At times, as parents, it can often feel like we are always living in a future desire. If only I had X, then I would feel Y… When my child starts walking, I will be less stressed. When I lose my baby weight, I will feel more confident. When I can go back to work, I will feel fulfilled again. If my child just was a bit more sociable and had a few more friends, I would feel happier. If my kid’s grades were a little bit higher, then I would feel prouder. When the kids leave home, I can finally enjoy going on holidays.
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Just stop for a moment and notice some of your parenting goals that you may be working towards, to increase your level of happiness and wellbeing.
Now, there is nothing wrong with having goals in your life, in fact they can be very empowering, the problem arises when you believe that your feelings and your wellbeing are coming from your goals, or from something outside of you. How many people do you know who are slim and not confident? How many couples do you know that holiday without their kids, but still find things to complain about? How about parents whose kids are at full time school, have plenty of spare time on their hands, but they are still stressed?
This is because there is a huge misunderstanding in where we believe our experience is coming from. There is an illusion that something outside of us, our circumstances, the people in our lives, our achievements or goals can cause our feelings. This is the ultimate limiting belief and in fact not true.
Your feelings are, and can only ever come, from your thinking in the moment. You are only ever living in the feeling of thought. Which means that how we experience life is an inside-out job and not from the outside in, as it seems to appear.
A few more happiness myths:
When your child achieves one of your goals, you will be happy, and your child too!
Now we know this isn’t true. We all know plenty of unhappy achievers. I hear this all too often, parents who have goals for their kids – universities, careers, marriage kids. I will be happy when my kids achieve all these things. Well you won’t because our happiness doesn’t work like that. It doesn’t come from circumstances, the feeling of happiness can only come from your ‘thinking’. Your joy is innate within you, it’s always there, but sometimes we cannot feel it. It’s a bit like the weather. Now we know that the sun is always there, it always turns up, it never has a day off – but sometimes we have to contend with different weather systems. Sometimes it’s cloudy, rainy, windy – but these systems always flow past on their own. The sun is always underneath. This is like your joy. Always there, but sometimes you cannot feel it, for all the cloudy thinking which is passing through. It will pass though, and all by itself so you can climb down from your hamster wheel of over thinking, analyzing and controlling, your mind is a superb self correcting system. It will clear all by itself, all the better with the least amount of involvement from you.
I have hot buttons, and my kids know how to push them!
This is not true, you are not covered in little buttons and neither can anybody else push them. You only believed this to be true as up until now you misunderstood how your thoughts and feelings work. Your thoughts and feelings don’t ever come from other people, including your children. In fact you never directly experience another person but through the thin veil of your thinking. You will only have a relationship with your thinking about your children. There is an enormous power within you that stands between your circumstances and your feelings. It’s called, Thought. Your kids actually have no control over your feelings. Your thinking in the moment is entirely responsible for your feelings. Your ‘thoughts’ are a bit like ‘the elephant in the room’ if you want to direct blame somewhere for your feelings, direct it at the nature of thought, not at your children or circumstances.
The hunter of happiness
If only I had more free time, I’d be stress free and happy! This is not where stress comes from. The feeling of stress comes from ‘stressful thought’ nowhere else. Remember everything outside of you is neutral, until you engage in thought about it. Then this becomes your experience. So, the good news is that nothing can stress you, apart from stressful thinking. The biggest cause of stress is believing that it is coming from outside of you.
Think of thought like a TV in the corner of the room, constantly turned on all day. Now you can choose to be aware of everything that it is saying, engage in the content of it, analyse it, feel it, etc. Or you can choose just to accept that it is there, the nature of TV, just stories, a steady stream being projected at you all day, but you don’t have to engage in it. You can just let it flow, without feeling the need to take it seriously. We also have this free will with the nature of thought, just stories – do we engage with it or not, do we take it seriously or not, do we feel something or not. It is a choice.
Your experience of your children comes from thought in the moment and nowhere else. Not from your kids or outside circumstances. This is true 100% of the time.
Nothing outside of you can stress you, scare you, make you happy etc. Everything outside of you is neutral. You are living in the feeling of thought in the moment. So if you are feeling stressed, the only thing that is happening is that you are having stressful thinking in the moment. It will pass like the clouds.
How to be happier – in a nutshell.
By understanding where your experience is coming from, you will let go of old misunderstandings. Then you will notice that you are more relaxed, calm, clear and when you have less on your mind, the human mind naturally functions in a healthy way. From this place you will then be guided much more by your innate wisdom. You will be surprised how much more connected you are in your close relationships, how much more clarity you have in your life and how much peace you experience.