"We are only limited by the extent of our imagination, and no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” So begins my book Happy Adults.
Having spent a number of years blogging about raising happy children I thought I might look at happy adults. The subject of mindfulness and being in tune with oneself is receiving a lot of attention in the media at present. I think I can add to the debate. Let me explain.
Since the publication of my fostering memoirs in which I tell the often harrowing stories of the children I’ve looked after, I’ve received thousands of emails and letters from around the world. Some of them were from readers who had been abused as children and had found the strength and inner courage to move on with their lives. Others had not been so lucky and were still plagued by their past, turning to drink and drugs to blot out their suffering.
I began to wonder why some survivors of abuse had managed to move on while others hadn’t. Indeed why does any one person have a happy life and another not? I heard from readers who confided that they had no reason to be unhappy…'Having read your books I know I should be grateful for my life but I seem to be fed up, bad tempered and down most of the time.'
Why are some people happy?
So what was it? I wondered. Why are some people happy and contented while others are not? Is it pot luck or is there something else going on that we could all benefit from? I began to look more closely at what readers were saying and I was soon able to tell from the opening lines of a letter or email into which category a person fell. Something in their language, their positivity or lack of it, said they were happy or the opposite, whatever their past.
I began to see common threads appearing – in attitude and way of life. Often the person was not consciously aware of what they were doing but had intuitively stumbled on a formula for happiness and contentment. Over the coming blogs I’d like to share some of what I learnt with you, starting next time with letting go of anger. Being angry with ourselves or others is responsible for the vast majority of our negative behaviour and feelings. Letting go of it can feel like a huge burden has suddenly been lifted. It may help the children you look after too.