How My 3 Years Old Daughter Taught Me About Happiness
Being present is all we need to be happy. We all knew it before we grew up.
You wake up in the morning and the voice inside your head starts immediately its relentless monologue which continues throughout the whole day until you drop dead to the bed in the evening.
If you think now “I don’t know what he talks about, there’s no voice in my head”, then that’s exactly the voice I’m talking about! It’s there all the time, it constantly describes, analyses, suggests, worries, and describes again. It tells you what you did wrong, what you didn’t do, what you could have done and what you should do in the next minute, in an hour, tomorrow, in a year.
I don’t know about you, but my voice just won’t shut up. Or at least, that’s how it was before I started taking lessons from my daughter. She seems to have no problem with her voice, or maybe she just didn’t develop it yet. Asking her about this voice is futile, she doesn’t know what I am talking about. Trust me, I tried :-)
The worst part about my inner voice is the fact that it forces me to listen. It’s actually pretty hard not to listen. Imagine that you have a colleague who constantly feeds you with totally unimportant and useless information about the current state of things and there’s no way to get rid of him. You would have to listen, you’d be forced to listen!
Now imagine, that this annoying person is right inside your head. You can’t possibly get rid of her, you can’t ignore her. Or can you?
On top of that, I have to say that this voice is pretty stupid. It states the obvious stuff, like that the weather is nice when the sun is shining or that it sucks when it’s raining. I mean, why the hell does it need to tell me this, I’m not blind! I can see for myself that it’s raining, I don’t need to hear it from inside my head.
The worst part is, that it’s trying to drag me either to the past or to the future. It wants to discuss with me yesterday’s events. It tells me what I shouldn’t forget to do. It’s trying to plan my future life and it evaluates my past life!
While watching my daughter, I realized that she lives in the present moment and she’s totally immersed in what she is doing right here, right now. She doesn’t worry about anything, she doesn’t plan, she’s just happy to be. She wakes up in the morning and her only worries come from the fact that she’s hungry and wants to watch her favorite TV show Peppa Pig. That’s amazingly simple! I know that children have us, their parents, to worry for them, so they don’t have to, but don’t we worry all too much? Don’t we let our inner voice take over our lives and fill it with constant rehearsals of the past and worries about the future?
When my wife died two years ago, I realized that life is here and now. Not in the future we were looking forward together because that future never came. Because the cancer came instead and took her from me. Something we totally didn’t expect, something we totally didn’t plan in any of those hundreds of elaborate dreams of our future family life.
I still have that voice in my head, but I try to be its master, not its slave. I try to live in the present moment. I try to be happy here and now, truly living and enjoying each and every breath. Yes, I fail frequently, I still worry, I still listen to that crazy voice inside, but not that much, because I know that I can’t change what already happened and I can’t possibly know, not even guess, what will happen next and that’s just fine.