Being happy internally is in sharp contrast to appearing to be happy. Being happy internally implies there is work going on. It means one is desirous of contentment. Contentment is hard to measure in smiles and superficial words. Here's why I say this.
It could be argued that all emotions are valid, even if they're not always constructive. We're human. But the act of creation, on any small or large scale, is evidence of a person's measure of happiness. The cynical, bitter, and angry person does not find satisfaction in creating. Nor do those who merely see making things as a way to get money. It's one's creative spark or inner well-spring of creative energy which powers the act of bringing good, or beauty, or meaning into our world.
The modern day creative entrepreneur or professional entertains a wide range of emotions related to the act of creation. Fear – Am I ready to take on this project? Anxiety – Will my creations be good enough? Doubt – I'm not sure I have the credibility to do this. There are other factors such as comparing ourselves to others, dealing with our life realities, and accepting personal limitations. Consequently, there are times when the creative may appear to be anxious or troubled due to adversity, but on the inside he or she is working hard.
This is why I say happiness is less of an outward expression and more of an inner quality of being. Sure, most of us like to smile and laugh. But these expressions are not proof of a person's happiness. Happiness is a commitment to how one copes with challenges, perceives social injustices, and bends to the pressures of everyday life. It's a mindset.
In the end, the effort to cultivate happiness is an investment towards an individual's road to contentment. For instance, I see each project I finish is an intentionally placed stone on that road. And, if I live to be an old man, what waits at the end of this road is something more than happiness. It'll be satisfaction, purpose, and meaning.
In short, if we view our happiness as largely a result of what we do with our time, rather than what happens to us or what we get in life, I have to believe contentment awaits.