i paint i write

Live boldly, laugh and make art

If only I, ….. then I will be happy.

My kitchen is clean and I am still not content

If I clean my kitchen, then I will be happy.

Now that I think of it, it seems rather silly. I thought  if I went to bed at night with NO dirty dishes in the sink or on the counter, I would be happy. My contentment and peace of mind was totally dependent on my ability to keep my kitchen clean.

Do you base your happiness on external factors?

If only I:

  1. Lost ten pounds, I would be happy.
  2. Had more money, I would be happy.
  3. Had a boyfriend/girlfriend, I would be happy.
  4. Could publish a book, I would be happy.
  5. Had a cat, I would be happy.

Fill in the blank.  If only I_________________, then I will be happy.

It won’t work.

No matter what you write on the line, it will not make you happy.

Nothing can “Make you Happy.”

Losing ten pounds, having more money and a boyfriend or girlfriend, publishing a book and having a cat to live with are all good things.


There is only one way to have true happiness.

1. Control your thoughts.

Happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude.
Dale Carnegie


The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations


The secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one does.”
― J.M. Barrie


Is that the right answer? Will controlling your thoughts make you happy?


It will help.

How you perceive your world will help with your attitude.


It won’t make you happy.

If you only think of yourself you will never be happy

    Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.
―Martin Luther King Jr.

Is that the right answer? 


It will help.


There is only one way to be truly content.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.
Hebrews 13:5

True joy comes from being content with what you have.  You have God. 

And with God –

There is fullness of Joy

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11 ESV

 Are you content with what you have?


Yesterday  I went to bed with a clean kitchen. There were no dirty dishes in the sink or on the counter.  All the laundry was washed, folded and put away.  The kitchen floor was swept and the kitchen counters were wiped down. All seven litter boxes are clean and I walked two miles.


I didn’t wake up happy this morning.

I was looking in the wrong place for my happiness.

I looked for happiness in external things. A clean kitchen, clean litter boxes, and in exercise. I didn’t do any acts of kindness, and I didn’t seek God’s presence.

Today will be different.

What makes  you happy?


About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • Nancy Hatcher

    There is lots to think about with this. My happiness can’t be dependent on the circumstances…it comes from a deep place of knowing that God is walking with me continually. Also, if I’m feeling irritated for some reason…Mandissa’s Good Morning song really helps me. xo The bottom line is that I agree with you a 100%

    • Nancy, my happiness also comes from knowing I am not alone, that God is with me continually.
      I will look for Mandissan’s song. I get irritated at least once a day, sometimes twice.

  • It’s such a thoughtful way to present things, Pamela. Thank you for the reflection. I don’t fall into those traps you mentioned & am happy in my life. It’s a blessing to have friends, family & this community.

    • Thank you Linda. I am glad you don’t fall into the traps. Sometimes the traps are sneaky and come in the front door when I let the cat out. Family and friends and this community helps me toss the traps back out when the cat comes in.

  • Pamela Hand

    I bought some note cards many years ago. The notes came in a beautiful box with the same art and words on the box. I display the box on a little shelf above my kitchen sink. The words are: The key to being Happy is learning to make a Bouquet of the flowers within our reach.

    • Hello Pamela,
      Thank you for sharing the quote. Today I will make a bouquet with the flowers I can reach.

  • Stacey Shubitz

    I try to be content with what I have. I often fall into that envy trap. Each time I do, I count my blessings and remind myself of how lucky I am. (Especially when I get into the mindset of, “If only my neck didn’t hurt, I’d be happy…”)

    • A hurting neck, is, well, “a pain in the neck.” I hope it feels better as well. I think it would hard to be sad when you have a beautiful daughter to play with. And it would be hard to be sad with home-made tomato sauce.

      I also fall into the envy trap.

      Today, I am content with what I have. Tuesdays I have so much to be thankful for, The Writing group has made a difference in my life. Friends on Tuesdays at http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/

      Thank you Stacey, (and Ruth)

  • Love the format you used in this post. This summer I’ve tried to do a bit more for others. I’m hoping that I can retain the practice as I enter the school year.

    • What grade do you teach Ramona? Being kind to your students is a lot to do each year. Teaching, and loving each child.
      I wish you all the best on your next school year.

    • Guest

      I’m hoping to continue a bit of the service I’ve been giving to others into the school year, instead of falling back on the excuse that I have no time. But maybe during the school year, I should realize that I’m serving my students when I teach and love them. I teach 6th grade LA/SS.

  • Terje

    Happiness doesn’t have one simple definition or only one clear condition. I have read and thought about happiness quite a bit lately. I haven’t got to the reflection of what makes me happy. Yet. Thank you for your post.

    • Hello Terje. Thank you for braving the Disqus sign up to comment. I would love to know what you see in your beautiful world that makes you feel content.
      And, you are very welcome.

  • Janelle

    My deep abiding happiness comes from the Lord, but I do take pleasure in a clean kitchen. And if you changed the ten pound loss to about a forty pound loss, I’d be happy about that, too:)

    • Janelle,
      Deep happiness is from God, isn’t it?
      The other things are like icing on the cake.
      Or, no icing and a few pounds less.
      If you want to have less of you, I know you can do it. Because you don’t have to do it alone. You can do all things, through Christ who strengthens you.
      Please say hello to Saskatchewan for me.

  • margaret simon

    Today, I am happy that I am keeping food down. Yes, I got a nasty bug. Amazing how something like that puts everything in perspective.

    Thoughtful post. I like how you intersperse the quotes and then, no, this isn’t it…
    Everyone has to find his/her own happiness and we all know it’s not material things, but sometimes we get distracted.

    • Margaret,
      I pray your food stays in your stomach and the nasty bug is beaten down by the Immunity Warriors in your stomach.
      All the best. I wish you lived close enough for me to bring you a bowl of home-made chicken soup.

  • Christa Sterken

    I am happy when not overextended and enough time to spend on Bible reading without it feeling like a chore, when my family is together and laughter fills our life

    • Laughter is healing. I pray your day is filled with laughter and joy Christa.

  • Tara

    Thoughtful post, Pamela. I can’t say that there is one thing that makes me happy, other than maybe living a life of purpose.

  • Elsie

    I am happy when there is harmony in my life.

    • Harmony sounds peaceful. I pray all the notes in your life today are harmonious.