Have you ever wondered why some people who seem to have everything in life are unhappy, yet other people who have little or nothing seem to be bursting with joy?
People who have lots of money and possessions feel that something is missing. People who have good looks have trouble making good relationships. People who have power feel powerless. People who are surrounded by friends feel alone. There are so many people in the world who appear to have great lives but they are extremely unhappy and unfulfilled. On the other hand, people who live in poverty and struggle each day with hunger and sickness are often the happiest people you will meet.
Why does this happen? Because things of this world are temporary and can only give temporary satisfaction. Reaching for material things to bring happiness will never give you what you are looking for. You can have the perfect life, the perfect house, the perfect job, the perfect family and you still won’t be happy. Of course, it really isn’t possible to have perfection in a world that is far from perfect. When you look for happiness in objects, they will never be enough. You have to look inside you and around you.
Happiness comes from being confident in who you are, not who you want to be or what you have. It is:
- knowing that you have great abilities and qualities that make you different from anyone else
- being thankful for what you have and not desiring things you don’t need
- understanding that you were created to be special and unique
- wanting to help other people and guide them towards a better way of life
- being a positive role model
- having faith in someone bigger than yourself
We all can choose everyday to be happy or not to be happy. It is all how we look at the world around us and what we do with the gifts we have been given. When you get up tomorrow, choose to be happy and have a wonderful day!
Everyone wants to have friends. Friendships are important. Good friends help us learn and grow, they help us build confidence, they help us enjoy life. When we are surrounded by people who care about us, we are able to navigate through life’s ups and downs and feel their love and support.
Children especially need friends to help them grow emotionally, socially and morally. They need mainly people their own age, although children can become friends with those who are older or younger. Many parents try to be a friend to their child, thinking they are being loving, but this will only stop a child from becoming independent and responsible. Parents should be a parent, a mentor, a teacher, someone who is there to guide them, support them, discipline them and mostly love them. Parents should be a good example to their children, helping them learn how to become a good friend to others and encouraging them to find positive friendships. Without friendships, children may easily become depressed, lonely and lack ambition which can result in poor health, poor performance in school or work, failed marriages and difficulty coping as an adult.
What does it take to be a good friend? It comes from a combination of teaching and experience. Good friends are able to :
- communicate their feelings in a positive way
- understand the feelings of others
- show empathy
- be trustworthy
- not gossip or spread false rumours
- take responsibility for their own actions
- solve problems and resolve conflicts
- forgive easily and not hold grudges
- distinguish right from wrong
- make good choices
- stand up for what they believe
- withstand bullying and understand that bullies have their own issues to deal with
- be loyal even when a friend is hurting physically or emotionally
- get along with others even during difficult times
- accept differences in people
- own up to their mistakes and not blame others
- have fun and enjoy life
If you want to have good friends, you have to be a good friend. Be a good example to your children and teach them to be a good example to others. Discourage them from having friends who continually hurt them through gossiping, excluding them, ignoring them or trying to get them to do things they know is wrong. Even having 1 good friend is better than having 20 bad friends. You are the biggest influence in your child’s life so make sure you are influencing them in a positive way.
Have you ever said any of the following statements?
- I’ll be happy when I graduate from college.
- I’ll be happy when I get a good job.
- I’ll be happy when I get married.
- I’ll be happy when I have children.
- I’ll be happy when I can buy a new car or a bigger house.
- I’ll be happy when I go on my dream vacation.
- I’ll be happy when I get a better job.
- I’ll be happy when I lose 5, 10, 20, 50 pounds.
- I’ll be happy when my spouse pays more attention to me.
- I’ll be happy when I make more money.
- I’ll be happy when my kids move out.
- I’ll be happy when I retire.
I used to believe that when something good happened to me, I would be happy. Then when it did happen, happiness was short-lived.
Looking to the future and believing that something or someone will make you happy, is a false belief. Everyone is searching for happiness but many of us never find it. We run around like a gerbil on a wheel and keep hoping to fill the emptiness inside. The problem is, nothing external will satisfy our needs for very long.
If we want to be happy, we have to change the way we think. Instead of believing that happiness comes from outside, we have to realize that happiness comes from inside. When we are satisfied with our lives and thankful for what we have, happiness will find us. We can create our own happiness by having a positive attitude, we don’t have to go looking for it. We can choose to be happy or we can choose to be unhappy. Which will you choose?
Let’s face it – life IS difficult and there are so many things that we can worry about – our families, our jobs, our friends, our finances, our future. However, what value does worrying have? The answer is – absolutely none!! Worry doesn’t make anything better and it won’t resolve any problems. Worry is just a major cause of stress and we know that stress can kill us.
So if we are worrying about everything in our lives, then we are impacting everyone around us, especially our children. Think about it – our children are watching everything we say and do and will likely pick up any bad habits we have, like worrying! We are giving them a terrible gift, one that will harm their health and possibly destroy any close parent/child relationship.
Are you teaching your children to worry? If you are a worrier, take some steps to change this bad habit. Write down your worries and try to change your perspective on them. Ask yourself why you are worrying so much. Try to focus on a positive solution and have faith that things will usually turn out okay. The fact is, about 95% of the things we worry about never happen!
Unless we are completely alone, everything we say and do has an effect on other people. We can be a good example or we can be a bad example depending on what kind of words and actions we are using. The best thing we can do is to lead by example and have a positive impact on everyone around us, especially our children.
- If you want your children to show respect to others, you can’t call people names and run them down.
- If you want your children to tell the truth, you can’t call in sick to work and then go and play golf
- If you want your children to be kind to others, you can’t ignore that homeless person lying on the ground
- If you want your children to be healthy, you can’t eat unhealthy foods or abuse substances yourself
If you want your children to grow up to become responsible adults, you have to show them what a responsible adult looks like. You can’t just tell them or try to force them into a mold. They will learn best from your positive example.
This doesn’t mean that you should try to be a perfect parent. There is no such thing! Do the best you can and aim for excellence not perfection. You will make mistakes. Don’t try to cover them up and pretend you are perfect. Show your child that you do fail but that you learn from your mistakes and keep trying to do better.
What kind of example are you?
The way we manage our emotions affects the way we live. If we allow our emotions to control us or just ignore them, they will create chaos in our lives. However, if we learn how to control our emotions, we will have less stress and more peace in our lives.
Emotions are important. They can tell us that something wonderful is happening and provide us with much pleasure and happiness or they can be a warning sign that something is wrong and needs to be addressed. Think about the warning lights on the dashboard of a car. When you see a red light flashing, what action do you take? You can do one of three things:
- ignore it or even cover it up so you can’t see it flashing
- smash the light with a hammer and stop it from flashing
- take it to a mechanic and find out what the problem is
What would the first two actions accomplish? Ignoring the problem or breaking the flashing light won’t make the problem go away and it won’t fix anything. Your vehicle will eventually be damaged and stop running altogether. The last action is the only way you will discover what the problem is and how to correct it.
If you handle your negative emotions by ignoring them or allowing them to explode, this will certainly not fix anything. You will damage your relationships and your own health. The best way to take care of your emotions is to deal with them and learn how to control them. It isn’t always easy but if you pay attention to your emotions and consciously try to calm yourself, it can be done. Here are some ideas:
- try to avoid situations that cause your emotions to get out of control
- never react immediately – practice taking a deep breath and count to 10 before having an out-of-control emotional reaction
- try to focus on something positive
- pray for guidance
- leave the situation if you are struggling to maintain control and come back when you have calmed down
- practice using positive self-talk and looking at things from a different perspective
- vent your emotions in a positive way – write them down on paper or talk to someone you can trust
- examine your feelings and make positive changes in your life
It takes a lot of practice to manage your emotions but if you are consciously aware of your thoughts and work hard to stop yourself from reacting immediately, you will soon develop a habit of self-control. How do you manage your emotions?