While it could be different for every clinician, I have discovered I can rely on the kickoff of a new year to be uniquely hectic. Despite the chaotic schedule, I observed an exchange that halted me in my tracks a few days ago. A parent was expressing a task they wanted their child to complete. The child’s response mimicked something like “But I don’t enjoy doing that task! I’m not supposed to like it, I’m a kid after all!”
As the conflict carried on, my mind began to follow a tangential question.
When did happiness become so misconstrued?
It seems that many of us have replaced the notion of the “pursuit” of happiness with the “entitlement” to happiness. The threshold for discomfort is unequivocally low for many as I experience those viewing happiness through a very polarized lens. Either life is sunshine and rainbows, stock full of satisfaction granted from having life go the direction one craves, or it’s a black hole of despair, void of that “one thing” , that “one person”, or that “one opportunity”.
Genuinely, how do you find your happy?
This is one of my favorite processing questions. The perplexed expression that clouds a client’s face is predictable as they sit with the odd finesse of the question. I choose my words carefully here, as so many of us hyper-focus on “what makes us happy”.
Yikes. Here’s the roadblock.
A person is responsible for their own happiness. Our happiness cannot and will not rely on others.
Regardless of one’s age and stage of life, we are the ones that get the final say to our own emotions. Sure, it is the actions and behaviors of others that contribute to the environment we exist in, however our emotional well-being is not inherently THE other person’s fault.
So, why do we continually dole out the responsibility of our happy to everyone and everything but ourselves?