Learning to Put Your Own Happiness First

worryPhoto courtesy of Amanda Lynn

I ask my children every day, “Are you happy today?” I ask my spouse, too. Their satisfaction with life is extremely important to me – but not more important than my own.

While that may sound selfish, it’s actually a very healthy mindset. Many people put everyone else’s needs so high on their list of priorities that they risk their own happiness in the process.

“The Constitution only guarantees [Americans] the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.”  ~ Benjamin Franklin

Since it is considered such a “normal” practice to put our own happiness on the backburner – it’s even more critical that we stoke our own fire on a regular basis.

Why should you stop worrying about everyone else all the time and put your own happiness first? There are a lot of reasons! A few of them include:

  • Everyone must figure out how to be happy on their own. At some point, they need the skills to find their happy place without you pointing them to it every single time. They’ll never develop these skills if you don’t let them try.
  • Your own happiness shouldn’t depend on someone else’s. Even if they never find their way to their happy place, you’ve got to be ok with that and be able to be happy anyway.
  • Believe it or not, you don’t hold the only key to happiness.  In fact, if happiness actually is hidden behind a magical door somewhere, everyone holds a key. We all have the skills and abilities required to find our own version of happiness.

Needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway!), the exception, of course, is very young children. As our children grow, they do need the adults in their lives to guide them along the path of life toward discovering what makes them happy.

In fact, I’m a big proponent of teaching children to live mindfully as young as possible, giving them the skills they’ll need to find extraordinary happiness in simple, everyday activities.

Raising children and finding one’s own happiness can be done! They are not mutually exclusive events, and it has been shown that the best parents are, you guessed it, happy! Taking time out just for yourself and nurturing your inner self is great for you and your children.

The thing that we all need to realize is that our own satisfaction and joy needn’t be derived from someone else. Sure, being a part of their happiness is an amazing thing; however, it’s important to continually practice being happy without watching the smile on someone else’s face.

Instead of tiptoeing around someone else’s mood and holding off your own happiness until they decide to crack a smile, find the closest mirror, and just grin.

Trust the knowledge that the people in your life have what they need to find happiness - they will get happy when they’re ready. In the meantime, you get to be happy now.

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