THE FIRST THREE GATEWAYS TO HAPPINESS AND HOW THEY AFFECT TEN YEAR OLD GIRLS
In The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m Smart and I Know Everything) the girl is 10. She is 10 for many psychological reasons. One is the importance of understanding the critical development of girls around that age. One of the ways that I teach this critical stage of development for girls is through the lens of THE SEVEN GATEWAYS TO HAPPINESS. Let’s jump right in and examine the first three Gateways to Happiness in terms of the 10 year old girl.
The First Gateway to Happiness is around self-esteem and appreciating one’s own talents, strengths and potential.
This Gateway is similar for a woman of fifty, a man of 23 or for a girl of 10. She like all of us, needs a sense of well-being and to also feel good about who she is. She needs to feel that she has knows right from wrong, and that her life is purposeful. For adults this might mean a very deep understanding of one’s place in the world. For her it could be as simple as going to her fourth or fifth grade class, knowing what is expected of her, and knowing that she is capable of the work. It may also mean feeling good about herself in relationship to her friends. It may mean knowing she has a family that supports her, and a teacher that likes her. Also recognizing her interests and talents. For example, she may love art and music, and feel talented playing the flute, but not like basketball or hockey. She’s clear as to who she is.
She will also have some dreams. She may feel she has potential to become a writer or a skier or an Olympic champion in something, or that she wants to discover a way to stop global warming. Inside of her are dreams, hopes, aspirations.
Let’s see how the above ties into The Second Gateway to Happiness for Girls.
In this gateway, one is aware of the narrative of her life. We begin to see how our attributes all come together in who we are and how we behave. So, for example, for a girl of 10, she may have been told many time that she is very similar to Aunt Belinda. She knows that Aunt Belinda is a wonderful woman interests in art and music, just like she has. She also knows that Aunt Belinda always remembers her with beautiful presents and is absolutely so much fun to be with.
And so, for that little girl, she now has a story-line around her life. It is not set in stone but it works wonders for her at age 10. She is loved by a woman she adores and that woman is said to be like her. So she feels great about Aunt Belinda and she also feels great about herself.
As she grows, she may change the story line a bit. She might even drop Aunt Belinda and decide she’s more like Uncle Sylvester for X reasons when she’s 11 or 12. But the point is, she’s being given a strong messages that she is a special person with lots of talents and potential and that can always serve as the underpinnings of her own story line about who she is.
Tomorrow we will talk about The Third Gateway to Happiness for Girls.