As a counselor, I think one of the greatest things I can do for my clients is to bust the myth of Happily-ever-after. We grow up hearing this story over and over again and it looks so good at the end of a fairy tale. But we should teach our kids there’s a reason its called a fairy tale. There is no real place called “happily ever after”. Yet, many of us travel out of childhood and into adulthood on a Holy Grail search for it only to feel constantly frustrated in finding it.
I don’t want my clients to search for it. Instead, I introduce them to wholeness and show them the Life Puzzle model. I want them to see their lives as an on-going growing journey that honors their physical, emotional, thinking, sexual and spiritual SELF. The framework of the Life Puzzle includes 16 core areas, 5 edges that create the SELF and in putting those pieces together over one’s life journey, wholeness emerges. And happiness? It’s in there too—through the healthy foods we eat, the relationships we engage in, through the family we create, the community we connect with, the environment we care for etc. Happiness is also found is managing the special challenges that come into our lives that force us to grow through tough times.
And that’s what I want my clients to discover—that in searching and building their Wholeness, there will be happiness and hard times and both are equally wonderful because both are part of wholeness and a great life.
Americans are obsessed with happiness and yet we’re more depressed and anxious than ever. We’re popping anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs like M&Ms and hoping that happiness shows up soon. In a Yes magazine article, How can we be happier—stop worrying about being happy in the first place, there is a short video of experts talking about happiness. While they never once say the word ‘wholeness”, they are clearly talking about it. Wholeness needs to be the new word we teach our children and ourselves. Our fairy tales need to end with; and happily, they lived together and continued to support each other in growing their wholeness over their life journey. It may not have the nice ring of happily-ever-after- but it’s far more honest and a search worth going on!