Is it really possible?
Thoughts of happiness (and the lack of) seem to be engulfing my mind lately. Not only am I trying to recall happy moments from our family summer trip (visit bloggingeasterncanada.blogspot.ca), but I’m exploring the happiness in my everyday life.
So, I’ve noticed my mood hasn’t been what I would like it to be. And honestly, I’ve always been a “glass half empty” girl. I work really (really) hard at appreciating what I have, but, honestly, it’s hard not to notice that things could be better. Why settle for half empty when you could have the whole thing?
But I’ve always bought into the idea of empowerment. We talk about empowering our children in Positive Discipline. We’ve all heard the phrases, “don’t be a victim”, “take control of your life”. But .... and here’s the big BUT....happiness and unhappiness are catching.
You know the daily drill....child wakes up crying, older kids don’t want to get out of bed, they’re SO TIRED! Kate can’t find her paper....that paper that was on the table last week! Someone must have taken it! There’s nothing to eat....there’s nothing to put in the kids lunch....at least that’s what the kids say....they’re all TIRED and oh, John doesn’t want to go to school....he’s sick....really, he’s sick and Jane is still crying...now louder because no one is paying attention to her....Kate stomps off shouting, “I hate you!” and that’s just the morning.
How did I create that tornado? Really, I don’t want to take ownership for that. I keep wondering how my days can possibly be happier if I have to put up with THEM? But all of that (apparently) is normal. Data collected by John and Julie Gottmann of the Gottman Institute in Seattle reveals that having children (statistically) causes depression....I’m just a statistic. I’m doomed.
Research also says that family members affect each other’s happiness. I’m doomed….how can I find happiness when everyone is pouring their negativity on me? Happiness and unhappiness are catching. You can tell yourself you’re not going to get sick, but if someone with a horrible cold sneezes in your face....aren’t you going to get sick?
If you’re immersed in a clan of unhappy people, you will catch it....unhappiness. But I can’t give up…..I can’t be doomed(yes, I realize my article is full of contradictions!)
How do we find happiness at home? The two major thoughts my mind struggles with:
· Happiness and Unhappiness are catching.
· Fake it until you make it. That also applies to happiness.
Happiness and Unhappiness are Catching
Fake it (Happiness) until you make it (Happiness)
Fake it (Happiness) until you make it (Happiness)
Haven’t I already covered that? My children, walking around (moping around) with issues and complaints (and most of them aren’t even teenagers yet), (my children) download their negatively on me everyday. How do I fight that? Statistically, I’m doomed! But Happiness is also catching (I won’t mention that as Gretchen Rubin writes in Happier at Home, “negative emotions are more catching than positive emotions, and persist longer, and one grouch can drag down an entire group very quickly.” I did not write that, I did not say that…you did not read it).
My biggest truth about parenting is that if children engage in an activity or mood that you dislike, look at yourself…. How are you portraying that behaviour? (Katie Byron does a great job of explaining this in her book, Loving What Is). Children learn through example…. What kind of example have I demonstrated? Ugh…the truth hurts.
But it’s so hard to rise above that…..
Parenting is hard!
And here comes that second thought: Fake it until you make it.
Take responsibility for the energy you bring into a room because children can’t. They’re too young to assume that responsibility….until you model this concept for them. I’m still struggling with this one….and my guess is, I’ll keep struggling….. And I am hoping that the more I fake it, the more I’ll make it.
Yes, we alone are responsible for shaping our own lives, we create our worlds, we need to take ownership of our lives , stop blaming others….
But I know that’s not enough….. There is more to this whole faking it…..especially, when you’re raising children. Children know when you’re not sincere, so how is this faking it going to work? Time to throw in the towel? Or time to remind myself that YES, parenting is hard! And difficulties create great learning opportunities.
So I don’t know how you will find happiness in your own home. I like to think of happiness as a state of mind….and I can always change my mind….so when unhappiness enters, well, its time for a change.
Maybe happiness just lies in the pursuit of happiness. And the more you look for it, the more you’ll find it. I was in Zing Paperie and Design, at The Village in Park Royal yesterday and picked up a book entitled, Live Happy: Find the Joy That’s all Around you. Seriously? I thought. But I looked all around me, at all the pretty things, and it was hard not to feel just a little bit happy. A paragraph in the beginning of the book caught my eye: “Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, you can find your happy simply by deciding to look for it, because there are always good things within reach. Cultivate a habit of noticing them.” I like that; “find your happy”. I guess I won’t find happiness if I don’t look for it. I get so busy; I forget to look. Can I find happiness at home? Can you find happiness at home? Time to start looking.