The Courage to Be Happy Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: The Courage to Be Happy offers a hands-on guide to living a meaningful life and letting go of negative thoughts by compiling the groundbreaking theories of psychologist Alfred Adler with other valuable research into an all-in-one book for becoming a happy and fulfilled person.

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There is no single cure for unhappiness or the lack of personal success, and while psychologists are trying their best to come up with a one-size-fits-all solution, prevention remains the best tool we have on our hands.

The majority of traumas and mental repercussions come from childhood, so if you want to become a fulfilled individual who lives a meaningful life or raises a happy child, The Courage to Be Happy is THE book for you.

Let’s see how my three favorite lessons from the book can help you achieve a more fulfilled life for yourself or your children:

  1. A person who lives and grows up in a loving environment is much more self-reliant.
  2. Praise can do more harm than good, and so does scolding.
  3. Growing up, children need to feel equal and receive warmth from adults.

Let’s study these ideas in detail below!

The Courage to Be Happy Summary

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Lesson 1: Love is the key to becoming self-reliant and growing up healthily.

Imagine a person who has been struggling with drug addiction or alcoholism. You might say that they need to stand up for themselves and fight their demons on their own—but what if you were the one who was struggling with those same demons? Wouldn’t it be nice if someone else was there for you?

Adler wasn’t saying that we should be dependent on other people. He was saying that we should open ourselves up to love so that we can find strength in each other when we need it most.

In the growth and development of children, love is the central piece to a healthy upbringing. When they’re born, children feel like the center of everyone’s universe, as they get all the attention. In time, they have to learn to truth and grow self-reliant

To do so, they must accept that they will be independent adults that still receive love and attention but in a different way. This transition happens through the love and warmth of family. It’s the same when we as adults go through negative experiences. Love is the key to overcoming difficult situations in life.

Lesson 2: Avoid praising people for every good deed, as it can affect their emotional growth.

Do not praise someone for every good deed, including yourself. Praise can inhibit one’s growth, as it becomes a reward for good deeds. Moreover, when done in a group context, it creates a hierarchy of rewards. By declining to create hierarchies through praise, educators can remove rivalry from the classroom.

This is crucial in primary education where children are learning how to interact with others. However, it’s also highly important to address praise in adults. Praising someone who is not doing well can cause him or her to feel embarrassed and may make it difficult for them to try again in the future.

The same goes for well-performing people, who will develop a sense of superiority. Therefore, it’s particularly important to encourage competition, but not rivalry. To do so, make sure to avoid praising altogether, at school, at home, or work.

When someone does a bad deed to you or in general, it’s equally important to forgive and forget quickly, but not before explaining the consequences and the meaning of their action. Once again, communication is key.

Oftentimes, people are simply curious and they’re exploring with no meaning to cause harm. Instead of scolding, you could focus on helping them improve their abilities by providing constructive feedback while encouraging them when they need it most.

Lesson 3: Children mature well when we treat them with warmth, empathy, and equality.

Children need to feel the warmth and empathy of friendship, even when they’re still young. Our little bundles of joy naturally develop a sense of inferiority, as they live a life of dependency. They look up to us and see all the things we can do and they can’t.

For this reason, they learn new things every day and copy what we as adults do. This is their way of growing independent and self-reliant. Therefore, friendship is a strong connection they need to develop and learn from us. 

Adler suggests that we don’t need to make friends with kids just like we would with adults, but we do need to be as warm and empathetic to them as we are with our closest friends. 

They learn very young that relationships are important. As adults, it’s our job to create a harmonious environment for them to grow in, without discriminating and giving more attention to one or the other. If we do, chances are our kids will grow up quite differently, with a feeling of rivalry casting over their shoulders.

If one parent treats his or her kids differently or if there is favoritism involved anywhere along the line (even if it’s just within a family unit), then this could cause them to become introverted, dependent, skeptical of trusting people, or other similar trauma.

The Courage to Be Happy Review

Human beings are fascinating creatures who live a life of continuous learning. We develop several interesting ideas about our world as we grow. 

We have different needs at different stages of our development. When we ignore these needs or treat them unequally, it can lead to insecurity, depression, and anxiety in the future. Luckily, we now know more about making sure that these negative feelings don’t develop. 

The Courage to Be Happy managed to break through the lenses of children and emotionally unhappy adults and bring forth a series of remarkable insights. Reading this book will bring you one step closer to connecting with your inner child and making sure that the children around you grow up in a safe space.

Who would I recommend The Courage to Be Happy summary to?

The 27-year-old soon-to-be parent, the 30-year-old school teacher, or the 29-year-old person who wants to learn more about childhood trauma and ways to overcome negative feelings in their life.

Last Updated on June 15, 2023

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Maria Deac

While working with my friend Ovi's company SocialBee, I had the good fortune of Maria writing over 200 summaries for us over the course of 18 months. Maria is a professional SEO copywriter, content writer, and social media marketing specialist. When she's not writing or learning more about marketing, she loves to dance and travel all over the world.