Where’s Your Happy?
Most people don’t like getting in trouble, and then hearing about the wrong they did, especially children.
I love my child; don’t get me wrong, but there are moments where her behavior can induce multiple eye rolls. One of these behaviors is after she gets reprimanded. I’ll tell her what to do, what not to do, and explain to her why what she did was wrong. I’ll ask her if she understands, and then, with the biggest puppy dog eyes, she’ll look up at me and ask: “Where’s my happy?”
At first I thought that she was just joking, trying to say something to break the tension. After a while, I realized that she really meant it. She was unhappy and she was holding me responsible for it.
That’s when I explain to her that her happiness is still there, I didn’t take it. I tell her that she’s in control of her happiness. She still looks at me as if I’m holding her happiness hostage from her. These seeking-for-happiness moments remind me that though we’re separated by age, adults and children can still be very similar in emotions and behaviors.
It’s amazing the different things you begin to realize after you interact with a child. There’s moments when things become more parallel than you might have imagined, and realize that small issues can grow into larger ones as you get older.
When I was a child, I remember a number of times crying and pointing to someone saying: “they made me sad!” Sometimes people made fun of my very thick southern accent, sometimes I wasn’t included, or people pointed out my ashy skin. It would all hurt my feelings, and when I would tell an adult, they would always tell me: “no one can make you sad. You make yourself sad,” and I always thought that was such a callous way to approach a child’s feelings. As I got older, it did begin to make sense.
There’s sort of a mindset that some of us have where we don’t realize that we’re in more control of our lives than we know. Sometimes we pray that God gives us a solution, or we wait for great opportunities to approach us, when in actuality, those prayers and solutions were right in front of us. We didn’t notice them because they didn’t come in the way we expected (two boats and a helicopter). That’s how happiness can be sometimes. It can seem as though it alludes our grasps, but in fact, it’s more tangible than we realize.
I’m not saying that you can become completely impenetrable to the ills of the world, and how it makes you feel. I am saying that staying in that negative condition can be our own doing.
Whether it’s giving people too much power over us, victimizing ourselves, ignoring our own faults, or not seeking professional help, these are things that we do to help ourselves stay of negative situations.
Just like expressed in Alyssa Johnson’s very brave article about depression, it’s not enough to acknowledge a problem, but to seek a solution to it as well. If it’s just recognizing the triggers, removing the stigma of counselling/therapy, or seeking appropriate ways to handle depression that are right for you, you can get closer to a solution as long as you work toward it.
I’m reminded of this when my daughter asks me “where my happy?” or when I’m annoyed about things in the world. That’s when I remind her and myself, that happiness is there. We just have to find the best way for ourselves to grab it.