Happiness Enabler: Authenticity

My son is three. He loves trains and monster trucks and airplanes. He’s a climber. He enjoys chasing his sister around the house. He loves play sword fights. And his favorite color is pink.

Now, asking a three year old what their favorite color is happens a lot. It’s a go-to question for friends, acquaintances and strangers alike. Heck, spirit week at his school (again, he’s only three) has a Wear your Favorite Color Day which prompted borrowing and wearing his cousin’s favorite pink shirt because the boys section at Target just doesn’t have a whole lot of pink options in it.

The point is that my son unabashedly loves pink. And the reactions we get when people hear that range from joyous acceptance to parenting shame.  

But you know what? I don’t really care because the responses say more about the people having them than about my son. The negative reactions speak to prejudices and stereotypes. The responses can’t be rooted in happiness if they don’t champion authenticity.

One of the eight pillars of happiness is authenticity. It’s knowing, accepting and living your true self to the fullest. Happiness stems from loving who you are as an individual, not who the world wants you to be.

My son loves pink. I think that’s awesome. But I would think it was just as awesome if he loved blue or yellow or brown.

You see, it’s awesome because he is so confident in his love. It’s 100% his voice right now. He knows what he loves and excitedly shares that love with anyone who asks. That’s happiness. And that’s awesome.

My favorite color is yellow. I love the same cheap macaroni and cheese that my kids do. My favorite weekend activity is sleep. I love nonfiction books. I would watch The Great British Baking Show 24/7 if I could. I thrive on routines. I love dark chocolate. My favorite color is yellow.

Knowing, accepting and incorporating these pieces of me into my life enables my happiness in the same way that trains and sword fights and the color pink enable my son’s happiness.

What’s your favorite color? How can you sprinkle more of that color into your life?

Embrace your voice and share it with your world. And forget how other people may or may not react to your authenticity.

If he had his way, his whole world would be painted pink. And he would be the happiest boy ever playing with his pink trains in his bright pink world.

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