Therapy can work best in environments where we choose to look at people beyond the labels of mental illness.
Being a psychologist has its advantages. Everyone has a story and just because I’m a therapist, it gets easier for people to share. So, because of my role, I have the privilege of parents, children and teenagers telling me their most intimate experiences. What I often hear is a need for achievement and it usually overrides the need for happiness.
When babies are born , they start belonging not only to the family but also in to the baggage of parental dreams, expectations.What would happen if we start expecting our kids only to be happy? Our only dream would be that they are good human beings.
In the pursuit of good grades or let’s say high grades, getting in to the best college, choosing either Science or Commerce, having a successful career and making money, happiness gets lost.
My mother used to tell me that if you find what makes you happy, you will find yourself. She trusted my ability to wander, and believed I would still not be lost. She taught me that I must strive for a goal that is meaningful to me. In this process, she taught me responsibility and the ability to find personal happiness.
As adults we need to create environments where children find happiness first and only when there is happiness, would they be able to believe in their ability to be.
So when I work with a group of teenagers, one of the exercises I ask students to participate in is finding ways they can teach happiness to those around.