Before publishing her book in 2009, Gretchen Rubin started a blog/website both of which shared the same title: The Happiness Project.
Rubin’s Happiness Project started a little bit after she was in the final stages of writing one her other books – I think it was a Winston Churchill piece. Either way, she came across a well-known person’s list of twelve commandments which outlined how they intended on living a happier life. This sparked a great idea in Gretchen’s mind; for one year she experimented and created her own “happiness project” thus resulting in the sharing with thousands of followers she acquired through her journey, a website where she posted regularly her thoughts and emotions and the things she has learned along the way to a happier life.
In the month of December 2012, I was reading this book for shear recreation. The fact that I had been selling several copies at the bookstore I was working for at the time was definitely a good convincer that I should definitely read that book soon. I was also hoping to get a little insight on what people might be doing differently that I could possibly learn from in order to gain a greater sense of happiness in my own life.
Did I learn anything? Absolutely. I learned that I was nowhere near as successful in many aspects of my life like Rubin’s. Something else I learned was that there were a lot of things that I acknowledged I never do but should really start.
Let it go
Act the way I want to feel
Do it now
Be polite and be fair
Enjoy the process
Identify the problem
Do what ought to be done
There is only love
As you’ve just read, these were the 12 Commandments Rubin shared in her book, and obviously we can’t all take away the same points to our own project but personally I can take away at least 7 points for myself.
1. Be Krys
Be me. It sounds easy enough but a lot of people have lost touch with themselves. A few years ago I had forgotten who I was because I was so preoccupied being part of somebody else’s plan that I forgot what my plans were, what I liked, or how I would react to situations. I had numbed myself from reality, but I soon realized I needed to break free of that little cage I put myself in. Now, I feel like I’ve slowly been starting from scratch, setting ground rules, standing my ground and trying to be myself again.
3. Act the Way I Want to Feel
I have been such a bottled up person, I realized that I was extremely fearful of things. Nervous. Cautious. Skeptical. Particularly when it came to pain. I used to be such a tough cookie. Growing up around a bunch of boys I learned that you better have a damn good reason to cry. Nowadays, I seem to have done a one-eighty and cry over just about anything.. okay, so I’m still learning the happy medium between never crying and crying all the time, it’s a learning curve and it’s all about controlling your emotions only to a certain extent.
9. Lighten Up
I’m a tight-ass. I admit it. I’m very particular to the point that I can be quite moody if I don’t get my way or something gets set up improperly. I suppose at this point I can say that #6 (Enjoy the Process) should be included in this section as sometimes I can get quite bitter over the fact that things aren’t going smoothly. It’s about being at ease. Relax. Enjoy it. Laugh. Smile. Or just nod your head to make things not blow up mid-process.
12. There is Only Love
This is another point that is taking time to figure out. This past year I’ve been learning quite a bit about this word: love. It’s a difficult emotion and there are so many ways of expressing it! I’ve only learned a small handful and I’m sure I have a bazillion other love ways to learn today, tomorrow and years from now.
These are only a few of the points from the list that I can personally take away. Life lessons. Emotions. Personal encounters that change your life forever. We all have a story that has made us rethink our situation and possibly have made us change something about us and we’ve wound up being much happier or just content and feel less burdened by something we thought was worth burdening over.
I’m not name dropping and promoting that you go out and by Gretchen Rubin’s book, but I can definitely say that if you’re looking for a good starting point at least check out her website. She has great amount of available resources to help you develop your own happiness (if you aren’t already). I cannot claim that I have been the happiest I’ve ever been, I’m not. I’m still content. It’s probably because of books like Rubin’s that has helped me realize that there were things in my life that needed to be shifted. Baby steps.
Are you happy? What makes you happiest? Have you ever had to give up something that made you happy? What’s your story?
“One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.”
– Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project