If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal. Not to people or things.
A Frenchman is self-assured because he regards himself personally both in mind and body as irresistibly attractive to men and women. An Englishman is self-assured as being a citizen of the best-organized state in the world and therefore, as an Englishman, always knows what he should do and knows that all he does as an Englishman is undoubtedly correct. An Italian is self-assured because he is excitable and easily forgets himself and other people. A Russian is self-assured just because he knows nothing and does not want to know anything, since he does not believe that anything can be known. The German's self-assurance is worst of all, stronger and more repulsive than any other, because he imagines that he knows the truth -- science -- which he himself has invented but which is for him the absolute truth.
I remember being at school during morning meeting and looking around at everybody, 350 kids, saying a prayer. We're all very young and no one knows what it means, and I remember feeling strange that people were just repeating words that they didn't understand. I refused to participate. For some reason I always rejected it, but respectfully.
We human beings do have some genuine freedom of choice and therefore some effective control over our own destinies. I am not a determinist. But I also believe that the decisive choice is seldom the latest choice in the series. More often than not, it will turn out to be some choice made relatively far back in the past.
Your kids can say some cruel things to you at times. For example, Nicole, Miles and Sofie are standing there in the room and I'm dressed to kill in my own mind. They'll say to me, 'Dad, you're not going out there looking like that are you?' If that doesn't kill a star, I don't know what does!