I came across a book that shared many stories about happiness.
One of the stories is how we fool ourselves by mistaking pleasure for happiness. An example might be…
- 1 square of chocolate is pleasure
- 20 squares of chocolate is a tummy ache
The slogan being… Pleasure Consumes Itself
The risk being… we become slaves to chasing pleasure.
Our three-year old was having a tough morning and we weren’t making progress getting him ready for school.
So I picked him up, picked his socks up, picked his shoes up and picked his bag up…
…and headed out the door with the little guy in my arms.
He was screaming that he wanted to go back to the house and put all his stuff on, himself.
As that’s what I wanted him to do, originally, I agreed.
However, I said,
Sure you can go inside. First you need to calm down. We’re going to do it together. I’m going to count to three and we will take a breath after each number.
I held his hand, looked into his eyes, smiled and said…
One, big breath, hold, exhale
He was still crying but took the breath with me.
Two, big breath, hold, exhale
By this point, he cracked a smile through his tears.
Three, you did it. You’re calm. I’m so happy!
And we walked back into the house to have a “do over” on the departure.
In reflecting on this story, I noticed that my son taught me to be happy with another person’s success, his own.
I also noticed that I would have been unable to learn without experiencing the pain of his initial meltdown.
The joy we shared was much deeper than anything offered by a piece of chocolate.
I also noticed that I can remember his success and bring myself back to that moment.
If a three-year old can transcend himself then what’s my excuse?