Not that I need any more books (I feel like for every book I cross off my to-be-read list, I inevitably add two or three more…), but I couldn’t resist purchasing Happier at Home. Love doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about The Happiness Project (it’s in part what prompted me to start a blog in the first place, other than the middle coercing me into Juneathon). Plus who doesn’t like to enhance their happiness?
That concept, though, can be hard to grasp (and Lindsay actually wrote a blog post about this the other day). Like Rubin talks about in The Happiness Project, it’s not that I’m unhappy. But there are certainly days where I’m not as thankful and excited about the opportunities I have. I think that leads to another misconception, too. My happiness project (or whatever you want to call it) isn’t about finding ways to be happy about 24/7. I think it’s more about recognizing that I’m more responsible or in control of my emotions than I generally think.
Another one of my favorites, Elizabeth Gilbert, touches on a lot of similar concepts. One of her big messages in Eat, Pray, Love is that if you’re a slave to your thoughts (not to get all philosophical on you, though, particularly since I’ve already written about it). Essentially I like to have the reminder that I can choose happiness. I can focus on things that enhance my life rather than detract from it. Once in awhile, you have to work at it:
Many people will say happiness is a result of circumstance. And to some degree, it’s true. I’m probably going to be a heck of a lot happier reading a book on a beach in Hawaii than I would be during a hectic day of work. But I think the point is the find a happy (no pun intended) medium. The circumstance in life are not always going to work in my favor. I’m going to have crap days and a bad attitude now and again. How do I cope with those, though?
One of my favorite mantra, if you will (which is actually something that Lindsay’s also written about, which should come as no surprise!) is that just because you’ve had a bad day doesn’t mean you have a bad life. I think striving for happiness is, in some ways, about discovering that very thing. It’s not about being cheerful 24/7 or never indulging in a pity party. I’d be the first one to admit when I’m angry at the world. What matters is that I can recognize it and eventually move on from it, and frankly that’s an effort that I’m willing to make.
So long story short, I’m excited to dive into a new book on happiness that gives me new perspective and inspiration (and undoubtedly some blog posting content…).