Conversation with Your BFF: “Have I Been Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places?”

Remember when you were a child, even a teenager, and happiness was so elusive? Nothing really made you happy and if you were happy, the feeling was temporary at best. If you talked to your parents about ‘how to find happiness,’ they possibly focused on the ways many of us have become conditioned to look for happiness. But as you have matured and see life as it truly is, could your parents possibly not have been honest with you about happiness and where we find it? I am so glad you asked!

Happiness is in the Hands of Others

I remember growing up and being told to treat others as you want to be treated…the golden rule. I still believe that the best way to live is to put your head on the pillow nightly with little regret, but not everyone ascribes to that teaching. It is easy to let your happiness depend on others. A coworker treats you poorly, gossips behind your back and there goes your happiness. An in-law makes every effort to let you know she hates you, personal experience here, and you think the rest of the family is onboard with her. Handing over control of your happiness to someone else is not healthy and not true. Teach your kids to display kindness and even when it isn’t given back, continue to extend kindness.

The More Money You Have, the Happier You Will Be

Not many parents would say, ‘money is the root of happiness,’ yet many parents imply that it is because of their actions. Parents spend time working late, missing dinner, passing on soccer games, and recitals. We need to teach our children that money is a means, not an end. The biggest reward from being financially stable is to be able to give away to others and lift others up.

Happiness is Good When You Can Get It, But Don’t Hold Your Breath

No one gets through life without tragedy and heartache. Some have more than others, that’s for sure. As a result, we can develop an attitude that happiness is good, but don’t hold your breath waiting on it. There’s no doubt you can survive without a constant stream of ‘happiness,’ but that may not be much of an existence. One way to get more happiness in your life is to practice gratitude. Learning to count your blessings, even when they are few and far between, is a good way to have a happier life. Teach your kids about being thankful in the big things, but especially the small.

Happiness is a Vague Idea That’s Out There for Us to Find

Have you ever felt like happiness is something you discover somewhere or that it may just fall in your lap when you aren’t looking for it? Happiness might be hidden in the right relationship with ‘the one,’ or in the right career choice, or having a family. With this mindset, your kids may think that happiness is out there waiting for them to stumble upon it. However, in my experience, happiness is often not about what you may find, but lies in what you give to others. When you serve people in some capacity, studies have shown you are happier on the whole. Teach your children early on about the importance of putting others before yourself.

Happiness Comes with the Things We Have

The more stuff you have, the happier you’ll be. Really? Did you know that studies show there is no correlation between acquiring more things and happiness? When you believe and teach your children that being contented gives you feelings of happiness, you can change their mindset and yours. You can still impart that working hard and bettering yourself is important in life, but not focus on that happiness comes in the things we have. Happiness is most often found in those we love and that love us and knowing the difference we can make in the lives of others. 


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