June 28, 2013

Happier at Home, and other happy things!

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Two years ago, I read a book called the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, and I loved it!  I wrote a review on here, filled with all sorts of happiness goals that were probably never met;)

Last fall, I bought her second book, Happier at Home.

This week I finally read it, since I am on this new reading kick and have all this time.  Plus, I won't allow myself to buy the 20+ books I want until I read the ones I have.  So I made a little wager with myself, once I read a book, I can buy a new one;)  

I loved this book too!  I want to share some of the best things she says in this:

1.  She vows to "Be Gretchen".  She says one of the most important ways to be yourself is NOT to assume that virtues that others strive to cultivate are the ones that we should strive for.  In other words, what makes others happy doesn't necessarily make me happy.  What is fun or important for someone else doesn't mean its fun or important for me.  Ain't that the TRUTH!

2.  Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful - this isn't a command, just a quote, and it really speaks to me as someone who loves to hang on to stuff.

3.  People who declare that we'd all be happy with more, or with less, is like saying that every book should be 100 pages long.  Each book has it's own length, and people differ in the number of possessions, and types, with which that can meaningfully engage.  One person may be happy living in sparsely furnitured home, while another is happy adding to a collection.  There is no one right way; I must decide what's right for me.

4.  Husbands need more gold stars (aka positive and loving affirmations)  than wives because women get so much more positive support outside of marriage; family members, colleagues, friends; even strangers give more affirmation to women than to men.  Give Dave more gold stars;)

5.  When faced with something uncomfortable, I ask myself these 5 questions: What am I waiting for?  Would would I do if I weren't scared?  What steps would make things easier?  What would I do if I had all the time and money in the world?  If I were looking back on this decision, what will I wish I'd done?

6.  Teasing has more negative weight than many people assume.  Although the teaser believes he or she is conveying a spirit of warmth and playfulness, to the one being teased, the teasing seems more annoying and mean spirited.  Good for my kids!

7.  Underreact to problems.  If we underreact (not ignore or minimize) we can cultivate a calm attitude when faced with a problem.  Genius.

8.  Enter into the interests of others.  Too often, we are tempted to be judgmental about other people's interests.  I want to enter into the interested of others, and yet remain true to myself...without being fake.  I modified my resolution to "enter into the interests of others within reason."  It isn't enough to love, we have to prove it.  A practical way to prove love is to devote my time, attention and convenience to the people I love.

9.  One of the best ways to make other people happy to is be happy myself.  Aim for built-in happiness.  Try not to "catch" emotions from other people - this happens to me all the time!  The truth is, we can't make each other happy, and no one can make me happy, we have to find happiness ourselves.  We have to choose it!  HELLO!

10.  Technology is a good servant but a bad master.  Put down the phone, ipad, kindle, laptop when there is something important going on, or when you can experience the world.  That's paraphrased by me, but I love her thinking there.  Be idle sometimes (no electronics), our best ideas and moments can come when our minds are quiet.

11.  See the child you have, not the child you wish you had.  She quotes this, so it's not hers, but I love it.

12.  Follow a threshold ritual.  Each time I stood at my steps fumbling for my keys I repeated "How happy I am, how grateful I am, to be home"  I take a moment to reflect lovingly on my family and my home.  Love it.

So, those are some little morsels I took with me from her book.  She even inspired me to create a little Happiness Project for myself that includes some of the stuff from her 1st book, and a some from her 2nd.  I'll post about that later;)  Toodles!