|The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin|
You may or may not have noticed that in one of my last posts I wrote “I feel such gratitude for The Time of No More Naps.”
The reason behind my writing that final sentence is part of a new project that I’m undertaking this year. One of the things I will undertake is gratitude for what’s good in my life.
I like to call it Happiness Bootcamp.
But really, it’s The Happiness Project.
Over the past year I’ve been participating in a monthly meeting with four other women called a Personal Renewal Group. We started the group last December. Over the course of the year we read Renee Trudeau’s The Mother’s Guide to Self Renewal.
This book did not rock our world. It wasn’t so terribly bad. It did a good job of helping us get to a place where we were at least trying to put our own wants/desires/happiness at the forefront of our brains.
But ultimately, the book was a bust for our group of five. Even though our little group didn’t get as much out of it as we would have liked to, It has probably helped lots of other people.
Our next book, however, The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin is sort of like the yin the the PRG’s yang. In The Happiness Project, Rubin puts all the work squarely in your own hands. She tells you right off the bat that your happiness project will look differently than hers did.
Rubin chose to take a scientific approach to happiness. She spent months researching her happiness project. She read philosophers, spiritual leaders, writers, political figures, etc. to see what they said about happiness.
Then she came up with her own life rules based on her research, which she dubbed: Personal Commandments, Splendid Truths, and Secrets of Adulthood. She doesn’t believe that hers will work for everyone else and encourages each person to find their own commandments, truths, and secrets. She believes that finding your own rules for life will help you be happier.
In fact, her first Personal Commandment is “Be Gretchen.” I stole that one from her and made “Be Martha” my first Personal Commandment. That’s one I grapple with just like Rubin did until she started her Happiness Project.
Some of her commandments were things like: “Let it go. Act the way I want to feel.” And “Do it now.” (I might steal that one too.) Her Secrets of Adulthood ranged from calming her angst with: ” People don’t notice your mistakes as much as you think.” And personal temperature range: “Bring a sweater.”
After a year of research and self-reflection, Rubin identified things like that that would make her happy in her daily life.
I’ve told myself for years all the things I should want to be happy. I got married and spent years working a job I hated because I didn’t think that my personal happiness mattered.
But it does.
It does a great deal. One of the Splendid Truths that Rubin came to recognize is that making others happy makes her happy, and in turn, being happy, makes others around her happy. Therefore, her own happiness was in fact, affecting the happiness of those around her.
I identified many of my own Secrets of Adulthood pretty quickly, knowing they were things right there in the back of my mind that I’ve ignored for years because they didn’t always fit in with polite society.
I never learned to form my own Splendid Truths.
But I’ve gotta tell you, after reading this book, I am going to do all these things. I became slightly happier just reading the first few chapters of this book because I instantly began to grasp at my own Splendid Truths, Secrets of Adulthood, and Personal Commandments.
One of the things I tell myself constantly, and yet, continue to ignore, is that, whatever makes me happy is what I should do.
That, right there, is going on my list of Splendid Truths. Or maybe it’s Secrets of Adulthood. I still haven’t figured out all the logistics of this project.
Either way, I’m doing it.
This year I’m going to undertake this method of personal satisfaction. Rubin states right off the bat that her book is not about making your life dramatically different.
It’s about making what you have work better.
When she first started this project, she wasn’t depressed or undergoing some radical life change. She had two beautiful daughters, a loving husband, a successful career, and lived where she wanted. She wasn’t trying to make any earth shattering changes to her life. She had a good life. But she wanted to learn how to be happy inside her good life. She wanted to appreciate it more.
So she started The Happiness Project. She blogs about it at: www.happiness-project.com
Her book is: The Happiness Project.
I’ve linked to her book because if you think you’d like to buy the book, I’d like you to use my link. If you use my link, I’ll make a bit of money. I do not get anything if you click the website. I’m logged into that website at marthawoo. You can follow my project if you are curious. But even if you don’t go to the website, you’ll still get updates right here. I have a feeling I’m going to be writing a lot about this one in 2011.