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Happiness - A goal, a luxury, an achievement, a state we all vie for. It is something our life revolves around. Our actions are guided by our desire to achieve it for ourselves and for our loved ones. But wouldn't it be wonderful if we are able to find our pockets of happiness hiding inside us and around us without having to wait for a 'happiness bonanza'? When this idea occurred to me, I decided to develop 'happiness habits' in my girls so that they never miss a moment to grab a chunk of their share of happiness. I attempt doing it usually through the following ways -
Use the magic words thank you, generously and genuinely.
Be it the housemaid, the security guard, her grandparents or parents; my older daughter has learnt to thank for any little thing somebody does for her. This gesture not only brings a smile on the other person's face but also helps her to count the blessings that make her happy.
Always keep up the enthusiasm.
I keep giving my daughter reasons to be excited about. In fact, toddlers are inherently on a hunt for such occasions. Playing a new game for the very first time, making odd shaped chapatis for her father, spilling colours around the house in Holi, lighting the lamps on Diwali, blowing balloons for sister's first birthday. I create a hype about everything just so that she builds up a cheerful spirit.
Stay away from negativity.
At times there are people around who pester her by saying things she doesn't like, thinking that it is amusing for her. Earlier I came to her rescue every time by driving them away. But then she started depending on me for dealing with such people. So now I have started making her learn to act as if they do not bother her and to simply walk away from them.
Make others happy.
Happiness is always contagious. The best way to be happy is to make others happy. I teach her this by making greeting cards with her which she can gift her loved ones on their special days, showering genuine compliments to others when they deserve it and my personal favourite - giving a tight hug to a loved one when he or she is feeling down. We call it our 'Biiiigggg Huuuggg!'.
Acknowledging the 'unhappy' feelings.
Happiness cannot be realised completely without having faced any disappointment. Whenever I find her upset about something, I help her in labelling that 'unhappy' feeling. We often play a game of making funny, happy, excited, scared, surprised, angry faces either looking at the mirror or by drawing some on a blackboard. Once she learns to associate the feelings with their names, she finds ways to overcome the unpleasant feelings on her own.
Just be yourself.
Whether it means her bathroom singing sessions or taking her own time in learning to ride that bicycle. Being free from the burden of imagining what others think of her will always encourage her to stick to things and people that truly matter. (I had penned down this thought of mine in an older post Love to be yourself)
Of course the real world is not a sparkling bright art work of crayons that she creates on the walls of her house. There will be times when people will not notice or respond to her courtesy and efforts; when she would come across people and incidents she despises but will have to tackle them diplomatically; when her ambitions and expectations will grow alongside the milestones she achieves. But my intention in teaching her all this is to make her aware that she can be happy anywhere and anytime if she decides it that way. Her pursuit of happiness should always begin with her own self.