I have been on this planet for almost 40 years now, and my son has been here for about 20 months. So why does he seem to have better handle on happiness and innate wellbeing than I do?
He spends most of his time smiling, blowing raspberries, toddling around the house clapping his hands, or just tranced out by a blade of grass.....he is naturally at peace, content and happy. Supporting this, he also has an effective system worked out for getting his basic needs of food and sleep met (it involves being very noisy until it happens). But if we cover those basics, he is default happy.
I, on the other hand, spent 20 years life being 'educated' formally (which surely should mean that I am even better at being happy than him? Otherwise what was the point?) and the following years trying to work out how to create better levels of happiness and success for me and others, yet I still get sense he is better at it than me.
Well, you might say his life is more simple - he doesn’t have to think about the mortgage, annoying colleagues, wondering what the neighbours think, trying to make a relationship work etc. No, he doesn’t. And also in a sense he is dependent on us for his basic needs i.e. he hasn't worked out how to shop online yet. But apart from the most basic of requirements, the key difference is he doesn't look to outside circumstances and events for his wellbeing. He doesn’t need to prop up his feelings with his bank balance, job title, brand of nappies or peer group - actually his main state around fellow people is curiosity and acceptance as to what they do.
The crux of this for me is he doesn’t get in the way of his source of natural wellbeing - he began life with wellbeing and at default is connected to it and he knows it will natural restore if need be. On occasions where circumstances do go against him, like when he accidentally walks into door (for comedic value the universe decided to give toddlers a greater desire to move forward before it gave them complete spatial awareness), he cries for usually under a minute then restores to his state of natural wellbeing. There are no other tentacles to his thinking - no sense of ‘I am failure’, ‘I’ll never be able to do doorways’, ’What will everyone at nursery think?’.... He just gets up and carries on.
So what are we big people doing wrong? We are looking in the wrong place for happiness. The stuff that we do to support our basic functional needs, i.e. to get our adult equivalent of milk, we have taken as defining our happiness and wellbeing. We get in the way of ourselves by attaching thoughts from the past and future to our present thoughts. We think external events directly affect our feelings - we have forgotten that we are born happy and connected to innate wellbeing.
But no need to despair and think it is too late. Luckily we are just a few new insights and fresh thoughts away from getting back to something we have had inside us since day 1......