Monday, January 25, 2010

Happiness - Week 4 - Your Commandments

In her book and on her website, the Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin talks about making your personal commandments of happiness.  What are the concepts you need in order to achieve your own personal happiness?  She devotes a post to developing your own that I highly recommend if you want to make them. 

The last couple of weeks I've asked you to make lists - of what makes you happy, unhappy, and what you can (or can't!) change.  This week - one more list - your own commandments.  Check out Gretchen's at her site the happiness project for inspiration - they're in the left sidebar.  I'm also going to share mine with you, so you can see where I overlapped with her (no need to re-invent the wheel!) and where I found my own "must have" commandments.  And I'm not sure I feel comfortable with the word commandments - because there are 10 other commandments I'm supposed to follow, right?  Maybe I need to rename mine Missy's Secrets for a Successful Year Long Quest for Happiness.  But that's a mouthful.  Oh!  Got it.  Missy's Maxims.  I do love alliteration. 

Missy's Maxims

  1. Be Missy.  This is Gretchen's #1 commandment and I'm making it mine as well.  She stresses the need to be who you should be.  For me, it could probably be re-named "just don't be fake."  I've gone through stages in my life where I try to be who I think other people want me to be or try to be a different "me" to appear more likable, friendly.  When I look back at those days, however, I realize those times were my unhappiest.  For example, I don't try to keep up on fashion.  I am a fashion faux-pas on any given day.  But I've stopped worrying about it.  I am Missy, The Unfashionable.  And I figure as long as I'm going out CLEAN (most of the time), then I'm not going to torture myself about Vera Wang or Jimmy Choos. 
  2. Betterment, not perfection.  In a house full of perfectionists, you have NO IDEA how important this commandment is.  Or maybe you do . . . :)
  3. Family First, every time
  4. Let Go, Let God.  We've all heard this one, right?  It's another one I'm borrowing. 
  5. Proactive, not reactive.  Should go nicely with #3 and the Online book club's first book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective FamiliesSimple Mom has information if you're interested and I'll post on it over the next couple of months as well. 
  6. There is only love.  Another one of Gretchen's that I love.  I'll talk more about it when we get to Marriage Month (or loved one month).  Or check out her site if you can't wait. 
  7. Do what ought to be done.  Another good one of Gretchen's.  Sometimes it's so easy to avoid doing something because you're blaming someone else or avoiding the responsibility of whatever "it" is.  This Commandment is a good reminder. 
  8. BE in the moment.  I spend a lot of time with my children counting down the hours until bedtime, running through my "to do" list in my head, wishing for MY time.  Someday I will look back on this time and ache for it.  I know I will - everyone with grown children guarantees it.  This is my reminder - enjoy the time while I have it and stop wishing the hours away.  They will be gone before I know it.
  9. STAR - Stop, Think, Act Right.  I've borrowed this one from Michele Borba's book - The Big Book of Parenting Solutions.  Oldest is using it to help her remember to stop interrupting, but it applies to me too.  There are so many times that I wish I would have just paused before blurting something out (or yelling).  This method will (hopefully!) help with that. 
  10. Practice patience.  Especially from 4-6pm.  ;)
My list.  Enjoy.  Come up with some of your own and write them down!  I've added them to the My Happiness Project Toolbox as well, which is a great place to document some of what you are doing (I've linked you to the "invite friends" page to show you how much I'd love to have you join).  I've also made a "Happiness Notebook" for the year here at home, where I'm writing down my resolutions, happy/unhappy lists, these Maxims.  In February, I think I'm actually going to print them out and hang them in my office as a daily reminder. 

Feel free to share some of your own commandments - and raid mine if you want!  That's what's great about the project - it's so unique to every person even while having commonalities for all.  And by the way, these are coming to you at the end of January for a reason.  I didn't sit down and write them in one day.  It took a few weeks of experiencing different areas of "life," and then seeing what I needed them to be. 

Take care and see you tomorrow!

One more thing - Happy Birthday to my mom! 
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