This week has been a little unsettling for me. I know that with making our family’s life public, there will be scrutiny. Will everyone agree with what I post? No. I realize I can’t make everyone happy. Among the true fans, I now have “haters.” But as long as they keep reading, I’ll consider them fans too. I’ll keep writing, some will love, some will hate, but the disapproval can be especially disappointing when it hits close to home.
However, a recent event did get me reflecting. Why is it in our human nature to silently celebrate the faults or failures of others? Why do we secretly do a fist pump at someone else’s unhappiness?
Just look at television- we love the unhappy ending. The break-up, the meltdown, the dysfunctional family who doesn’t have it together. Scan the covers of magazines at the checkout aisle and you see it everywhere. Happiness just doesn’t sell.
I got to thinking, “why do we do that?”
*Now I’m going to put my disclaimer in here right away for my haters. I’m not saying that I am perfect. I’m not saying I’ve never done that. I don’t want to be told again that I’m pretending to be Christian. I’m human. I’m trying to live the best life for myself and all the children in my home. But Christian doesn’t mean perfect. It just means I’m trying, I look to Christ for strength, and I pray daily for forgiveness, for I too have faults.
So, it begs the question, how are people able to glean some happiness at the expense of others? Or more importantly, as I learned this week, why do we try to bring happy people down? Why is it once you are happy, people try to claw at that and destroy that?
I’ve decided that happiness in others, makes us question our own happiness and vulnerability. When we see others who appear happy, we start to compare ourselves to that level of happiness. Instead of potentially using those people as inspiration for our own lives, it seems easier to tear the happy people down. It’s like the old saying: misery loves company.
My first reaction this week was to run from this negativity… to stop what I was doing (in this case, blogging about my family life) to get away from the conflict. But then I realized this wasn’t a healthy way to deal with toxic behavior and it would only lead to my own personal unhappiness. I realized, I need to stay strong in the face of adversity and negativity. I know I need to remain vulnerable, to continue to achieve the things that make me happy.
So how do you insulate yourself, and even more importantly, teach your kids to insulate themselves from that type of noise? I asked around to find what “happy people” were doing and came up with a few ideas.
5 Tips For Staying Happy
- Have a personal mantra. Post the mantra and remind yourself of what you stand for when faced with toxic people. (Thanks Auntie Paulie)
- Have a support system of happy people. When someone tries to bring you down, use those positive people to remind you what you have going for yourself and to think of your personal mantra.
- Follow your heart and trust your intuition. When guided by these forces the noise surrounding you goes mute. (Benjamin Tyler)
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Instead, focus on your own God given talents.
My husband did a great job this week of sharing this with our daughter. She was upset and feeling insecure because her two closest friends as of late are both in advanced math and she isn’t. Even though the girls have never teased her about it, her own insecurities about it led her to tears. My husband’s advice was to focus and grow the gifts and talents God has blessed you with. This is great advice for adults to remember as well. His second part of the advice leads to number 5:
- Focus on what you can change, and if it bothers you, take steps towards making changes that lead you toward inner happiness.
Now I can’t change the human race or the haters, but I will definitely think about this going forward in my own life. I’m lucky to be in a place of happiness, but I know that I have also been on the other end. Going forward, I want to be on the side that builds happiness, not breaks it down! I also want to teach my children, all of them, to insulate themselves from toxic people so that they can lead healthy, successful lives! As Taylor Swift said it best, “The haters gonna hate, hate, hate,” but that doesn’t mean you have to listen and let it affect you!