A couple of weeks ago I read a book called “The Happiness Project”. I don’t typically read non-fiction books. I much prefer getting sucked into a fantasy world when reading. However, I ran across the concept of a happiness project and was instantly intrigued.
Gretchen Rubin, the author, has gotten a lot of flack because she happens to be wealthy and it seems that to so many people money = happiness. Amazon has numerous reviews that state she has no credibility simply because she is well off or because of how her husband’s family has made their money. I’m not saying it’s the most well written book, but I understood and related to the heart of it and it has nothing to do with how well off you are.
I simply can’t discount her struggle because she is, compared to normal people, very well off. There are numerous celebrities who battle with drugs and addiction, who drown their sorrows in alcohol and who can’t stay out of jail or rehab because they are unable to find true happiness even if they can afford numerous million dollar houses all over the world.
The thing I really liked about Gretchen’s project and book is that she acknowledges that she doesn’t have any reason to not be happy. She isn’t depressed, she is very lucky being surrounded by her family and friends but she still finds herself unhappy. This book chronicles a year of her life where she intentionally explores way to make herself happier and to truly appreciate her life for everything she has and is blessed with.
Is this not something most people can relate to, rich or poor? I know I can. Joseph and I are extremely blessed in so many ways but I wouldn’t say I fully appreciate it. If I did, would I be so quick to anger about things that simply don’t matter? Would a more intentional path to happiness help me feel more pulled together? How would it affect my relationship with Joseph or my family? How would taking full blame and responsibility for my happiness and making true changes help me fully appreciate all of my blessings in my life or even help me be content with things out of my control? How would it affect how I look at myself? How would it affect those around me?
I would say I’m typically happy most of the time. I know how lucky I am and I know that I don’t have to suffer a lot. I’ve tried to change from the negative person I used to be to someone with a better outlook on life. But, I also know that I fall short in that a great deal.
I also know how much someone else’s attitude can have an effect on other people. Part of why I want to try this out is to make myself happier so that I can improve the lives of the people around me. When I’m around someone who is more smiley and happy, it makes me happy but at the same time, sad people bring me down. I want to lift people up by my attitude alone because it’s great and easy to catch onto.
One of the first points in the book is this:
To be happy, you need to consider feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth.
I’m not sure I really understood this until I started to figure out exactly what I wanted to do to intentionally work on my own happiness.
I know I feel better when I exercise even though I may hate the process. I know I love having a clean house but I’m horrible at keeping it that way. I hate wasted time but even I get sucked into facebook games occasionally. I am most content when everything in my life feels like it is in balance even if it’s a busy balance.
If I want to intentionally work on being happier and appreciating my life more, then I need to make intentional changes in my life to better suit my goals. Gretchen uses the time frame of a month to set a new goal before moving on to another idea and I really like that frame myself. Since I turn 25 in July, I figured that was a good a time as any to take a year and focus on this project.
For the past few weeks I’ve been putting a lot of thought into what I wanted and this is what I’ve come up with, in no particular order:
Attitude & Positive Thinking
Body Image w/ Exercise & Diet
Marriage & Intimacy
The House: Organization & Neatness & Decorating
Relationship with Friends & Family
Making myself whole
More details to come!