When you have children, it is important to think about how you can prepare them to live a fulfilling life. In particular, it is wise to share some of the lessons that you wish you had learned when you were younger. Here are ten smart things to tell your children about living a happy life.
1. It takes time to cultivate a satisfying career
Getting excellent grades at school doesn’t mean that it will be easy to get an ideal job. Developing a good career takes time, patience and a willingness to endure setbacks. In addition, plenty of people change careers several times before finding something that really fits.
2. Aging comes with benefits
The young often fear the aging process, seeing age as intimately connected to reduced attractiveness, limited mobility and cognitive failings. You can nip these myths in the bud by explaining to your children that people can be beautiful at any age and that growing older generally comes with wisdom (as well as increased self-confidence).
3. Let go of negativity
Encourage your children to forgive themselves for their mistakes and to learn lessons from difficult episodes. Dwelling on negative emotions like shame and guilt will undermine self-esteem and cause unnecessary unhappiness, while cultivating a positive attitude is strongly linked to a successful life.
4. Fitness is important
Children often take their healthy, flexible bodies for granted, so it is good to let them know that fitness is not just about how the body looks on the outside. Regular exercise helps to ensure a longer, healthier life, and it is smart for people of all ages to stay active.
5. Do not change just to please others
Your children should know that changing your personality to earn the affection of friends or partners typically leads to unhappiness and dissatisfaction in the long run. While it is great to work on eliminating bad habits and developing as a person, change should be motivated by personal desire and not a need to please others.
6. Good friendships are worth the effort
When your kids are young, most of their friends will be nearby. However, it is good to let them know that it is necessary to make an effort to stay in touch in later life.
As commitments pile up and life becomes more complex, taking the time to write emails, make calls and plan visits can help you to maintain a significant and rewarding support network.
7. Judgment comes from personal baggage
It’s hard to endure rejection, harsh comments and betrayals, but your children should be armed with the knowledge that negative judgments tend to be rooted in the unresolved issues of others.
It is also worth letting kids know that when they find themselves judging someone negatively, a bit of self-reflection can reveal underlying reasons that relate to their own insecurities and unquestioned assumptions.
8. Take time to care for yourself
Society encourages us to work long hours, prioritize objective measures of success and stay busy. However, young people should be told about life’s simple pleasures and shown how to enjoy relaxing activities. People who take the time to do things that make them feel peaceful and content tend to be much happier.
9. It is okay to maintain boundaries
Your children might be tempted to see themselves as valuable only in virtue of what they do for others, so balance lessons about compassion with lessons about healthy boundaries. A fulfilling life involves knowing when to draw a line that prevents others from draining your resources.
10. Life never unfolds in a predictable way
Finally, while you can encourage your children to set goals and have dreams, they need to be aware that designing a rigid timeline will set them up for failure. People who prioritize a predetermined timeline over feelings of satisfaction are more likely to stick with depressing jobs or take on major commitments (such as marriage) before feeling genuinely ready.
While there is no foolproof recipe for a happy life, imparting these ten lessons will help your children to grow up with an understanding of what really matters. Encouraging them to ask questions will also help them learn more about happiness.