Monday, May 17, 2010

My Happiness Project - Are you an Abstainer or Moderator?

It's Happiness Monday! I love My Happiness Project, where I decided to spend a year "finding" happiness with the help of Gretchen Rubin and her awesome book. Check out her website for more information. And buy the book! It's never too late to start your own Happiness Project.

I've wanted to raise this topic for months, but it kept getting backburnered.  And it bothers me.  I don't LIKE the fact that our personalities sway one way or another. 

Head over to this post at Unclutterer.  Gretchen's raised it on her blog too, and it's in her book.  In a nutshell, Gretchen's assertion is that you are either an abstainer or a moderator.  Abstainers, in order to "stop" something, must do it by giving it up entirely.  Moderators, on the other hand, are easily able to reduce the amount of times they do something and don't have to give it up entirely.

I don't like this notion because I don't want to be an abstainer, but I think that's what I am. 

If I buy cookies, I will eat them all within a couple of days, "just to get rid of them and get back to behaving."

If I open a bottle of wine, I will finish it within two nights, "so it doesn't go to waste."

If I order a meal that has a huge portion size, I'll eat it all rather than saving the rest for later, "because it tastes good."

If I start a book that's good, I'll stay up late and ignore my responsibilities to finish it "and get back to my real life."

You get the point. 

I don't like this though, I don't think it's fair.  It makes me resentful of myself and I feel like it sets me up for failure over and over. 

I don't want to be this way, that the only way to "find happiness" is to avoid things that are bad for me.  Because sometimes, it's fun to splurge a little.  The issue is that once I start (with food, especially), it's very hard to stop.  And that's where the moderation thing comes in.  I want to be able to do things in moderation and it makes me unhappy that my history says I can't. 

But now, I've purchased a book called Women Food and God, and from what I can tell, she will be talking about how to become a moderator.  I heard it on an Oprah commercial.  I don't even watch Oprah, but the commercial was tantalizing enough that I Googled it and found out about the book.  I bought it Friday and am quite interested in its premise.  I'm hoping it helps me become a better moderator, because I'm getting tired of this all-or-nothing pattern I've established. 

So I'll keep you posted. 

And this is a good reminder that in my quest to find happiness, I'm still going through periods of unhappiness as I figure it all out. 

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