Share the Love – Authenticity – December 19, 2017
Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT
We all start out as both a blank slate and also hardwired with our innate characteristics. It is the nature and nurture aspects of who we are and who we become. I joined the festivities here on planet earth with well seasoned, albeit very busy parents – I was the fourth child in five years. Yet I was the first girl. So I did get extra attention. When I was a year old, my younger brother was born. And what I learned when I had my own children, when the next baby comes along, the father, if he is so inclined, essentially becomes the older baby’s primary caretaker. This was my Dad – I became his charge. I have joked for years that I became a conscript in Dad’s Army at a year old. He was an efficiency machine. When he took over doing the laundry, we kids were on the laundry team. He had to have an organized and compliant team or there would have been mayhem. I found it a very a fun experience – most of the time.
Now that both of my parents are gone, I have had the first world luxury of contemplating an existential question – “Who am I when I no longer have to act in response to attaining my parents’ approval or seeking to individuate from them.” From the day we are born, we are tuning into those around us and becoming who we need to be to meet whatever need it is we have at the time. Who we are and who we become is very much in response to who we are around as young children. My father made it very clear just how I had to be around him. He routinely said – “when you are happy the whole world is happy with you and when you cry, you cry alone.” If you wanted to get my father’s attention, it was imperative you brought a happy can-do will do attitude to the scene. Knowing what I know now about brain plasticity, I realize Dad was helping me wire my brain for lifelong happiness. Yet it did come at a price because we experience many things in life that create fear, sadness, anger, longing. Having skills to navigate those feelings beyond just a shift to “smile be happy,” helps develop an overall landscape of compassion with self and others. This is also essential to well being.
This is what the Happiness Project class I created is all about. It focuses on how to become more compassionate and empathic towards yourself and others as a step on the path to a more fulfilled existence. Discovering more of your authentic self – who you are and who you want to be, on your own, without the need to placate or appease others, yet still, create positive, compassionate, uplifting capabilities of relating – these are crucial steps on the path to the lifelong happiness kingdom.