One of my favorite things to do is read, specifically non-fiction books because I feel like they’re a mini college course. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin was a book I picked up two years ago at Costco. I started reading it and I misplaced the book in my house. For a while there I was devastated because I was halfway through it and was really into it, but just could not remember where I put the book! Purging my room a couple months ago brought the book back to me. It’s rather ironic because in the book decluttering and ridding ourselves of what we don’t need is heavily discussed and by doing just that, this little gem came back to me. This time I went back to my old ways and did my annotations. I basically highlight and underline quotes and concepts with post-it flags up and down the book. Nerdy? Yes. Do I care? Not really.
One of my favorite concepts discussed in this book is to “Be Gretchen”. That’s what Gretchen uses in the book to remind herself that it is totally okay with being yourself. You cannot and should not force yourself to like something you just don’t like. There’s nothing to feel guilty about and reading that felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I am Tiffany. Tiffany I am. So I am going to “Be Tiffany.” (Includes being a total nerd.)
What is Happiness?
Well, it depends on who you ask. Gretchen in this book creates a list of resolutions which she planned to work on for an entire year and did! Each month Gretchen chose a different resolution from her list to work on. She also jots down her commandments and “splendid truths.” The chapters are separated by months and detail what her objectives are. She also makes it a point to explain that not being happy doesn’t necessarily mean you are depressed. She acknowledges that depression is a real problem in the world that we need to rid of its stigma. (Woot!)
“The opposite of happiness is unhappiness, not depression.”
Paying attention to our attitude and moods really put into perspective how happy or unhappy we are. Snapping on a regular basis doesn’t make one tough and that’s something emphasized heavily in this book. There are things we need to let go. There are people in our lives that we cherish but don’t necessarily show them enough. For example, Gretchen discusses how her husband Jamie had changed significantly once she stopped nagging and competing with him. (Side note: This is so important. I know so many marriages that fail because it becomes a vicious competition where resent takes over and the main objective to hurt the partner rather than loving it. I don’t know of anyone that vows to do that, but it happens more often than we realize.) It matters more how you fight than how often you fight according to Gottman’s “Love Laboratory” which she briefly touches upon.
Do it for YOURSELF.
Gold stars are nice. Compliments are nice. They don’t have to come from the people around you if you start doing things, even if they are for other people, to make yourself happy. “No one else had to notice what I had done.” If it doesn’t make you happy or add to your life, leave it alone. My favorite quote regarding this is found on page 46: “You have to do it for yourself. If you do it for other people, you end up wanting them to acknowledge it and be grateful and give you credit. If you do it for yourself, you don’t expect other people to react in a particular way.” (CAN I GET AN AMEN?!)
This book was a breath of fresh air. It was a guide to me that really showed me where I need to stop nagging and where I need to start adding more positive words. After all, our mood affects the mood of the household. Not everyday will be perfect, but there’s something perfect in everyday. Cannot recommend this book enough.
The photo above leads you to the book on Amazon and it’s available on Prime! if you’re like me and need the hard copy right now. It’s available on Audible as well and through Gretchen’s website.
The days are long, but the years are short.
*Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. I purchased the book and Costco merchandise with my own money. I was not asked to do this post. I did it because I really feel more and more people should read this book.*