I’m going to level with you, dear readers. I hate self-help books. They evoke horrible memories of high school assemblies and bad Oprah episodes and turn me in to a twitchy mess. Roller Derby helped me through my divorce, yoga is helping me be more comfortable with who I am, I have a fantastic daughter and a fiancée who loves me and treats me better than I ever thought possible. I am a lucky woman and I recognize that. Though I am definitely no Pollyanna, I have recognized my need for a little more happiness and sunshine in my life. I picked up Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project to jumpstart my journey.
I was skeptical at first- the book looked a lot like it belonged in the self-help section I loathe so much, but I gave it the benefit of the doubt. Ms. Rubin is the author of many other books, notably Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill (which I highly recommend if you enjoy biographies). She also was a clerk for former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, which is a pretty kick ass thing to have on your résumé. Anyway, I’ve enjoyed her work in the past and think she’s pretty rad, so I cracked the cover.
Increasing my happiness is not a quick fix. It involves changing how I respond to daily events, and being more positive (without losing my loveable snark). Struggling with grad school, and the job market, and the little things that happen every day takes its toll, but I am making a commitment to actively improve my daily life.
Mr. Rubin’s writing style is approachable and her humanity shines through as she struggles with her own changes. One of her ideas has stuck out: her Twelve Commandments- overarching principles for building her own happiness. Between dealing with the high stress of the past two weeks, I have been looking for my own Twelve Commandments that shine through all of the bad and this is what I have come with (some are my own and some I borrowed):
1. Trust my instincts
2. There is only love
3. Say yes to play
4. Breath deep
6. Let it go
7. Enjoy the process
It’s a work in progress and I’m still on the search for the final five.
#7- Enjoy the process.