest journeys, and “The High Road Has Less Traffic … and a better view” (2013) to provide perspectives on love, marriage, divorce and everything in between. The books are available on Learn more at

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