Looking for “Happy”
Where did my happy go?
Our middle son is very good at expressing himself. Terrible two’s you ask? Nope, he’s 4 1/2 now…but, I know what ya mean, bean! If you’re experiencing the terrible 2’s OR the terrible 3’s, hang in there! It will pass and I actually think you might be able to change the way you look at this interesting little toddler phase!
Our middle son was a feisty 2 AND 3 year old. I smile looking back at those challenging years, because now that he is coming into his own little personality, it is clear that his 2 & 3 year old feisty behavior was his way of expressing his emotions. I am sooo thankful for that phase, because I now see that he was learning how to express his feelings at each moment. Some kids may keep their emotions all inside or others may express them through actions. Our little dude, simply tells us exactly and I mean, exactly, how he is feeling.
A few weeks ago, he came downstairs to the breakfast table saying this, “Mama, I can’t find my happy.” Although I loved the way he was explaining this challenge and feeling, my heart ached when I heard this (rather cute) phrase. No mom wants to hear that her child is unhappy or sad. At first I was so caught off guard, I just “winged” it. (Just as any good old sparrow does, right?) ; ) I asked him why he was feeling sad, told him how much I loved him and asked what we could do that would make him happy. That seemed to work for that moment…but what if there was a next time that he couldn’t find his happy???
That night as I was lying in bed, it didn’t sit well with me on how I “winged” helping him ‘find his happy.’ With all the positive practices I was trying to teach our children lately…that morning was a test on “what to do when your child tells you he isn’t happy” and I give myself a “C.” I needed to devise a much better “plan” to implement in case there was a next time. And yup, today was the “next time.” Here are the steps I took when my sweet little sparrow came down to the kitchen for his morning hug, saying, “Mom…I can’t find my happy again.”
After holding him a long while, I set him on the counter and said, “Good morning, baby! I’m so happy to see you this morning! It always makes my day when I see your beautiful face. I’m sorry you haven’t found your happy yet today. Sometimes it takes me a while to find my happy too. I sometimes have to give myself a little time to wake up and find it. And some days are easier than others to find my happy. On the challenging days, I practice extra hard to think of thoughts that make me happy!”
“What kind of happy thoughts, Mama?” he asks.
I reply, “Happy thoughts such as a special memory, like the day you were born or our family vacation to California or memories of my favorite pet. Actually, what helps me really get out of my sad mood, is doing something nice for someone else or just taking a walk outside. What are some of your favorite memories that make you happy?”
“I don’t know Mama…”
“Do you like frogs?” (Knowing that he loves frogs)
“Do you like playing with your brother?”
“What else makes you happy, bubba?”
“Ummm, my friends, my stuffed animals, my brothers…”
“Do you like to play charades?” (knowing that he loves to play charades)
“Well, then…let’s play! I’ll fix your breakfast and then while you’re eating, you can guess what I am!”
“Ok Mama!” (hearing a little bit more excitement in his voice…I know that we’re headed in the right and happy direction).
I realize it may not always be that easy to help him get out of a sad mood. But I feel like the more I make him aware that he can change how he feels by choosing thoughts that make him feel good, I am showing him the power he has within him to change an unwanted mood or feeling.
We all have days like that, right? So, I try not to make a huge deal about it, yet I don’t want to just write if off as just ‘one of those days’ either. I am always working on creative ways to help not just my children, but also ways to help me ‘find my happy’ when I’m having one of those days too!
If truth be told here, I was having one of those days this morning. I thought if I allowed myself an hour or two to wake up, I would eventually, ‘find my happy’ too. About 8am, when it still hadn’t appeared, I knew that I would have to go find it! As I’m sure you can relate, when you’re not feeling all that happy, one doesn’t usually have tons of energy, right? So the thought of exercising sounded awful and almost impossible. Although I know nothing is impossible these days.
So, I said my affirmations “I am emotionally equipped to experience a joyful and prosperous life” and “My energy continues to grow with each breath I take,” tied up my gym shoes and took our kids outside for a walk/run! Oh my gosh, a miracle happened! I felt like a NEW person after some exercise! It was like the morning fog had lifted…I felt brighter, warmer and much happier!
What I do know for sure and something I try religiously to teach my children is that, it truly is all up to us! It’s up to us to choose which attitude makes us feel better expressing: an I can do it attitude, or a woe me, victim’s attitude. We just have to practice guiding our thoughts to ones that make our heart smile!…And thoughts that help us find our happy…when it goes missing!
Affirmation for children: Today’s thoughts create my future. I guide my thoughts to happy thoughts!
Affirmation for adults: I am in the process of positive change! Today, I express happiness and health!