I’ve found that my two boys often show me why happiness is a choice. In fact, what is it about the young?
We are told that they are bundles of unrestrained joy and innocence. Really?
Well, how come I’m looking at a pouty lip from my eldest (6 years wise) on most mornings. How is him waking up and struggling against the family agenda providing evidence of natural happiness?
A better question is, “How does that serve him and what does it tell me?”
On first glance it looks like something called a bad mood. He has all the symptoms. Downturned mouth and gaze lowered to the floor. Apologetic voice, caved in shoulders and chest.
Something is not right. Something has happened.
Yet if you look up close you can see that it is a mask. It’s a persona he’s wearing, as if he’d got one of his superhero costumes from the dress-up box.
It’s a device that he’s using to help manipulate something. That’s how it serves him. And if you can catch it off guard it cracks and you can see him in there. Laughing.
A quick tickle or a reminder that it’s Nutella day usually does the trick.
The game is up and the ‘mood’ lifted.
He wants something and he’s playing the “it’s not fair” game.
But where did he learn such a device?
I know you’re already ahead of me. What a gift we have given them. “Dear children, despite your unrestricted flow of pure joy and smiles let us teach you how to put on a scowl and let everyone know that we are really pissed about something.”
“Thanks Dad, I’ll remember that.”
The hard part isn’t seeing through his mask, it’s realising that we do exactly the same thing. Daily
When someone annoys us we reach for the sulky pout. That will show them! If someone forgets that we were next in line we unleash the full-on “how dare you”. Irritated, impatient, agitated and annoyed.
We bring them out as our tools of communication. To let everyone know that we’re not pleased about things right now!
But as we’ve learned, it works both ways. We can just as easily trigger happiness!
We can choose to be tickled by things. To be amused.
Joy happens first, before the presents arrive.
We have to choose it and it is ours.
Happiness works by us first allowing it to bubble up and show itself. We often get caught up in our own drama that we don’t let it happen and we don’t see that we can choose it. We always think that happiness comes later.
Yet we have the power to make it happen.
We don’t need other people to do things that will make us happy.
We can choose happiness and the joy will flood in anyway.