Dear You:

I hope you are doing well. No…scratch that. I hope you are doing wonderfully. In fact, I hope you are as happy as you can possibly be.

Are you?

My guess is you’re not. You might be somewhat happy, or you might be pretty happy some of the time…but as happy as you could be? Not so sure.

The reason I know this is because I’ve been shopping around my new little book on happiness (stay with me – this isn’t about that) and learned something shocking.

What’s shocked me isn’t the fact that lots of people aren’t as happy as they could be. (Some are nowhere near it, actually.) I know this. It’s why I wrote the book.

What has surprised me, and the reason I’m writing to you so directly, is the fact that so many less-than-happy people are just fine with this.

They haven’t said it in so many words, but they’ve said it in their actions. Or, rather, their inactions toward greater happiness. Their choices to not make the unhappy things that are under their control (which, let’s be real, are most things) any better.

Truth is, my mind is pretty blown. It’s one thing to know that you’re not truly happy in a part (or parts) of your life. It’s another to know this and to not get on that greater-happiness train. Immediately.

I know what you might be saying. Deirdre…happiness just can’t be a priority right now because of X.

What is your X? Is it because you need to provide for your family and can’t quit the job you’ve grown to cringe about each morning?  Is it because you want to be reliable and liked and so you can’t leave the volunteer position or friendship circle you’re in…the one that no longer feeds you? Is it because you’ve finally gotten used to this house/town/car/roommate and you’re just too busy to start over?

Well, you, that sounds like a good reason…but let me ask the question again, okay?

What is your X? Is it maybe the fact that you’re scared to make a change because you don’t know what will happen if you do and that makes you anxious? Is it maybe the fact that changing something will make some people mad? Is it maybe because you’re heard so many “shoulds” your whole life about how you should be/act/live/look that it’s gotten the best of you? Maybe just a little?

I completely understand. I’ve stayed doing and being stuff that was super unhappy.  No, I really have!

But here’s what I found out. Those reasons are good, but they’re not good enough. Know why? Well, I’m about to tell you and it might sting, but that has to be okay because I really care about you…

If you are not as happy as you could be, you are not as productive, not as effective, not as connected with others, and simply not as much fun to be around as you could otherwise be.

I know you know, deep down, if there are parts of your life that don’t really serve you. And I ask you – no, I beg you – to not be fine with this. To make a change…a little, or a lot.

Yes, I know there are obligations and I understand that change is scary.


You are an important and lovely person and you deserve to make happiness the first thing on your to-do list…not just because you’ll feel better, but because the world deserves to have the best you possible on its side.

I must say, it’s almost maddening that someone as awesome as you could very well back-burner happiness. How the heck is that okay?

I know you’re with me at least a little, because I know you would tell anyone who matters to you that they should make happiness a priority. That obligations can get done while doing things that make you happy. That it doesn’t have to be a choice between the two. That it shouldn’t be. That it can’t be.

Tick tock. You know what that is? That is life going by…look, there it goes again! And you’re still not as happy as you could be.

Snap out of it, please!

Stop letting those thoughts in your head and that fear in your heart and all those ridiculous “shoulds” get in the way of making yourself happier. Know that change and fear is part of the process, and that you will get through them.

Know that you are not alone, that lots of others are going through it, too. Find some of them and get on track together.

Do what you have to do to get better and be better. Yes, my book is there…but so are other books and awesome articles and great therapists and super-duper friends and life coaches.

Start now. You don’t have a second to lose.

With deepest respect and love,


PS: Because I believe in it so much, I am indeed including a link to my new mini-book, just in case you want to start there. Here she is:

This article was originally posted on and written by Deridre Maloney. You can view the original posting by clicking here.