Recently, I met with my former co-worker who is now taking a career break. At one point, she said: “Isn’t it absurd that adult people need to learn how to be happy? Children are happy naturally. When and how do we lose this ability?”
Babies are born perfect. And they know it. They are happy, they love their bodies for no reason and they love unconditionally everyone else. Babies are 100% authentic. They know how to express their needs and emotions and they do it without any censoring.
Family is our first big school of life. We learn that certain behaviors are more welcome by our parents than some other behaviors. Getting good marks at school brings us more rewards than bad marks. A fancy family car is going to get us more attention and acceptance from our peers than a crappy car. We learn that certain gestures, clothes, make-up and the latest version of the iPhone will make us look really cool. Suddenly, we have a persona, and our original-self is less and less visible.
Family is the most important school of happiness. Your family story about happiness is likely to be a major factor for your own happiness. Do you come from a martyr family, where it was believed that before being happy, we have to take care of everyone else’s happiness? That your happiness is selfish? Or do you come from a work ethic family, where it was believed that happiness would arrive only after we all work really hard? Or perhaps from a suffering ethic family, which believed that happiness on earth is not possible and that happy people are out of touch with reality?
The good news is that our happiness is with us all the time. It didn’t go anywhere. We just lost touch with it. We live our family stories and search for happiness outside ourselves – in work, relationships, and things. Indeed – great work, fulfilling relationships and beautiful things can bring us deep satisfaction. However, they do not have capacity to bring us lasting happiness.
The only person in the whole world who can make you happy is YOU.
Learning to be happy is a process of remembering that a long time ago, when we were born, the whole world thought that we were perfect, innocent and beautiful. It is a process of self-acceptance that who we are is enough. It is a shift from identification with our learned persona to our true nature – our perfect, innocent and beautiful soul.
To experience more happiness, start accepting and loving yourself more.
Look into the mirror and name at least 10 beautiful things about yourself. It works miracles!