Building off of yesterday’s post about Finding Happiness, here is today’s post. I’m currently reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, and am excited to share pieces of this book with you.
Rubin wrote: “One April day, on a morning just like every other morning, I had a sudden realization: I was in danger of wasting my life. As I stared out the rain-spattered window of a city bus, I saw that the years were slipping by. ‘What do I want from life anyway?’ I asked myself. ‘Well, I want to be happy.’ But I had never thought about what made me happy or how I might be happier.”
Rubin offers the quote by the writer Colette: “What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.” She adds, “I didn’t want to look back, at the end of my life or after some great catastrophe and think ‘How happy I used to be then, if only I’d realized it.’”
For her own happiness project and her book, Rubin did a comprehensive literature review dating back to ancient philosophers and up to current names in the field of positive psychology. She discovered that many of these wise people suggest keeping a chart, or list, of the things they believe will bring them happiness. She mentions Ben Franklin, who kept a list of 13 virtues he wanted to nurture in his daily life.
So, building on the exercise that I posited yesterday, can you look at the paper you made and use it to develop a list like this for yourself? Remember I said to include even those things that aren’t present in your life now, but you believe would bring you happiness? Here’s a good example. Let’s say that you identified “friendship” or “hanging out with friends” as something that makes you feel happy. But perhaps, right now in your life, you aren’t getting the amount of social time you desire, or you don’t have many friends. This could be an excellent thing to put on your chart as a happiness need for you to develop. Don’t make your list too difficult for you to achieve. I think mixing a blend of things that are present in your life, and things that you need to work on cultivating in your life would be ideal.
What if this step, or even the step before, was too difficult for you? Then read my additional post, “Help! I’m stuck in the fog!” next…
I’ll end with a great quote: “Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.” –Wayne W. Dyer