Happiness is a funny thing–Is it even possible to be happy all the time? Where do we find the right people or things to make us happy more often? Are any of the children in your life growing up with the impression that life (or God) owes them happiness?
Children’s statements reflect their beliefs about happiness and become their self-talk.
- “If __ hadn’t happened, I’d be happy now.”
- “Other people’s lives are happier than mine.”
- If I just had __ I’d be happy.”
- If I don’t have __, I will never be happy.”
They don’t realize that their focus has turned to the things they don’t have. While it’s obvious to us that loving relationships and basic needs being met will increase enjoyment of life, children may not yet understand that these don’t produce happiness. We can help them see that they set themselves up for disappointment when they depend on external sources for their happiness.
Change self-talk to get unstuck
- “Happiness is about who I am, not about what I have–or don’t have–in my life.”
- Other people’s lives have more unhappiness than I know about. We all have stress and troubles. That’s normal.”
The role of spirituality in a child’s happiness
There’s a place in each child’s being, typically referred to as the soul or heart or human spirit. When children become aware of God’s presence in that space, some find inner stability, which helps them hold onto hope…. like this girl in a domestic violence Safe Place (where I taught life skills).
Specifically, notice her self-talk and her spirituality.
Blue. I used to love the color blue. When I saw the color blue I loved it. But while we were on our journey homeless, I realized that the color blue wasn’t as blue as I thought, because I wasn’t in a feeling of happiness. Every time I looked at the sky it reminded me of the pain we were going through.
I few times when I lay in bed, I would think about–is there any hope that God could give us? I used to feel bad for myself but I told myself to pray more and ask God to give me the strength to get through the day. God heard my prayers. We were moving in a house where my mom could make us food. And where we all could communicate. All the stuff God gives me is like gold to me because he gives me things that are really amazing in my eyes.”
Tweetable: What children tell themselves about happiness may hinder our efforts to show them a good time. Here’s how. Click to Tweet
Thanks to Linda Sibley for her thoughts here about this.