Studies shows that parenting doesn’t make you happier than you already are — old news to anyone who has tried to salvage a marriage by having another child, I think, and probably old news to anyone who is going through or has survived either the Terrible Twos or the Terrible Teens (or both).
But I think there’s a non-parenting take-away from the studies: If you’re relying on other people to make you happier, you’re not going to get what you want.
Every year, I make my new resolutions on my birthday instead of on Dec. 31. The big day was yesterday, and along with losing enough weight to make me feel good about being in my body again (I can’t put a number on it, I just know that what I weigh now doesn’t feel great) I vowed to make my own happiness.
I’m usually a fairly happy person. Sure, I get down in the dumps sometimes, and I get out-and-out bitchy other times, and as my old journals can testify I am, indeed, prone to penning truly awful poetry about it all, but for the most part I’m certain that a silver lining exists, and that I just have to look hard enough to find it.
I’ve been feeling unappreciated in several parts of my life, and it was getting me down. But, in true Lylah fashion, I wasn’t telling anyone that it was — I expected them to notice, somehow, and change. That doesn’t happen. And you know what? Even telling them doesn’t necessarily change anything.
But making your own happiness — that has an immediate effect. I don’t just mean boosting your energy levels or making some “me” time (though those things help too, of course). I mean choosing to be happy — and then being happy.
I am making my own happiness today by thinking back on the little things that made me laugh, looking forward to the arrival of some of my big kids tomorrow, and finishing this post so that I can make myself a batch of post-birthday brownies.(I’ll work on the weight part later.)
What makes you happy? Does it come from within, or are you waiting for someone or something else to provide it?