If you are looking for more happiness in your life, I recommend the book, "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz.
Here are the Four Agreements:
Each morning, I remind myself of the Four Agreements and try my best to apply them to my daily life. If I can consistently follow these agreements, I think my life would have less drama and more peace. It is a goal I am working towards. And if I can teach my child to live his life, cultivating these habits (agreements) before he becomes an adolescent, we just might have a happy camper during the teenage years. Wouldn't that be nice.
Two weeks ago I shared the Four Agreements with my 10 year old son. This is how I summarized them (in kid talk):
1. Watch What You Say.
Try to use only positive language and positive thoughts. Your words and thoughts have power.
2. Don't Take Anything Personal.
Jack had a hard time understanding this one so I gave him an example: "Say your friend comes to school in a bad mood and says something negative about you for no reason. You will probably react in one of three ways. You'll have hurt feelings, you might say something negative back to your friend or begin to believe the negative thing your friend just said.....none of these are good. What if you told yourself maybe my friend had something bad happen this morning at home, maybe my friend stayed up late last night and is just tired, maybe he doesn't feel good? In most cases, when someone is being hurtful towards you, it usually has nothing to do with you (not taking it personal), it has to do with what's going on in that person's world, how they feel about themselves.
3. Don't Assume Anything.
My son instantly told me that the above example was full of assumptions! He's right and I had to think fast!!! So, I went back to the example and said, "If a friend says something mean to you, ask them if they are having a bad day, ask if they don't feel good, etc." Ask questions. If you ask questions and clearly communicate with people, you will have less misunderstandings. My son completely understood this Agreement and now points out every time I assume something. I had no idea I spent a portion of my day assuming things until my 10 year pointed it out!
4. Always Do Your Best.
If you do your best, you will not have regrets.
I taught my son the Four Agreements to give him tools to create a peaceful life for himself...turns out, he's helping me incorporate these agreements into my daily life too.