Does your daughter feel confused about her future?
Would you love to see her living her life on purpose?
What do you feel the benefits would be? Do you imagine that she would be passionate about her work and contributing to her community? You probably realise that living her life on purpose will mean she values her health more, avoids excessive use of drugs or alcohol, and is generally mentally healthy.
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the state of the world… by the statistics and stories of violence and abuse against women… by the slow slow slow move towards gender equality in leadership and economic participation… by the fast rates of environmental destruction… the ever increasing bizarre weather events…
Do you want happiness?
Would you love to see your teen happy and fulfilled?
Yes, of course.
But this desire can cause stress. You may feel like you “should” be happier.
For more on this check out my blog “Why you (and your teen) should give up the search for happiness” here.
The paradox is that when we give up the “search” for happiness, when we accept what we feel right now, even if it’s anger or disappointment or ungratefulness, when we practice unconditional contentment, then a natural sense of peace and joy emerges.
All of these uncomfortable emotions are on the surface, even the emotion of happiness comes and goes. And below the surface, below the storms of emotions that come and go, is a great ocean of peace and unconditional love.
So, here’s three ways mindfulness makes you (and your teen) happy:
You’re invited to the “School of Happiness”… yep, happiness… not success or achievement (although these things are important)… but happiness…
We’d love to have you there… your unique gifts and contributions are important and needed… and so are your teens’…
Everyone’s invited… so if there’s any class or race you’re not interested in working together with… well come along and find out how rewarding it can be…
So what happens at this magical place…
- “What do you want for yourself and your life? What do you want for your family? What do you want for your world?”
- At this school positive solutions to issues facing our world are discussed and developed…
You just want your teen to be happy right??
And you’ve got a pretty clear idea of what they should do with their lives in order to be happy… right??
The job, the relationships, the house, the lifestyle etc….
At the moment they seem to be making all the wrong choices…
And it’s a scary world out there… it can be really hard to be happy without enough money or without fulfilling work….
But ultimately it’s not these external things that bring happiness…
When you think about “searching for happiness” your mind and energy immediately goes to the future… and to objects, situations, and events outside of yourself…. you’re “searching” for something “out there”….
“Money doesn’t make you happy.”
“Money is the root of all evil.”
“Poverty is a noble spiritual path.”
And on and on it goes…
What beliefs do you have around money? Where did they come from? Your parents? Society? Economics?
When I first went to university I studied Commerce with the goal of being an investment banker (I was good at maths and I wanted to earn lots of money).
I then learnt about economics and the finance system and the mantra that got drilled in us was “the only important thing is increasing shareholder value”.
I’m sure you want your teenager to be happy…
Have you ever wondered what else you can do for them?
Well, firstly… you’re not responsible for their happiness…
And as surely as you want them to be happy…. you also want them to be responsible and independent…
The thing is… when you take responsibility for others… you’re teaching them to not take responsibility for themselves… (read my blog about why giving to people can be a bad thing here)…
As a parent you’re definitely responsible for looking after them as best you can… supporting, encouraging… being emotionally available…
But responsible for their emotional state… nope…
So what do teens need to be happy…. support and someone to talk to… most importantly someone to listen…. not someone to give advice or criticise…. just to listen….
Do you feel under pressure to live a perfect life?
Do you know anyone who has a perfect life? … really???
Have you ever compared yourself to others and felt inadequate because your life wasn’t where it ‘should’ be?
Have you ever put pressure on yourself to work more, study more, earn more, be more… because you felt you had to live up to some unrealistic expectation?
When I was 20 I felt the pressure to do everything and be everything…. I wanted to have a successful career, lots of money, the perfect relationship, kids, travel, a fancy home etc etc…. and I felt like I needed to do all this before 30….
When I thought about my perfect life I never thought about things like… being happy… being healthy… feeling connected… or contributing to my community…
Now I’m 32…. I ‘should’ be married… own property… have kids… have lots of money, a fancy car, and a fancy career title by now… surely….
Do you treat yourself well with kind words and encouragement?
Do you do what makes you happy or do you do what is sensible and risk free?
Do you express your love and appreciation to those around you?
Do you charge what you’re worth?
Do you do what you love?
What do you want in your life?.... happiness??
Some people will say that desiring happiness is a trap…. because no-one is happy all the time… and if we try to avoid our unhappy feelings (by turning to food, shopping, sex, drugs, etc.) then we end up addicted, compulsive, and generally avoiding life…. and then yes… desiring to feel happy all the time becomes a trap…
But what about a joy that’s deeper and truer than a fleeting happy moment…. what about a joy that can underlie even the most painful of emotions…