As I have been scouring the blog world, there has been a lot of mention of finding happiness, true happiness in 2011. The one thing that everyone agrees on is that Happiness is a process, not a one stop shopping experience.
A couple of years ago I went through a "happiness crash." At precisely the same time, many of my fears and avoidances that I have pushed down for years all came together at one crashing point, causing me to face these negatives once and for all. It was a grueling, self-searching and self-evaluating time. It is always a scary venture when you decide to finally address negative ideas and traits that you have been avoiding for years and realize how much they are holding you back from your own personal happiness and growth. But the cleansing afterwards is so worth the time and effort to move past these inner demons.
As these feelings all came crashing down, my husband introduced me to the book, Happiness is a Serious Problem - A Human Nature Repair Manual by Dennis Prager. As the cover says, "Anyone who feels unhappy...will benefit from this book." At the time, I was probably the unhappiest I had been in my life so I was willing to see what the book had to offer. I devoured the pages and paid special attention to the chapter on Expectations. Finally, someone was advising me on how to confront and deal with my lifetime obsession of having ultra high expectations for myself and therefore others and how big of a roadblock it had become for my A+ personality in achieving a sense of happiness. Mr. Prager's thoughts and suggestions were lifesaving and life changing for me and I have become a better person from reading this book. I have recommended this book to many of my friends who were dealing with similar feelings and they have found it just as enlightening. I have given it as gifts to encourage others to start embracing their own happiness.
This past summer, I was in Colorado waiting for the arrival of my first grandchild. He ended up being 8 days late (and born on my daughter's birthday but that is another story for later). By the time he was born, I had already been in Colorado for 13 days. It was the first time in a long time that I actually had unplanned, unscheduled time just for me. At first, it made me jittery and I had to fight the feeling to always be accomplishing something otherwise I was wasting time. No kidding; it was really difficult for me to slow down and enjoy this quiet time. It was a constant battle of talking to my sub-conscience and reminding myself that it was OK to not rush around; it was OK to spend time just thinking; it was OK to not feel like I always had to be somewhere, at a certain time, accomplishing some task; and that is was OK to be doing things just for me. After a few days of withdrawals, the peaceful approval from my inner self finally came. I stopped freaking out and started relishing every empty minute of exploration. I got sleep, real uninterrupted by an alarm, sleep. Eight hours worth a night. That alone made me feel like a new woman. I didn't hurry through my daily exercise. I listened to my Ipod. And I read. Ahhhhhh. Life was different and life was good.
When I arrived in Colorado, my daughter took me to her very cool public library in Parker to load me up on reads for the trip. She recommended a "life-changing" book she had recently finished, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Now, when someone tells me they did something, "life changing," I definitely pay attention. So, I decided to check out this book and see what it had to say to me. I have to admit, I wasn't too excited at first, but as I delved in to the pages, and pondered how I could make Gretchen's project my own, a whole myriad of happiness opportunities began blessing my life. Of course, not all of her suggestions were relevant to me. But the general premise to step back, and see how my already pretty satisfying life can be even more satisfying really intrigued and inspired me. It made a difference in my outlook, my quality of life, and my future happiness. I have recommended this book to many of my friends who are dealing with similar feelings and they have found it just as enlightening for themselves and their circumstances. I have given it as gifts. And you well probably see me referring to it from time to time on this blog. It is that good.
The only thing we can all count on is change. So, if things are going to keep on changing in our lives, what better way to embrace these changes than in a happiness frame of mind.