Learning about being happy in life is often like finding our way through a maze. As often as not, our childhood didn’t give us a compass. Many of our impressions and beliefs about ourselves were born when we felt powerless. We assumed adults were all-knowing and right. There were social rules, expectations, and pressures. We arrived at adulthood carrying a backpack of misconceptions about ourselves.
In dysfunctional families, the opportunity to explore our choices was ripped out of our control. Many of us were required to participate in dynamics that didn’t serve us. Some of us were trapped by fear or the power of others. We were tossed into the stormy waters of family conflict and challenges before we knew how to build a boat that celebrated our personal journey. And so we did what we could; we swam in circles of confusion trying to stay afloat.
Our personal spirit was often twisted beyond recognition, so we could fit in. Sometimes it was tucked away, and we became disconnected from the valuable information our spirit could give us about happiness. Without that inner wisdom, we turned to others to define what would make us happy. Some of us were taught our looks were a key. Others learned silence and compliance would serve them. We might have learned physical force would bring us the happiness of power. For some kids, good grades or their skill in sports or their popularity at school was held up as the road to happiness. In this kind of bewildering world of childhood, we didn’t realize we were incredibly, beautifully, naturally multidimensional.
Happiness of love was another casualty of the confusion we experienced. Where we should have found safety, care, celebration, and protection within our family, many of us experienced betrayal and being used under the banner of affection. As a child, it became part of the flavor we associated with love. Then it often soured into repeating, perplexing choices we made in the years that followed.
Our childhood may have set the stage for confusion about how to live in the energy of happiness, but each of us has an empowering path we can follow when we leave those years behind us. We can explore what makes our heart sing and let that guide us. We can embrace what makes us smile when no one else is looking. We can ignite what we like to do without need for payment or applause. Within these feelings, our spirit is talking to us and guiding us to happiness.