Happy International Day of Happiness!!
I thought I might take the opportunity to tell you something that I tell my clients, and inevitably shocks them. My goal is not to make you happy.
There. I said it. Shocked?
Now, let me explain why. And, importantly, what my goal is.
Firstly, it is important to remember that most of my clients are 16 and under. Their version of happiness often extends to ‘playing Fortnite’ or ‘drinking Slurpees’. Certainly not things that are necessarily good for them! I see my goal as not providing them with more ‘happiness’ but in helping them to understand what is important to them and gives their life meaning. We call this your values.
Imagine this: you have more money than you can ever spend. You don’t have to go to work, you can give some away to charity, buy your huge house, buy cars and clothes and jewellery for yourself and all your family. What next? What are you going to do tomorrow? and the next day? and the next etc etc.
Your answer to this question can give you insight into your values. Try it right now. What do you want to do? Be careful. A lot of people say travel, but why? What is it about travel that you value? Is it exploring, or eating new food? Write a list of three things you would fill your day with if you didn’t have all the pressure of work and day to day admin (I know I would have a housekeeper, a PA and a gardener!!).
But what is the point of doing this? You do have all these other stresses in your life that stop you doing these things. Except, that’s where my next goal comes in. I want you to have the skills to do these things even when you don’t feel happy!
If you said you wanted to do more exercise, I bet the reason you don’t do it is because you’re too tired at the end of the day. If you said you wanted to cook, or paint, or craft I am sure you found reasons why you can’t. But I also bet most of these reasons relate to your emotions. ‘I’m too tired’ ‘I’m too stressed’ ‘I’m too worn down’. So that’s where the next goal comes in. Read my last blog post on not buying these evaluations, use some mindful strategies to refocus, then decide what you could do today that would be close to something on this list. It might be ‘I would sit and doodle for 15 minutes’ or ‘I would do a 15 minute workout in my lounge room’. Whatever it is, write it down.
And here is why I don’t want you to be happy. We think that we will do these things when we are happy, and so we delay them. But I don’t want you to be happy.
I want you to know what gives your life meaning, and choose to do it even when you are not happy.
If you want to explore this more, why not get in touch for a session or read The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris, or if you are younger Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life for Teens by Louise Hayes