HOW TO BE HAPPY AND TO HAVE HAPPY KIDS
Do you agree with author Natalie Savvides's outlook?
There have been many times in my life when I have pondered how on earth I would ever be 'happy'? Not a euphoric utopia, but a genuine, wake up with a smile kind of happy. I've wondered over, read about and experimented with the extensive suggestions and my conclusion is that it really isn’t all that complicated. Effectively, happiness is a choice.
There is plenty of complex research and theory, which frankly I find a touch overkill. I believe the key to happiness is about creating and maintaining a positive mental attitude. Tell yourself you are happy, repeatedly, and you are more likely to feel happier. But you have to do it and be committed to doing it. Happiness cannot depend on how we see ourselves in relation to the images or lifestyles projected around us (often not genuine) it must come from within. Appreciation for what we have, the pleasure of working towards and achieving our goals based on our own desires, irrespective of what’s around us are key. Our only competition should be with ourselves.
In my experience when I’ve needed to pick myself up following another knock down, switching my attitude has worked best for me. Granted, it is not always easy and can be a mental tug of war, but it works in the end. Fighting the negative thoughts and replacing them with feelings of thanks and appreciation for the good can bring definitive results. Decide what you want to achieve and keep the vision alive in your mind, but be happy and grateful for what you already have. The rest I entrust to the powers that be. A faith in the future is essential.
I recall numerous instances where this has worked for me. With our family house for example, I wanted it desperately, every time I tried, I was outbid, the offer was rejected or the sale called off... knocked back every time. It was only when I switched my thinking and reminded myself of all I had to be thankful for that things changed. I naturally felt happier. No sooner did I do that; the phone rang and the house was ours. The positive attitude brought more things for me to be happy about. My entire concept and level of happiness changed when I fully understood the power of choosing to be happy now and in the moment.
Comparison is the thief of joy and robs us of our natural happiness
My main focus with my children is teaching them not to compare. Comparison is the thief of joy and robs us of our natural happiness. Again, we cannot compare our inner life with the outer lives of others. For adults and children alike this is increasingly important in a world swamped with social media.
My observation of children’s moods and demeanour being so influenced by outside scenarios; friendships, plans, decisions, led me to try to educate them into feeling happy irrespective of outside circumstance, to be thankful for what they have (family, home, love) and for that to be the seed of their happiness. Their smiles cannot depend on ever changing external factors - they must depend on their strength within.
Sustainable happiness is not about material belongings - we get used to those all too quickly and want more - it's an unfulfilling prophecy. Nor does it relate to specific friendships or jobs – these can all change. Happiness is about taking care of yourself, your physical and mental and financial wellbeing. It is not so dependent on what you have as how you perceive what you have. If you feel good about yourself, what you have and your current situation, you will be happy. Feeling happy puts us on a positive frequency, which in turn attracts more positivity and thus happiness to us. It is as simple as that.
:: Natalie Savvides is the author of Full Circle, an honest account of growing up which includes unedited extracts from her diary from the age of 13 to her 30s.