Angela (not her real name) is 7 years old. She is an extremely bright little girl with a sharp mind that is hyper-tuned-in to everything around her. Angela’s ability to express how she feels and to ask pointed, penetrating questions, is unusual for a 7-year old. The challenge that Angela and her parents have is that Angela is also a very anxious and fearful child. And when she feels anxious this can trigger a meltdown in which she becomes either defiant or withdrawn.
Every now and then Angela asks her mom or her dad, ‘Are you happy?’ It is true that all our kids always know how we are feeling but, most often, kids cannot or do not speak about this to us. Angela, on the other hand, being such an expressive child, is able to verbalize the feelings that she is aware of in her mom or dad. Most kids will just absorb our feelings at an unconscious level. This affects the way they feel, but they do not tell us, so we do not know.
My question to you is this: Are you happy? This is a hugely important question because your child knows the answer. You can’t fake it, you can’t evade it.
The Trap of, ‘I’ll be happy when…‘
Many parents tell me, I will feel happy ‘when my child’s learning problems are solved; I will be happy when my child stops struggling with low self-esteem; stops being afraid and anxious; when my daughter has friends; when … ‘ Basically the message is I will be happy when my child is happy. If you are one of these moms or dads, you’ve got it all wrong because here’s the reality:
A happy child does not create a happy parent.
A happy parent creates a happy child.
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for you to be happy NOW –to be truly HAPPY IN THE PRESENT – for the sake of your children and for the sake of your own health and well-being. When you are happy in the present, when your child sees this, feels it, and thrives on it. Your happiness it will rub off on him or her. Your happiness will stimulate the kind of chemistry in your child that will:
• Enhance learning
• Allow them to feel good
• Enable positive behavior
Is this Woo-Woo or Science?
Sometimes when I speak about ‘happiness’ there are some who misinterpret this as being ‘new agey’ or ‘woo-woo” (dictionary defines woo-woo as a derogatory and dismissive term used to refer to something as nonsense). I am speaking about the scientifically proven benefits of happiness on the spirit, body and brain. A huge amount of happiness research is currently being conducted around the globe. It is now becoming evident that a real, inner sense of happiness triggers the kind of bio-and neuro-chemistry that is the primary source of health, wealth and success. Even business corporations are now focusing on creating happy employees based on research showing that happiness significantly enhances profits. This is because happy employees set high goals, work as teams, are much more productive and creative and have high levels of commitment. This works exactly the same way for families.
It all starts with being happy in the NOW! So how do I get happy NOW?
You would think that feeling happy, really alive and happy, is something we all want for ourselves. You would think it would be easy to be happy. But for many of us this is not true. So what holds us back? Why have some of us lost this wonderful, desirable ability? And how do we physically, mentally, and emotionally make that shift from feeling low, sad, worried, anxious, frustrated, annoyed, angry, resentful or unhappy, to feeling light, vibrant calm, peaceful and happy?
It’s real simple.
1. You must first authentically, at the core of your being, with all your heart and mind, CRAVE AND DESIRE TO BE HAPPY. (Not just in your head – but in your being!)
2. You must feel absolutely sick and tired of not being happy! You must have had ENOUGH of stress, worry, anxiety, exhaustion, more worry and more stress. You must truly BE READY TO BE HAPPY.
3. This sounds a little crazy, but it is a sad reality. We all need to learn how to let ourselves experience true happiness. Just saying, ‘I want to be happy’ will not do it. COMMIT TO LEARNING HOW to find and enter that happy space inside of you. It exists. The happy you is there. You may have just locked it away.
4. To find the happy you, you will need some TOOLS. One of the very best, and easiest ways of doing this, is through meditation. (Oh-Oh! I think I just heard some negative beliefs you might have about meditation). I highly recommend that you explore meditation and learn how to do it. Meditating is so easy. It feels amazing. It becomes addictive. It is a marvelous route to happiness.
So be Happy NOW. Remember happy moms and dads create happy, healthy children!