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October 10, 2014

Be Your Own Happiness

Image: Flickr/Andrew Storms

Image: Flickr/Andrew Storms

“If your happiness depends on you children being happy, that makes them your hostages. Be your own happiness. And that way you are the teacher for your children: someone who knows how to live a happy life.” (Byron Katie)

Parents often base our own sense of happiness on external circumstances. We find ourselves dependent on things beyond our control. It’s a common thing. But, just because it’s common, doesn’t make it helpful. Feelings like happiness are choices that we must make on a daily basis — especially when it comes to living with our children.

If your child is throwing a tantrum or pitching a fit, guess what? That doesn’t have to make you upset. You can still choose happy. If your teenager is moping about and grumbling about how hard her life is, guess what? You don’t have to pull her out of that emotional ditch before you can feel good about life.

You can be happy; you can choose to bring happy with you wherever you go. Even if your child is yelling about how mean you are, you don’t have to take that personally. This is a simple and profound truth: no one can make you feel anything you don’t want to feel.

When that truth sinks in, you’ll be in a much better position to walk with your child through difficult emotions. They’ll see that you are stronger than the winds threatening to blow you off course. They will naturally begin to gravitate towards you and your calm so that you can provide comfort, consequences, or clarity when they need it most.

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