“I just want my kids to be happy!”
If you ask a parent what they want for their children, that’s what most of them will say.
And without realising, there and then, they sign up for a life of bending over backwards to achieve the impossible. We are responsible for our own happiness. Yet, I’ve seen parents exhaust themselves doing the hardest job in the world. They give in, they protect their children from their painful feelings, they lie to and for their children. Not to mention, they work their fingers to the bone to provide provide provide. How exhausting!
I’m not saying all these things aren’t great. They are. I was brought up that way. I loved it all and am eternally grateful to my parents for a well-educated childhood full of luxury. I know I am one of the lucky ones.
True happiness starts with a thought
I know this because I live in my head. It is estimated that every day our magnificent brains churn out around 60 million thoughts. I often wonder if I had a remote control for my brain, would I only want to Sky Plus the good stuff, erase the bad or at times, even switch my brain off all together. I use this exercise in coaching to help children realise that they are in control of their minds.
I can’t do that. My brain can’t erase thoughts; the bad ones just fade with time. My brain doesn’t understand negative commands. When I tell it not to think about chocolate. Chocolate starts to appear everywhere I look and I crave it more than ever before. What my brain can do is learn a new set of thoughts and that is why I’ve spent a massive part of my life retraining my brain to think happily.
Go to your Happy Place!
Sounds easy doesn’t it? Think happy thoughts! Once upon a time, in the eye of the storm, I was mildly irritated (okay I’m lying, I was seriously annoyed) by anybody spouting such rubbish. I was so angry with life, everybody was going to feel the wrath of my hot fiery red headedness. Chocolate and wine would be my preferred self soothers and let’s just say neither of those in excess is ever great. Over time though, I saw that these happy clappers, do have a point:
“You don’t travel to happiness; you cultivate it inside your soul.”
Now a quick note here about feelings. I’m not saying gloss over them, stick your fingers in your ears and sing a pretend happy song like “‘Nah Nah Nah! Everything’s totally fine!” Nope. Not saying that at all. What I’m saying is when it comes to feelings, ‘It’s better out than in!’
“There is a time and place for all emotions which come and go. They teach us what we need to know to grow.”
I found this out the hard way. Let’s not go there today. Instead, I’ll be brief and say if you kid yourself you are okay or if you stuff down your big painful feelings, they are going to come back and bite you on the bottom. Probably when you least expect it. It will be messy. Life is messy and very unpredictable.
Be the happiest version of yourself
The good news is that cultivation of happiness from your soul is achievable and like all good habits, takes commitment and practise. The added bonus is that you will be an excellent role model to your children which in my mind is one of the best parenting approaches. This isn’t about being perfect but it’s about demonstrating the sort of behaviour we want to see and being the best version of ourselves. If you are asking too much of yourself, you are sending a message to your children that it’s OK to do the same.
Smiley Says Get Your Happy On!
I’m still a work in progress at Getting My Happy On, but I thought I’d share with you how I managed to be a master of my brain. You never know, it might even stop you from twisting yourself into a pretzel to please your children (No seriously! You have to stop it right now! It’s not your job!)
How many of your thoughts are positive? Our thinking shapes so much of our day but
most of all it shapes our experience of life. Lots of our thoughts are habitual. Basically what you focus your attention on grows bigger so you have to be aware of where your head is at if you want to Get Your Happy On.
Treat yourself to a box of Smiley Thoughts Cards and make positive thinking, confidence, love and encouragement part of every day life for your whole family. There are even two blank cards inside the box for you to make up your own smiley thoughts. Every box sold donates £1 to Your Sanctuary (a local domestic abuse charity)
What are you waiting for? Get Your Happy On!