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11 Happiness Quotes That Offer Priceless Wisdom & Truth

Welcome back for day 22 of my Happy.Healthy.Whole Project (HHWP)! If you are just joining me, and are curious what the project is all about, or if you’ve been following along but need to catch up on a few days, you can do so here.

One thing you may not know about me is that I tend to be a bit of a quote collector. Whenever I am reading or I hear a quote that I find especially true or meaningful, I write it down in a document on my phone that I keep just for my favorite quotes. 

So for today’s post I thought I’d share some of my favorite happiness quotes with you. I have picked the ones that hold the most wisdom and can shed light on either what happiness truly is, or how we can go about achieving it. Ready?

11 happiness quotes that offer priceless truth and wisdom
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11 Happiness Quotes That Offer Priceless Wisdom & Truth

“When we look back on our lives, what we remember most will be the things that were worth struggling for—and the way it felt to earn our happiness.” – Craig Weller Share on X

I think a lot of people have this misconception that happiness is either something you have or you don’t, and along with that comes an expectation that happiness will just happen on it’s own.

But the reason I like this quote from Craig Weller, is that it reminds us that the things most worth having, the things that bring the most happiness in life, are things we fought for and earned, often through our own blood, sweat, and tears.

Things that come too easily, we often take for granted, whereas, those we worked our butts off for, are hard not to appreciate.

"Human happiness comes not from infrequent pieces of good fortune, but from the small Improvements to daily life." – Benjamin Franklin Share on X

I always love Benjamin Franklin’s quotes. There are two reasons I think that this one in particular holds a lot of wisdom.

First, it tells us that happiness does not come from “Infrequent pieces of good fortune”. To me, this means that happiness is not luck or waiting around for good things to happen now and then. 

Secondly, I like the bit that says, “small improvements to daily life”. What Franklin is telling us here is that we don’t have to make huge, dramatic sweeping changes to our life to become happier. 

Instead, if we focus on improving our daily life – or habits – in small ways, over time, it can make a big difference in our happiness levels and quality of life.

“Happiness is a product of the external as well as of the internal, of what we choose to pursue as well as of what we choose to perceive.” – Tal Ben-Shahar Share on X

Tal Ben-Shahar is a psychologist and author of the book Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment, which I have been reading. I would highly recommend it to anyone that wants to learn more about happiness!

In this quote from the book, Tal Ben-Shahar reminds us of a few very important facts. First, that both our actions and our thoughts play a huge role in how happy we are.

And second, that happiness is a choice, since we are in direct control of both our actions, and our thoughts.

“Happiness grows less from the passive experience of desirable circumstances than from involvement in valued activities and progress toward one's goals.” – David Myers and Ed Diener Share on X

This quote comes back to people’s expectation that happiness is a result of “passive experience of desirable circumstances”, and reminds us that happiness isn’t something that is just going to fall into our laps.

To achieve happiness, according to Myers and Diener, we must instead work towards something that holds value and is meaningful to us. In other words, we must pursue personal growth.

“There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.” – Freya Stark Share on X

I think Freya makes a really critical point with this quote. In order for us to be happy in our lives, our actions and our beliefs must be in line with each other.

For example, if we value certain qualities, say honesty, courage, and diligence, but our actions are dishonest, cowardly, and lazy – we will be unhappy.

If our actions don’t measure up to our beliefs and values, we are living a lie. To be happy, we must strive for our actions to match our beliefs, which is called “integrity”.

[Related: The Integrity Report: A Big First Step To Loving You For YOU]

"The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it." – Thich Nhat Hanh Share on X

This quote holds a very important reminder, which is that happiness is all around us, right now, in the present, if we only stop to look for it.

The reason I chose to include this particular quote is that we are often too focused on the future to enjoy the present.

It is a good thing to have plans and goals and dreams that you are actively working for, but don’t forget to slow down every now and then and appreciate the present and the happiness that can be found there.

In order to be truly happy, we must have a combination of present pleasure, and long-term happiness. If you only focus on the future and forget the now, you’re missing half of the equation.

“If we do not make the pursuit of our own happiness a priority, we are hurting ourselves and, by extension, our inclination to help others.” – Tal Ben-Shahar Share on X

I have often heard from others that they feel it is selfish to focus on and prioritize their own happiness (or even physical health). But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Research has consistently found that people that are happy are kinder, more helpful, more productive, and overall more successful.

So if your concern is caring for others, make your happiness a priority. It’s like when they give you the talk on the airplane about securing your oxygen mask before helping others with theirs. If you are unconscious, you are of no help to anyone else in the event of an emergency on a plane.

The same is true of happiness. If you don’t prioritize your own happiness, it will be hard to bring happiness to others.

“Happiness is a form of courage.” – Holbrook Jackson Share on X

I just recently came across this quote and loved it immediately. For me personally, this quote means that it isn’t always easy to achieve happiness. It can be hard and a little scary to even make the commitment to pursue your own happiness.

You have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone, do some serious self discovery, and seek growth. That can be scary, but it will be worth it.

“Real happiness is cheap enough, yet how dearly we pay for its counterfeit.” – Hosea Ballou Share on X

This is a fantastic quote, and possibly one of my favorites here. I think this quote speaks to the fact that people are very poor judges of what actually makes them happy.

I think the counterfeit happiness this quote refers to is our obsession with money, material things, and prestige or fame.

But the true, and cheap happiness comes from cultivating quality relationships, spending time doing things that we are passionate about, helping others, and pursuing personal growth.

“Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.” – Steve Maraboli Share on X

This quote addresses another misconception about happiness, that happiness is the complete absence of all negative feelings and difficulties in our life.

But as they say, there is no light without the dark. In order to be able to appreciate the moments that make us happy, we must also have some that make us unhappy. 

If we are able to deal with the unhappiness and problems that arise, then we can be happy more often than not. Whereas the expectation that we should be happy all of the time, only sets us up for disappointment.

“Success is getting what you want, happiness is wanting what you get.” – W.P. Kinsella Share on X

I love how much wisdom is packed into this concise little quote. People often mistake success for happiness. But as Tal Ben-Shahar explains in his book Happier, there is something called the arrival fallacy.

When we are striving for success, we always think that next achievement is the one that will make us happy. But when we arrive at that achievement, we find that it doesn’t, and that now we must seek the next achievement and hope that is the one that will magically make us happy. 

In this arrival fallacy, people get what they want, but it turns out that it doesn’t make them as happy as they thought it would.

This is what I refer to as “the grass is always greener on the other side effect”. But as this quote  tells us, happiness is wanting what you get. This means being grateful for what you have, or realizing that the grass is actually greener where you water it.


So there we have it – 11 of my favorite quotes about happiness that hold meaning about the true nature of happiness, and what it actually takes to achieve it.

Which one was your favorite?

Is there a happiness quote that you would add to this list?

Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!

Until tomorrow,


11 quotes about happiness that offer true wisdom
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Author: clarissa.cabbage

Clarissa is a health coach, autoimmune warrior, and avid adventurer. And she is on a mission to help women escape the diet-culture mentality so they can build healthy habits they actually WANT to stick to - without all the guilt, deprivation and FOMO! When she's not coaching amazing women like yourself, you'll find her outside - hiking, paddling, and hunting for hidden waterfalls on the island of Kauai where she lives with her partner and furry side-kick, Ipo!

30 Replies to “11 Happiness Quotes That Offer Priceless Wisdom & Truth

  1. I love these quotes! I am also a quote collector. I have a whiteboard in my home office and I always have a quote written up there to help motivate me with whatever goals I have in mind that week. I have them all written in a notebook so that I can choose from there. I’ll have to add a few of these to the book too.

  2. Some really interesting ideas there. The simplicity of the Holbrook Jackson quote is brilliant, but totally inspiring as well.

  3. So many great and thought-provoking quotes about happiness in this post, Clarissa 🙂

    My favourite would have to be “happiness is a form of courage” because it’s so true. It can be easy to focus on the negative especially when you’re in a difficult situation. But it takes more energy to reframe sadness & negativity into positivity. I’ve noticed that when I take time to be more grateful especially for the simple things in life, I feel more content and happy!

    1. Yes, I absolutely agree Izzy! It can be a lot easier to wallow in our sadness and feel bad for ourselves than, as you said, reframe something to become more positive. When the lockdown started in March, I started a gratitude journal for the first time because I really recognized the need for it with everything going wrong, and I absolutely think it helped! Thank you for adding to the conversation! ☺️

  4. This was really inspiring ! I used to think that happiness was something material, something that I had to pursue. Now I realize that happiness is right here, and we just have to see it.

    1. That sounds like a big shift Kitsu, that’s not easy to do – well done! I definitely agree though, the material things are things we think will make us happy, really, they usually don’t. Thanks so much for sharing your experience!

  5. You blow me away yet again! This was such an amazing piece. My favorite quotes were the 2 last ones, because for so long I lived the total opposite of what the quotes say. Today, however, after many life changes I have made and accepted, I found that these are indeed very true. Thanks for this.

    1. Awww you’re very welcome Mz. Tee! I am glad that you were able to relate to these! I too have come a long way in my happiness journey – it takes real dedication to personal growth,doesn’t it? So worth it though. Thanks so much for sharing your experience! ☺️

  6. Happiness is a form of courage hit me hard because I’ve been struggling to find happiness this year and I didn’t know how to achieve it. It wasn’t until I had the courage to step away from things that no longer served me and then I began to find myself and make myself happier. Thanks for this xxx

    1. That’s fantastic Josie! This has obviously been a tough year for almost everyone, and some more than others. It definitely takes courage to step away and let go doesn’t it? I’ve always prided myself on being too stubborn to quit, but I’ve learned my lesson on that a few times over now. Sometimes it’s best to let go. Thanks so much for sharing your experience Josie and I’m glad to hear you’ve been feeling a little happier recently!

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