How does being happy make others happy too?

I came across this quote by Anne Frank the other day, and it got me thinking: ‘Whoever is happy will make others happy too’. On the surface, it makes complete sense, but I wanted to break this quote down. Why do we sometimes neglect ourselves to make others happy? What does choosing ourselves even look like? How does that translate to other people being happy? Let’s talk. 

How does being happy make others happy?

Neglecting ourselves while making others happy. 

Now, my first task whenever tackling any issue is finding out why. I’ve always had a bad habit of neglecting my own needs to make others feel better about themselves. Upon reflection and some external research, here are some reasons why we might choose others over ourselves. 

They remind us of a past version of ourselves. 

This is a revelation that I recently uncovered about myself, but it may apply to you as well. The people that I always chose over myself were those who reminded me of who I was growing up. Insecure. Alone. Desperate to be saved. 

Whenever I see these traits in those around me, there is a deep drive to connect with those people. I want to ‘save’ them in a way that I wish I was saved growing up. So, I drop everything in my life to be there for them.  

Useful article:

Meeting The Inner Child – How To Find Your Inner Self

Whoever is happy will make others happy too

Addiction to external validation/Lack of internal validation 

For this second point, I think there are actually two parts. First, we have the addiction to external validation. I’m not going to lie. It definitely feels good when we are praised for helping others. That ‘thank you’ or ‘I appreciate it’ acts like a drug hijacking the pleasure centres of our brains. Why do we get addicted to these external factors? That’s where the second part comes into play. 

Addiction to external validation is made worse when we don’t have any internal validation of our own. We don’t know how to make ourselves feel good, and so we give that power to someone else. Over time we come to see the consequences of consistently neglecting ourselves.

Now that we’ve covered the reasons why we choose others over ourselves, let’s look at what choosing yourself actually looks like in different situations. 

What does choosing yourself look like? 

  • Saying no to social events with friends when feeling overwhelmed. 
  • Scheduling self-care days 
  • Asking for help from those around you 
  • Being proud of your accomplishments 
  • Not answering work emails on the weekend 

Whatever you decide to do, just remember that your choice to self-prioritize is showing yourself the ultimate kindness.

So, we’ve come to the last part of this article. Finally, let’s talk about how being happy will make others too.  

How being happy makes others happy 

Neuroscience (the study of the brain) has come a long way in the past few decades. Scientists have discovered what they call a ‘Mirror Neuron’ in our brains. 

They found out that when we watch someone performing a task, the same pattern of brain activity that allows the person to do that task is mirrored in our brain. What does this mean? 

Simply put, when we’re happy in social situations, the people around us will also be inclined to experience happiness as well. This is why laughter is so contagious when surrounded with a group of friends. It’s a truly spectacular thing! 

Whoever is happy will make others happy too

Also, when we’re in a better mental place, we’re more able to actively listen to those around us. I’ve noticed that whenever my mental health goes into a negative spiral, I’m more focused on myself, trying to keep things afloat in my own life.

As a result, I’m less interested in the people around me, and I unknowingly become a worse friend. When I started choosing myself, becoming happier over time, I was able to have more substantial, and positive conversations with the people I loved. 

Useful article:

Kindness Makes You Happy… and Happiness Makes You…

Surround Yourself with Happy People to be Happy


Choosing ourselves over others is an extremely difficult thing to do. We’re addicted to the external validation that others give us for helping them, or we want to save them in a way that we wish we were saved.  Either way, neglecting ourselves always catches up to us eventually.

So it’s important that we start learning how to prioritize ourselves. At work. In relationships. At school. No matter what anyone says, it’s not selfish, it’s entirely necessary. When we start doing this, we’re going to be in a much better state of mind to help others. 

At the end of the day, I believe that Anne Frank made a very good point. Whoever is happy will make others happy too.  

What do you think? Do you have a bad habit of always prioritizing others? When was the last time you chose yourself? Let me know in the comments below. I’m curious!

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5 Replies to “How does being happy make others happy too?”

  1. I definitely struggled with this a lot of my life especially after having children. It is now part of my routine and my check-in to make sure I’m practicing self-care and taking care of my needs so I can be better for everyone around me. Saying no was probably the absolute hardest for me, I struggle with a superhero complex at times.

  2. I love this notion of being happy yourself makes others happy. It’s good to keep that in mind that you’re doing good to everyone around you! Thanks for this article!

  3. Well said. You are describing me exactly. Thinking of others over myself, trying to save everyone. I know I do it, but I try to make time for myself too. Keep a balance.

    Thank you for sharing.

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