Finally, I’m not sure of the exact mechanics of this study but one questions whether somebody simply ticking ‘I’m happy’ or some graded variation on it is a reflection of their reality or the way they want it to be. Besides, happiness is a subjective thing. People have different thresholds, ideas, opinions and beliefs about what happiness is.
So what am I saying?
Layard definitely has a point, but it is sadly more complicated than his study suggests. Parental (unconscious) early trauma will play out with a new baby and new family dynamics… But this study does, at the very least, alert us to the fact that emotional early stability is key. Early love, safety and security is vital and far more important than achievement or educational success.In fact, Shefali Tsabury, (in her wonderful book ‘The Conscious Parent’) feels that we should revel in our child’s ordinariness. She claims that if we don’t our child will grow up under pressure to always be extraordinary, which will come at the cost of authenticity. She beautifully notes that when we deny our children’s ordinariness we teach them to be enthralled only by exaggerations of life. She would rather we teach our children to value the ordinary and therefore inhabit life itself. It makes sense that we should want our children to feel that who they are is enough and enough to make themselves and us as parents happy.
While I’m on the subject of happiness, and to put it a little back into the here and now, I have included a link to a great article written by Mark Williamson and Vanessa King in the Guardian. They list 10 easy steps to happier living. I found it useful and insightful.