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Five Stages of Happiness and Emotional Development
At different stages of a person’s life the principle sources of happiness change. What worked to be happy when we were 5, doesn’t work at 25, and changes again at 35, and 45. It will be useful to understand what stage of happiness you are in, and perhaps why something in your past doesn’t work anymore. It’s also helpful to understand what phase of happiness, or emotional development your are moving into. That way you can let go of the resistance and get on with the transition in a conscious and efficient way and get to being happy again.
Stage 1: Early Happiness:
Our first experiences with happiness are when we are children. As infants our joy is natural, expressive, and shows on our face. Of course, not many people remember those experiences before we learned to talk, but when we look at children we see their nature. The expression of joy, love, and happiness is the normal and natural state. It was our nature.
In this childlike state of happiness we are naive. We have no awareness of how joyful we feel. It’s just us in our natural state being normal. We barely live with any memories or restrictive thoughts and so we are connected with the real experiences of life, and our imagination works in creative and fun ways. We don’t have a lot of emotional experiences and memory for comparison so we don’t know how good we have it
If we do encounter a pain, like a stubbed toe, we feel the pain, experience it, and move on in the next moment. Our mind does not linger on the past or past hurts. Our mind does not fixate or worry about the future, which is too an abstract idea to contemplate with a young mind. There is too much curiosity and play within us, and too much world and imagination to explore. As young children we do experience a full spectrum of emotions, pleasant and unpleasant, but living in the moment, the dominant feelings are naturally expressed love which produce feelings of happiness.1