Comment: A letter I wrote to my daughter years ago (shes now 22)

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A letter I wrote to my daughter years ago (shes now 22)

Choose your comparisons wisely

Many of our feelings of being satisfied and happy or dissatisfied and unhappy come about in how we compare ourselves to others. When we compare ourselves to others that have more, we feel bad. When we compare ourselves to others that have less, we feel grateful. The ironic thing about these comparisons is that we have the exact same life either way! Our feelings about our life can vary tremendously based on who we compare ourselves with. I’ve never met a person that wants to feel bad so the obvious thing to do when your feeling beat down about not having everything you want or not having certain physical qualities that you desire is to compare yourself with other people that are meaningful in your life but make you feel comfortable with who you are and what you have.

Accept yourself unconditionally

You are not the size of your bank account, the neighborhood you live in, or the type of work you do. You are, just like everyone else, a complicated mix of abilities and limitations. Because of this you will fail and succeed routinely throughout your entire life. Researchers have found that people who are happy with themselves take defeat and explain it away…treating each failure as an isolated incident that proves nothing about skill or ability. People that are unhappy take every defeat personally. They talk about it constantly and allow it to become a part of who they are and what they stand for. Allowing failures to take on a life of their own instead of understanding failures and explaining them away, can result in more than your fair share of failures in the future. Don’t be discouraged by failure. It can be a positive experience. Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success. Every failure points out some form of error which we can carefully avoid in the future.

Have realistic expectations

People who are happy don’t get everything they want, but they want most of what they get. In other words, happy people rig the game in their favor by choosing to value things that are within their grasp. Whether you are thinking about cheerleading, boys, your parents, your friends, etc….don’t begin with fantasy pictures of the worlds richest people, the most beautiful movie stars, or the ideal home and family. Stay with reality and strive to make things better, not perfect.

Believe in yourself

Don’t write yourself off. If you don’t believe in yourself, you won’t be able to function. Across all ages and all groups, a solid belief in one’s own abilities significantly increases life satisfaction and makes you happier at both home and school.

Pay attention. You may have what you want!

We often forget to sit down and think about where we started and where we are now. The human tendency is to always want more. A better approach is to remember where you started and appreciate how much you have accomplished.

Try not to be mean and hateful to your friends and family

Even if you are right, there is nothing to be gained from letting yourself become hateful to your loved ones. Separate the people and the love you have for them from the issue that is causing the problem. Remember your friends and family are the basis for most of your happiness and 99.9% of the problems that come along will ultimately be solved with the assistance of the people that love you the most

Every relationship is different

Each relationship you have with friends and family members is unique. Don’t let tension with one person convince you that you lack the ability to be a good friend or a loving family member. You have the capacity to create happiness from the relationships that are available to you but all relationships will not fit an ideal image. Satisfied people do not have happy relationships with everyone. They appreciate their happy relationships and accept their imperfect relationships.

Satisfaction is relative

Your happiness is relative to a scale you yourself have created. If you constantly measure your satisfaction against the two or three greatest moments of your life, you will often be unhappy because those moments can’t be duplicated. However if you tend to measure your happiness against some tough days you’ve had, you will have all the reason in the world to appreciate the current moment.

Don’t blame yourself

When things go poorly, we sometimes start a list of ways we failed…ways we caused the problem. The truth is that any situation is the result of some things that are in your control and some things that are out of your control. Don’t talk yourself into thinking that a bad situation is completely of your making. Remember it makes more sense to deal with the problem than to find fault.