Nothing ventured, nothing gained. People wonder whether happiness is something that comes from within the genes you receive at birth or whether its something that grows through outside nurturing. Right now my children seem to be struggling most with this aspect of life. I don’t know if they necessarily feel like a life of good is owed to them- but they certainly have been making it clear to us that they are unhappy and feel we have a lot to do with it.
I’m reading a great book by Ted Leonsis called The Business of Happiness. The first half of the book tells his background and where he believes he learned so much through experience about happiness- and the second half gives you some tools to be able to look at where you are at and how you can achieve more happiness if you desire.
What was interesting is looking at the correlation between money and happiness. So many times we hear in life that if I just had more money, I’d be happy- if I could just get out of debt, I’d be so happy and have no worries left. He realized that a lot of times when he chased certain financial opportunities, he would have to sacrifice in other areas and that would play into his level of happiness. Overall, I agree that if you are working in a career that you thoroughly are passionate about, happiness will be a natural byproduct. We need to feel wanted and loved by the community around us- be it co-workers, bosses or people that are directly consuming or effected by what we do in our work.
Relating this back to my children, as much as I would love for them to be happy, I can’t make them happy. It has to come from within. They have to choose to look at what’s going on and see what they desire most out of life. If they believe there’s no hope for a better future, they will get exactly what they put out. Which is a shame, as they can have the best of everything they want- as long as they put their heart and soul into it.
There have been others who’ve had life as worse if not much worse then theirs- and come out on top or better for it. I refuse to accept blame for the consequences of their current actions. We’ve given them numerous opportunities to work out their issues- have multiple therapists and psychiatrists in their lives- and encourage them to use the skills they are learning when faced with trouble, challenges and crisis. I can’t make another human being do something they don’t want to do- and likewise, their unhappiness is not going to tarnish my happiness.
So I will continually keep them in my thoughts and hope they learn that we are doing what’s best for their future- even if they don’t see it that way currently. Safety and security are top priorities in this house, and I can’t have myself or my wife living in fear of their emotional outbursts continuing to be physically unsafe outbursts. We want them to think before they act- and work on using a wise mind rather than living in an emotional world all of the time.