There’s no doubt about it: we all want to be happy. Of course, happiness takes many different shapes and forms, and can look different for each individual. What you consider happiness won’t be the same as what your teen feels is real contentment. But does your teen know that they might be hurting their chances of reaching a place of happiness? Here are some things to watch out for.
Comparing Others to Him or Herself
“She’s funnier than me” or “he’s smarter than I am.” These thoughts are all too common but unfortunately, they hurt our happiness. Each and every one of us is unique, with a different way of interacting with the world, with others and with our personal gifts and talents. While this is an amazing reality, it also can be the source of confusion, frustration and fear when your teen compares him or herself to others. Instead, tell your teen that they should be proud of their own accomplishments and contributions, but remind them that happiness doesn’t rely on performance alone.
A significant way that your teen can miss out on happiness is holding onto anger, which can cover many situations. Whether their irritation comes from making a mistake, someone else’s behavior or an unfair situation, these feelings can bring them into a negative space. Of course, it’s important to work through anger rather than suppress it, but doing so can help your teen feel closure and be ready to move on.
Not Taking Risks
When your teen tries a new activity or enters a competition, they get an opportunity to develop their skills, meet new people or raise their self esteem. When they avoid taking a risk out of a fear of failure, they might end up unintentionally stifling their potential and as a result, their happiness. Every so often, encourage your teen to try something out of their comfort zone, and view any obstacles along the way as progress, rather than failure.
Feeling Self Doubt
From time to time, your teen might experience self doubt, especially when they lack confidence in their abilities. To help them keep negative thoughts at bay, support your teen by reminding them that you believe in them. Even more, remind them that it’s also important to place trust in oneself—including their abilities, thoughts, values and potential. This will help them take on new challenges, gain a greater sense of self-worth and even trust that they can make a meaningful difference to those around them.
As many people do, your teen may come up with reasons why they feel self doubt or refuse to take risks. Sure, it’s easy to get caught up in being busy or living with a formed habit, but eventually a list of excuses can grow so long that your teen ends up stuck in an unfulfilling routine. Remind your teen that this won’t help them at all. Once they forget about those excuses, they can spend more time pursuing opportunities that will make them feel truly happy.
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