A letter to my daughter about happiness.


Bern with her daughter.

Dear Daughter, When you were little, happiness for you was relatively simple. I found what it was that brought out your first enchanting smile and that first beautiful giggle. I would then continue to pull ridiculous faces if it meant that you’d continue to grace me with your captivating, gummy smile. Your happiness, at this stage of your life, was relatively simple for me to figure out. Early on, my main wish for you was that you’d forever be able to enjoy the simple pleasures and delights in life and that you’d be always happy. Yet as adults, we struggle to find the ever-elusive happiness ourselves, so really, it’s very optimistic that I would expect this of you too. The thing is though sweet girl, I want to at least do the very best I can to steer you in the direction of it. I know that happiness is often perceived to be accompanied by money. I mean, once you’ve got large amounts of money, you can pretty much buy anything right? Houses, cars, champagne, you name it, you can have it all. Here’s the thing though honey, the problem with money is that it can’t buy genuine friends and it certainly can’t purchase unconditional love. Money is helpful but it does not guarantee you fulfillment. So if I leave you with nothing else in this chaotic world, I want to leave you with this. My advice on how to find happiness.

Tip One – Find a friend who is your best.

Find at least one friend who loves you for what and who you are, not for what you have or what you can give them. If you are extremely lucky, you will find this person early on in life. If not, you will know them when you meet them. It will feel like you are in love, but without the awkward first pash.

Tip Two – Don’t settle for second best.

Find someone to partner you in life who adores you and who you adore equally. This will happen when it happens. Don’t rush it, don’t push it and please don’t expect it. An open heart will allow the right person in when the time is right.


Tip Three – Work at what you love.

Find out what it is that interests you. Is it animals? People? Writing? Building Stuff? Knocking stuff down? Cooking? Cleaning, Drawing? Whatever it is, work towards getting yourself into that area as your job. I know it’s a total cliché, but if you are working at what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.

Tip Four – Be Kind. Be Patient. Be Compassionate.

Treat others as you would like to be treated and if people are horrible, remember it’s on them, not you. You can only do what you can do. Some people will be jealous, horrible, egotistical, vain or just plain mean, but this does not give you licence to return that kind of behaviour. Always be curious but not judgemental.

Tip 5 – Love the skin you are in.

I know this sounds like a commercial, but oh man, it’s true. Having a firmer backside or a flatter stomach doesn’t make you a happier or better person. And believe me, the people who like you simply because of these traits are not people worth knowing. By all means, stay fit and healthy but please honey, NEVER value yourself based on the size of your jeans. Your beauty will always come from within.

Tip Six – Give in. Surrender.

I’m sorry, but actually, there is no magic bullet when it comes to happiness. Happiness is what makes you happy. Not the guy across the road, clipping his grass beyond an inch of its life or the ex-boyfriend traversing the world in search of the world’s best coffee because that’s THEIR happiness. You however, will need to find your own, and as long as it’s not illegal or dangerous, embrace it and also, more importantly, understand that when it comes, you are very lucky to have found it. Good luck little one, life is just beginning for you. How about you? Do you have anything to add to this list of happiness tips?