10 Lessons In Happiness We Should Teach Girls

Written by Valorie Burton
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Who are the young women you want to influence? I’ve created this list to make it easy for you to talk to the young women in your life about what it really takes to be happy in today’s world.

You can use this to strike up conversation with them and start to influence how they think about their own happiness. Each lesson includes a question and some thoughts you can use as a conversation starter.

1. Don't just plan your career, plan your life.

Start the conversation with: What do you want your personal life to look like 10 years from now?

Set goals for your career, but also set goals for what you want personally. If marriage is the goal, when you are of age, date only those whom you would actually consider marrying — those who share your goals for family and spiritual life, and have a shared vision you want to live out. And choose friends who share your values. Be there for them, but be sure you choose friends who will also be there for you.

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2. Nobody on a magazine cover really looks like that!

Start the conversation with: Who do you tend to compare yourself to?

Stop making upward comparisons to women who don’t actually exist. Every magazine photo is airbrushed to make the model look flawless. In real life, she has blemishes, too! Embrace your unique beauty.

3. You have a purpose. Your job in life is to find it and live it.

Start the conversation with: How is someone’s life better because they cross paths with you?

Every day, do something to brighten someone else’s day. There is a reason you were created. You have gifts, talents, passion, and experiences that can make this world a better place. You are not meant to hold on to them but to use them for good.

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4. It’s okay to fail. It’s not trying that you’ll regret.

Start the conversation with: What are you afraid to try for fear you might fail?

It’s not okay to let fear keep you from trying. When you fail, learn the lesson. Use it next time. The happiest women live without regrets. They are bold enough to go for it. They know the secret to success is to keep trying until you succeed.

Every day, do something to brighten someone else’s day.

5. “No man is a good catch who is not madly in love with you.” — Pearl Cleage

A man’s success and good looks are not what make him a good catch! How he treats you, his character, emotional stability, and faith do. Don’t settle. Don’t chase a guy. The one you are meant to be with will find you and he will know he’s found a good thing. You’ll know by how he treats you. He won’t risk letting you slip away.

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6. Don’t say anything about yourself that you don’t want to be true.

Your words matter. Never speak words that you don’t want to come true: “I can’t.” “I’m stupid.” “Nobody loves me.” Speak only words that give life to your dreams: “I have what it takes.” “I can.” “I’m good enough.” Optimism breeds happiness!

7. Buy experiences, not “stuff.”

Start the conversation with: What’s one thing you would like to have the money to do?

Happy women live below their means and aim to be debt-free. While your friends are pinching pennies to pay off credit cards and loans, you’ll have the freedom to save money, give some away, and spend some on experiences that bring real happiness — a night out with friends, a fun trip, dance or photography lessons to teach you something new.

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8. Talk to your family more than you type and text them.

Texting and emailing is great for touching bases and sharing information. But make it a habit to actually talk to the people who matter. Happy women connect face to face, where they can touch, see, and truly be with a person. You can’t build a strong relationship in 140 characters or less.

You can’t build a strong relationship in 140 characters or less.

9. Listen to that still, small voice.

Start the conversation with: Have you ever felt your inner voice telling you something but just ignored it? When?

God speaks in a whisper, a nudge in your spirit that guides you in the right direction. Don’t ignore that still, small voice. Trust your ability to hear from God. He gives you that “gut instinct,” that “intuition.” It is divine intelligence. Don’t discount it or ignore it. It is your secret weapon! And if you are ever afraid you are wrong about it, trust that God will let you know and redirect your steps.

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10. Play!

Start the conversation with: What do you like to do purely for the joy of it?

Your life is a gift. Enjoy it! Everything doesn’t have to be about reaching goals and getting results. Sometimes, you just need to stop and play! Always keep your “inner kid” alive.

Adapted from an excerpt of my new memoir, Happy Women Live Better, available where books are sold.

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