I finally, finally finished the book, “The Happiness Project.” It took me 2 years to finish the second half of it after starting the first half a while ago, but it was well worth the wait. Perhaps it worked out for the better that I finished this book at this point in my life rather than any earlier. Some important parts in the book really hit me hard and caused me to think about who I am.
One of my favorite parts of the book is toward the end when Gretchen Rubin (the author) goes on to talk about how negative energy and being “a downer” is so much easier than being “a joyous one.” I think we all go through phases of both in life. But sometimes you do have people in your life that constantly try to suck the joy out of things. Who wants to be a joy sucker? Not me…. And sometimes I can feel myself doing that. It takes an exhausting amount of energy to remain joyous and wake with happiness. To choose to be light hearted, to see the good, to enjoy each moment—takes conscious & consistent effort. And it never stops—being positive isn’t just a phase, you have to work at it every single day. I think of the people in my life and I realize that most of them are the joyous ones. So I can’t help but feel joyous too. Joy rubs off. The best example of this I’ve ever seen is my father.
My Dad is one of those humans that if you have the pleasure of knowing him—JUST knowing him—you’re life will be better. Dad treats people with only love and affection and patience. He doesn’t get easily annoyed by lines or service or a crappy accident on the highway causing a delay. He just smiles or laughs and says, “Well—there’s not much we can do.” He chooses positivity. He chooses laughter. He chooses JOY every single day. After going to a restaurant or a movie or a concert that he didn’t enjoy, when asked what he thought, dad will respond with a chuckle and a “well I could have been poking out my eyeballs instead,” or “not bad! I got to be with my girls so I can’t complain.” He’s not one to ever say, “well, that was horrible.” If someone is ripping him a new one and yelling at him, Dad is the first to smile and be kind in return(in business and in life). And most of all, Dad spreads his joy to others—he shares his joy and rubs it off on everyone around him. He never takes himself or anyone too seriously and he seizes opportunities to have fun and goof off. He is incredible and I love everything about him.
As for me, although I generally consider myself a very happy and joyous person, I can also feel the negative urge sometimes. I urge to gossip, to pick at things and people, to groan in traffic, to snap at people if I am late to something important, or to be displeased by a poor performance. So when I read this chapter in Rubin’s book of resolutions, I was intrigued. I made a note mentally, and now on paper, to make some changes.
As Rubin mentions, “It is easy to be heavy, hard to be light.”
- Why debate a subject every time just to be right? Sometimes its better to let your opinion be YOUR opinion and not push it on others just to prove a point.
- Laugh at myself more, laugh often. Laugh hard. Get outta YO HEAD.
- I often seek perfection, make plans, and have high expectations—what I really need to work on is just seeing how things go. No need to analyze.
- I’m a communicator and a talker, some people aren’t. AND THAT’S OKAY.
- Distractions are good sometimes. Once again, GET outta YO HEAD.
- Calming things, or “items of refuge” can be super helpful. My items of refuge:
- + Family, family dinners, family talks, family hugs +Watching Marcello, Anabella or Harper sleeping or laughing +Dancing to music, anywhere, at any time +Waking up to a window streaming with sunlight and coffee +Applause, thundering applause! **Thinking of these things in times where my joy is being brought down can lift me and center my soul.**
- Don’t tone down enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is a form of social courage. No need to back down on it in most situations.
- Think about ME less. Think about Life and others much more.
- Don’t ever stop learning, stop working, and stop striving to be better.
- Accept that not every day you’re going to be good at this.
All my love,