The Best Happiness Advice a Teen Ever Gave Her Mom

Photo by Derek Kolb.

Since my divorce three years ago, my older daughter has come up with some real gems. Forget all the self-help gurus in the world–my teenager’s guidelines for joyful living boil down to these three.

1. Never take advice from unhappy people.

That might seem simple, but how often do we really think about it? I’ve had lots of people–family, friends, colleagues, divorce counselors, strangers on the street, celebrities, teachers–tell me exactly what I needed to do to be happy since I became single again. I followed much of that advice, thinking that because I was in a stressed and devastated state of being that certainly I didn’t know what I was doing. Following the advice just made things worse and I ended up second-guessing myself and not pursuing some beautiful opportunities. It was a 16-year-old girl’s simple statement that “I never take advice from unhappy people” that turned all that around. I decided that I would take relationship advice only from people who themselves had happy, emotionally healthy relationships with their partners and with people in general. Once I started to see how people applied their own advice to their own lives, I found myself much happier…and often quite amused.

Thanks for reading!  The complete version of this article is now included in The Long-Awaited, Honest-to-God Secret to Being Happy.