The distance between
Does it really make a difference how happiness is dressed?
As kids, we do our best to please those around us. Our parents, teachers, or siblings (sometimes). Our happiness is wrapped up in their happiness with us. As we get older we decide to create our own lives, our own wants, needs. Basically, our own happiness. These efforts are often viewed as acting out, disobeying, or as just a phase.
Now that I'm an adult raising my own child, I realize this is a completely messed up view of life. How dare I, as a parent, try to squash my child's personality? How dare I try to stop her from being who she wants to be? How dare I try to tell my child what she needs to be happy? To do these things means to assume that whatever makes me happy will be all that my daughter needs to discover her own happiness. Can you see the flaw in this approach?
I am not one of those parents who believes children should raise themselves. Our job is to raise them to be kind, caring, respectful, loving individuals with good morals and values. This also includes ensuring our children have good self esteem and know they deserve to be valued in every relationship, no matter the context. But the emphasis should be on raising them to be individuals, not raising them to be like us, shouldn't it?
It's difficult to be happy when you're trying to be something or someone you're not, just to please others around you. Putting up those types of pretenses can be a full-time job. At some point, we should be willing to stand up for ourselves and say, “This is me. Love me or don't love me. It won't change who I want to be or what makes me happy.”
And when my daughter wants to go to school wearing a sparkly cat t-shirt, rainbow colored skirt, and leopard print tights, I tell her I love her and send her off into the world. And we’re both satisfied knowing we’ve dressed our own happiness.